What does a Career Consultant do?

Malcolm Tatum

Career consultants are professionals who help match the abilities and goals of specific individuals with opportunities to work in a given field or industry. Career consulting usually involves assessing the skills of the client, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and assisting in the process of successfully launching a career that is both personally rewarding and financially lucrative.

Career consultants can help someone who has become bored with their job.
Career consultants can help someone who has become bored with their job.

There are a number of reasons why utilizing the services of a career consultant is desirable. Young people who are emerging from college may find that career consultants can give the job search process a degree of focus that would be difficult to achieve otherwise. By evaluating the skill sets of the young adult, a competent consultant can quickly identify potential employers who are likely to have openings that would appeal to the individual. As a result, the client is able to secure work quickly and begin building a career without the need to spend a lot of time deciding exactly how to go about using that recently earned degree to best advantage.

Career consultants may host a blog with career tips for subscribers.
Career consultants may host a blog with career tips for subscribers.

A career consultant can also be extremely helpful in situations where individuals need to change careers. This is particularly true when the necessity comes about due to downsizing or the gradual obsolescence of a particular line of work. The consultant can assess the background, skills, and experience of the client and identify other career options that may or may not have occurred to the displaced employee. This process is important, since it can lead to discovering a whole new way to make use of the abilities of the employee in a new setting, or at least identify what type of training would be needed to make the employee attractive to prospective employers.

Consultants should be experienced and experts in their field.
Consultants should be experienced and experts in their field.

A career consultant can also help an individual assess if he or she is better suited to working for someone or launching a new business. At times, a consultant may encourage the client to pursue employment within a given subcategory of an industry or profession in order to gain the experience necessary to eventually become a business owner. Since the object is to capitalize on the skills of the client while also taking into consideration the short term and long term goals related to the workplace, the career consultant can help the client establish a plan for meeting the needs of today, while building a foundation for career advancement in the future.

Often, the process of career consulting will also focus on the aspirations that an individual has for his or her career. While financial rewards are often one of the main goals related to the selection and pursuit of a career, there is also the matter of personal satisfaction and pride in the type of work that is inherent to the career choice. A good career consultant will always address these issues as well as the more practical aspects of defining skills and identifying potential career choices based on ability. In this perspective, the career consultant is very different from recruiters or even employment agencies where the main focus is matching skills to a job need.

A career consultant may recommend different skills training courses.
A career consultant may recommend different skills training courses.

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Discussion Comments


I am so sorry that I took so long to get back to all of you. To reply to FirstViolin, Career Consultant is an excellent career to pursue. It is flexible and is not specific. As a Career Coach, I have flexed back and forth from any different career paths over the past twenty years. Also, I have advised many careerists who have held titles such as Management Analysts, Management Consultants or similar to explore broader industries to keep their options open.

In response to LittleMan, I ran a community college career center many moons ago and could not agree with you more. You hit it nail on the head, Career Coaches, Career Coaches or Career Counselors cannot get the clients the job! It is not automatic, it is not an exact science. It takes work, time and patience.

In response to Charlie89, tell your kids to come on in to Career Coaching or Career Consultancy. It's not easy. It is a business. Are they ready for entrepreneurship? Are they ready to hustle? Long nights?

Special thanks to Malcolm Tatum for writing this article and giving us Career Coaches, Career Consultants and Career Counselors "some ready and due love".


I'm a third-year student studying politics and I was super nervous about my job prospects in this economy, but I came across an organization called Grassroot Diplomat that provided career coaching specifically to students. It wasn't pricey like so many you use. I paid £40 and I was met by the director who gave me excellent advice about how to get into government positions and my CV was totally transformed.

I highly recommend them and coaching is a critical route to helping people get on the right track before things get really bad.


As far as careers in consulting go, do you think that a job/career consultant is a good industry to get into?

I know that I want to transfer myself into some kind of consulting career, I'm just not sure exactly which kind, so I'd appreciate any input you have.

Thank you.


I would really advise people to see a career consultant even before they graduate -- say, that last semester in college.

Especially in "down" job markets, it's important to give yourself a little extra time when looking for a job, and of course meeting earlier with a career consultant can give them more time to help you.

The only reason I harp on this so much is that my daughter just began working for a firm as an executive career consultant, and she is always telling me how people expect to just walk in the door one morning and walk out with a job.

Remember, career consultants are there to help you, but the career consultant job description does not include "the ability to magically find you a job", so give them some time.


Sadly enough, I think that these days more and more career management or transition consultants are being contacted by people who need to go back to work because of the recession, or can't even find that all-important first job after college.

I guess that at least one good thing about that is that there is no shortage of career consultant jobs! Perhaps I should tell my kids to get into career consultancy.

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