Teaching Career Counseling Skills

The first time you do anything new can be terrifying. As part of my career development course, I require my students to find a volunteer on whom to practice career advising. They have to find someone who has a career issue such as needing to choose/change a career or major, learn how to job search, see what career options fit their interests/skills/values, learn about their options, address self-esteem or confidence with respect to making a career decision, and so on. This course requirement tends to be highly anxiety provoking. One way I’ve found to help address this anxiety is through showing a video of the world’s worst career counselor.

After watching the clip, we talk about what the counselor did well and where he could have improved. By seeing a very poor example of career counseling, they are affirmed in that they know they can certainly do better than that example, and that takes some of the pressure off. We use other strategies, too, such as brainstorming useful questions, creating a rough outline of what should occur in each session, roleplaying, and so forth. What other strategies do you use for teaching career counseling skills and increasing students’ confidence?

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