How to Get the Most From Your Career Counseling Appointment

Your resume was last updated in high school, the concept of an internship is lost on you, and the process of choosing a major has become something you find dreadful. Quick: You have 30 minutes to tell your Career Counselor all about it!

First of all, remember to breathe. Take off your coat and make yourself comfortable. The sense of urgency that can accompany your first visit to a Career Counselor is based on the false premise that you have one shot to cover all of your career concerns. Here are a few tips on how to make those 30 minutes count.

Understand What Career Counselors Do

Career Counselors are not academic advisors and therefore cannot provide insight on course requirements, class schedules or departmental procedures. Despite the inclusion of the word "career" in the job title, Career Counselors also do not place students in jobs.

"Counselor" is the operative word here; our goal is to teach you career development strategies and point you toward resources so that you can make informed career decisions. Ideally, your Career Counselor will incorporate these lessons so that you can be a more confident job seeker for life.

Learn more here: What is Career Counseling?

Prioritize

Consider your goals for the session. Do you want to find an internship or job? Decide on a major? Explore career fields? Most people have multiple concerns when they make an appointment and hope that they will all be resolved speedily.

Career counseling, like personal counseling, is a process which involves a time commitment and requires patience. You and your counselor can also collaborate to prioritize your goals, but remember that this process will absorb your session time -- try to do some prioritizing in advance. Our Planning Your Future section can help you get a sense of what steps typically come first in the career planning process.

Do Your Homework

Are you interested in finding an internship in public policy? Do you have a question about the requirements for law or medical school? There is a vast repository of useful information on our website, as well as links to other reputable information sources on the web, that can help you get started.

At the very least, try searching for your question or topic, or see if it's listed in the A-Z index; log into Handshake to see what opportunities are currently available, and look through the extensive Employer & Industry Guides.

Better to do a little preparation - you may feel frustrated if you make the effort to come to the Career Center only to find that the answer to your question was a few mouse clicks away. Furthermore, if you do some research in advance you'll be able to focus the session around more interesting topics, such as how how to put together a resume if you don't have much work experience or how you can tailor your resume to a specific job.

Arrive On Time

This point may seem obvious, but students often forget to factor in travel-time to the Career Center, or assume that it operates on "Berkeley Time." If you do show up late, the best possible scenario is that you now have 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes to discuss your situation. The worst case scenario is that the counselor is unable to meet with you once you are over 10 minutes late for your appointment. Either way, you're the one who suffers. Why not just plan ahead and show up on time?

Come Back!

Wait, you're not done yet! Just because you are now the proud owner of an edgy, streamlined resume doesn't mean that you've exhausted the Career Center's resources. We offer something relevant for every phase of your development, college and beyond.

Even if you first came in for a quick fix, over time your goals, interests and needs are likely to shift and evolve, giving rise to new questions and concerns. A return visit with your counselor will help you feel like you are accomplishing your goals and moving toward a satisfying career, and at the very least, getting the resources you need to get to where you want to go.

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