Do you find yourself wondering:
- What should I major in?
- Which careers go with my major?
- What are the best career options for me?
- How can I best prepare for the career I'm considering?
When making significant career or education decisions, it is important to recognize a few key characteristics about yourself so that you make choices that are well suited for you. Specifically, it is helpful to clearly understand what you are interested in, what your strengths and abilities are, what your personality type is, and what is valuable to you. Having self-awareness about these attributes will help you choose a major, career, or make a career transition that will bring a sense of satisfaction.
What is Career Counseling?
Students meet individually or online with a career counselor to discuss their academic and career options and explore their career-related values, interests, and abilities. Sessions last up to 50 minutes. You may also participate in an online career planning workshop located on the Career Services web page. Career Planning 101
How do I arrange an appointment and how long will career counseling take?
Call Career Services at 908-526-1200 x8334 to schedule an appointment or email the Career Counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will happen during the first appointment?
When you arrive at Career Services for the first session, you will be asked to complete a form to provide information about yourself and to inform you about our policies and procedures. After the career counselor reviews your paperwork, the two of you will:
What kind of activities will I do during career counseling?
- Clarify the concerns you would like to address
- Identify your interests, work values, academic strengths andweaknesses, work-related skills, and personal goals.
- Determine the best course of action to help you achieve your goals
- Discuss what you can do on your own to resolve your concerns
- Introduce you to useful resources related to your concerns
During the first and/or additional career counseling sessions, you will work with your counselor to achieve your goals in many ways:
- Take career assessment.
- Complete career-related exercises and assignments (during or between appointments).
- Utilize resources available and conduct research at the Career Center, Library or via the Internet.
- Arrange appointments to speak with people knowledgeable about majors or careers.
- You and your counselor may identify additional ways for you to achieve your goals.
Note: Assessment tools are designed to help you identify your interests, skills, personality type, and values and how they can be best matched with school or career pursuits. Many self-assessments make a correlation between your personal attributes and related career fields; however, they do not provide a definitive answer to the question "What career should I choose?" Instead, they give you suggestions of a variety of careers that might be a good match for you. You will benefit the most from self-assessment if you see a career counselor to assist you with interpreting the results.
In addition to self-assessment tools, there are other ways you can evaluate yourself. You can learn a great deal about your interests, skills and values through real life experiences such as internships. Also, in-depth discussion with a career counselor can be a helpful means to evaluating your personal characteristics as they relate to careers.
How can I help myself during the career counseling process?
Like any other form of counseling, career counseling will only be successful if you commit to the process by:
- Attending all appointments that you and your counselor decide are necessary
- Being open about issues that are relevant to your career concerns
- Conducting career research and completing other career-related tasks between appointments
- Giving honest feedback to your career counselor about what is helpful and what is not helpful
Who is the career counselor?
Career Services' career counselors are professionally trained counselors who are aware of the concerns that students face as they explore the future. They are aware of the most useful resources to inform your academic and career decision-making in order to help you make a decision that is in your best interests. Our career counselor currently possesses an advanced degree in counseling, is licensed by the state of New Jersey as a professional counselor, and is credentialed as a Distance Counselor.
Are our discussions confidential?
Yes. This will be explained in the form you'll complete prior to your first appointment. If you wish to discuss concerns of a more
personal nature, we'll help you contact the Advising and Counseling office on campus or another appropriate outside agency.
How much does career counseling cost?
There is no charge for appointments.
Will you help with course selection?
Although we may discuss college majors and courses, we will refer you to a RVCC academic advisor for course selection.
Correcting some common misperceptions about career counseling:
- Career counseling is not simply taking "tests" that will "tell you what to do".
- Not all students need to take a career test. Your counselor will discuss this option with you, and the two of you will decide if a career assessment is in your best interest.
- Career counseling is not an "expert" telling you what to major in or what career to pursue.
- Career counseling is not the same for all students. It varies according to your needs and individual situation.
- Individual career counseling might not be your best option. You may find group career counseling to be more helpful.
What other services are available in Career Services?
Linda Levitt, RVCC's Internship Coordinator assists currently enrolled students (who have completed 15 or more college credits) with obtaining paid and unpaid internship opportunities in order to get "hands on" experience that complements college coursework. Please visit the Career Services web site for additional information.
Wendy Schnall, RVCC Job Search Assistant, maintains the College Central Network system, an online database of full- and part-time jobs. Students can register on the Career Services web site, search local job openings and upload their resumes.
Resume critiques and mock interviewing sessions are also available through Career Services office.
Obstacles to Career Decision Making
Low self-esteem, self-doubt, lack of motivation, interferingpersonal problems, avoidance of assuming "adult" roles andresponsibilities, identity confusion, fear of failure, fear of success.
LACK OF INFORMATION ABOUT CAREER SERVICES AVAILABLE AT RVCC
Do you know about:
- Career counseling and workshops/events available through the Career Services office?
- DISCOVER computerized career program, and Career Services website?
- Additional services at Career Services, such as help with finding an internship or searching for a job?
- Clubs and Professional organizations related to your areas of interest?
LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS
What are your work-related interests, values and satisfactions, academic and work-related strengths and weaknesses, work-related experiences, career fantasies, and personal/professional expectations?
LACK OF INFORMATION or MISINFORMATION ABOUT THE WORLD OF WORK
How many occupations can you describe in detail? Do you have enough career information to make an "informed choice"?
CAREER AND ACADEMIC MYTHS
Do you believe any of the following?
- Only business majors get jobs in the business world; only science majors gets jobs in scientific industries.
- Your major dictates what you'll do for the rest of your life.
- A college degree and good grades guarantee you a good job.
- High salaried persons always have greater work satisfaction than lower salaried workers.
DECISION MAKING DIFFICULTIES
- Obsessing over decisions
- Making decisions to please others
- Relying exclusively on others' opinions & advice
- Making decisions impulsively
- Repeatedly changing your mind
INACCURATE OR IRRATIONAL BELIEFS
Do you ever think:
- I must graduate in 2 years (for my Associate's degree) or four years (Bachelor's).
- My first job has to be high paying and prestigious.
- I have to be 100% sure that my career choice is right before I make a decision.
- It would be disastrous to change majors or career plans mid-way in my education.
- There is only one career that is right for me, and if I don't obtain it, I'm doomed.
- It seems like I'm the only one who doesn't know what I'm going to do.
- There's a test or person who can tell me what major or career to choose.
EXTERNALLY IMPOSED PRESSURE TO SELECT A GIVEN MAJOR OR CAREER
Do you ever worry about:
- What your friends or family will think about your career plans.
- Feeling uncomfortable pursuing a career that is dominated by members of the opposite sex.
- Selecting a major or career that will impress others.
- Having to be a "success" because you are the first college student in the family. Or because your parents are making a great financial sacrifice to send you to school? Or because someone in your family is a "success?"
PRACTICAL AND TANGIBLE OBSTACLES
- Financial pressures or restrictions.
- Physical, emotional or academic disabilities.
- Geographic limitations.
- Time constraints (i.e., too busy)
- Family responsibilities
We are here to discuss these issues with you, and help you look forward with confidence. Make an appointment today!
Top 10 Career Myths