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What do you do if you can’t sort it out?  What happens when you become so fed up with trying to figure out next steps?  You and I both know there is a huge cost to this kind of storm that might be brewing inside you.

Often, people tell me they’ve been thinking about a career transition for weeks, months, or even years. Trying to sort out how to transition from where you are into a rewarding, fulfilling career takes time, consideration, and due diligence. Maybe you’ve contemplated hiring a career counselor but you don’t really know what’s involved.

That’s okay because most people don’t. Today there are a plethora of highly trained career coaches and counselors dedicated to helping you identify your passion, change your career course, and find your dream job.

 The absolute first step in the career transition process is understanding more about you and what makes you tick. This enlightment process involves, in part, taking a deep look at what interests and motivates you, what you value, and the skills you truly enjoy using, among other important factors, including your personality type. There are many ways to uncover insights about yourself including utilizing online assessments, card sorts which address your values and motivational skills, as well as journaling. In fact, at Georgetown University’s Executive Coaching Program, all of our executives were required to engage in journaling. It has been shown that those who take time to self reflect will ultimately self correct.

Career assessments will lay the very foundation of your career exploration. In order to make a successful career decision, other components of self-knowledge will need to be investigated, including your interests, education, and preferences as well as an understanding of the economy, labor markets, and employment practices.

 Once you have gained more insight, you and your counselor would begin to brainstorm job and industry options. After that, research, research, research! Once you know yourself more completely and your available options, you can begin to make informed decisions about your career goals after you perform more due diligence, which involves comprehensive and ongoing research.

While you are developing job search strategies and evaluating factors to help identify new career options, there are a number of derivatives from the overall process of career counseling.

 Top Four OffShoots of Career Counseling

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  • You get a chance to learn more about you.  Learning more about yourself allows you to find more meaning. This self-knowledge increases your self-confidence on both a personal and professional level. Without understanding yourself in terms of what’s important to you or even the skills that you enjoy using, you are doomed to keep going down the same path you’ve been on. In fact, self-discovery is an integral part of determining your next career move.
  • Coping skills are another derivative of counseling.  Understanding how to deal with a layoff and managing stress is important while contemplating a new transition. Yes, there is a time for grieving and mourning the loss of your job, but we all need to embrace a new, positive attitude to effectively move on with our life. In effect, career counseling can help you work through these feelings and replace faulty or critical thinking with a more empowered form of thinking.
  • You will learn how to be more cognizant of your educational and career decisions.  When you take ownership of doing research and collaboratively working with a counselor to talk about career options, you will learn decision-making skills that you can use for the rest of your life. You can even help friends or even your children apply decision-making skills in their lives. Without a doubt, you will become more of a resource expert on U.S. job trends, employment outlook, and related occupations.
  • You will become more enlightened about educational and job-related information. You’ve heard the old saying “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  With career counseling, you will undoubtedly  gain more  knowledge about occupations, new certificate and degree programs, and what it takes to transition into a field that makes sense for you.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t matter if you are 21, 41, or even 61; the model for career counseling is one and the same. It all starts with you and becoming more enlightened about “self.” Now that you understand more about the process, maybe the start of the New Year is the perfect time to think about how to break through your career barriers.

About Mindy Thomas

Mindy Thomas is a cutting-edge career consultant, professional résumé writer, professor, and entrepreneur. Through her company, Thomas Career Consulting located in Philadelphia, she leverages her 25-year business background with a solid foundation of career solutions for challenging times. Email Mindy at [email protected] , follow her on LinkedIn , and visit her website to learn more about her expert career consulting services.