How to Choose a Career Consultant

A career consultant can help you decide on a career path that best suits your strengths and passion, work with you to develop your performance in your current position or assist you in your transition out of one field and into a new field. A good consultant can help you explore your career options and answer questions about how to get started in certain career industries. Choose a career consultant who understands and supports your goals and has experience working with professionals at your level and in your job field.


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    Decide what you want to accomplish. Before you choose a career consultant, you will need to know if you want to improve your current work situation, find a new job or explore an entirely different career field.
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    Ask for referrals. Talk to colleagues and members of your professional network. Others who have worked with career consultants may be able to recommend someone.
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    Visit websites. Almost all consultants have websites, and you can learn something about their backgrounds, experience and other clients.
    • Take note of what the consultants did before they launched their own career consulting business. Look for people who worked in the field you want to work with, or have experience in your current industry.
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    Schedule interviews with at least 3 potential career consultants with websites that reflect experience in your field. You can meet with them in person, or schedule a phone interview.
    • Talk to consultants outside of your local area. With the use of instant messaging, Skype and other technologies, you can work with a consultant anywhere in the world. Do not limit yourself to the professionals available in your immediate area.
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    Discuss your situation and career goals with the consultants you interview. Ask them how their process would work for you.
    • Look for a willingness for the consultants to share examples of what they have helped other clients achieve. This will give you an idea of how you would work together.
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    Ask about the consultant's hourly rate. Some career consultants may charge per session or have a flat fee.
    • Talk about your budget. A career consultant that you really like might offer different options that you can afford.
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    Review any published works. Many consultants build their reputation and business by publishing books, articles and presentations that might be helpful to you. What they write can give you insight into their level of expertise.
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    Talk to references. The consultants you interview should be willing to provide you with a list of current or former clients you can contact for a reference.
    • Ask the references if their expectations were met, and if they had been able to achieve their career goals with the help of their consultant. Look for specific examples.
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    Check online for free career consulting services. Some career consultants are willing to send you free newsletters, tips and other information just for registering on their websites.
    • Sign up for and purchase more intensive consulting work if you like the results of the free information you receive.
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    Look for free or low-cost community career programs that can help you find a career field if you are disabled or trying to move from welfare to work. The Salvation Army and Goodwill offer career services to low income communities.
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    Check for consulting services with your career placement office if you are still in school, or preparing to graduate. They can also make referrals.


  • Trust your instincts. Choose a career consultant who you enjoyed talking to, and helped you feel positive and motivated about your career goals. You want to be comfortable with the consultant you work with.
  • Take advantage of the services a career consultant can provide during transitional periods in your professional life, such as when you get a new degree, when you get laid off, or after you retire.
  • Work with consultants who are accredited in their field and certified by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).


  • Be wary of any consultants who pressure you to buy expensive products or pay a large fee up front. They might be more interested in selling you things than actually consulting with you on your career direction.

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Categories: Job Search