On graduation day, degree clutched in your hand, your career as a counselor will officially be set to begin. But, long before you earn your diploma, there are ways you can begin to develop that career. Here are five ways to advance your career in counseling before you even graduate.
1. Make Wise Class Choices
Beginning with your first class, freshman year, you will be painting a picture of yourself as a person and as a prospective counselor. How much dedicated effort you put forth in selecting your course composition will be begin to establish that image. If you select easy classes for your electives, avoiding challenging subjects, you may depict yourself as someone who will tend to shy away from difficult situations in real life. Show you’re a person worthy of the most challenging situations, by taking on demanding classes.
2. Network Connections
Don’t wait until you have your diploma to build a network. Begin assembling acquaintances in the counseling profession while you’re still studying. These important associations can provide you with valuable mentorship, plus be priceless when the time comes to submit applications. Establishing connections can give you a set of role models to pattern your counseling style after. You can use the shared experience of people already in the field to help you when are making the important course outline decisions we mentioned previously. Connections will establish a network for your future.
3. Social Media
Make certain to use good common sense with social media. Understanding that potential employers may develop an impression of you as a person from how you conduct yourself on social media, must be appreciated. If you are going to open up about your career aspirations, be cautious how you present yourself on social media. Social media can help fortify your network through following proven professionals in your desired field. You can also subscribe to websites and keep up with groups that readily provide updated career information. While the thoughtless use of social media could stymie your career goals, it can also be a valuable tool to advance your career as a counselor.
There are different areas where you can participate in activities that will help advance your career as a counselor. Joining a professional society associated with your area of interest is another avenue to build connections, plus absorb valuable information and learn about your future profession. Seek out ways to participate in research studies related to your sphere of counseling, volunteer for data collection, or even offer your time as a subject. Campus groups, including student government, can be a way to branch out your network, plus positively improve your resume. Displaying a sincere desire to be a helpful person can quickly propel your career in counseling.
To further demonstrate a desire to work with people, volunteering while you’re still in school is another way to launch your counseling career. Donating some your of your free time, as limited as it can be for a college student, paints the picture of someone willing to take on a responsibility without necessarily any guarantee of personal gain. An unassuming sense of commitment is an outstanding personality characteristic for a counselor to exude. You can show this side of your personality by volunteering at a local facility that addresses your area of focus, be a part of groups that provide aid to less-fortunate persons, or seek out an unpaid internship situation available in your field.
Related Resource: Top 10 Online Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Programs
Learning the necessary knowledge to become a counselor is essential. But, advancing in your chosen career does not have to wait until you start working. Get a head start by effectively incorporating these 5 suggestions into your collegiate experience. They will help to advance your career in counseling long before you earn your degree.