Private career counselor: Personal help in the crisis


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A personal crisis can be any meeting: The company dismisses employees, even traditional companies are bankrupt - and many people need to rethink. A career counselor can help!

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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A career counselor can help

Many people have lost sight of their personal and professional goals - I know that since I first settled in Buxtehude almost exactly ten years ago as the first private career counselor in Germany and thus was a pioneer for a new profession.

Managers, skilled workers or engineers, often people have worked too long or too little outside the box for years, and now they can use support to critically analyze their situation and make individual solutions. And the labor market situation is changing faster than you can study.

More than the Federal Employment Agency

Vocational counseling - wait a minute, when you first think of the Federal Employment Agency. Because it is the first point of contact for most who do not know which profession they want to take up. And it is actually the largest provider of career guidance in Germany. But, it must be said clearly: it is not a monopolist!

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The need for advice in Germany is great and we will continue to grow in the future. This is related to the fact that careers and career paths are becoming increasingly unmanageable: it is no longer so that you do an apprenticeship and then practice the profession for 40 years; Much more is permanent personal nowadays developmentCreativity, personal initiative and further education are in demand. And many people need professional help for this task, for example, to develop themselves or because you can barely overlook the continuing education market, which training courses are suitable for them.

Why are private career counselors useful?

The employment agencies, whose consultants handle many inquiries and increasingly have to take over administrative tasks, can barely cover the big demand. Although you can provide basic information and assistance, but a several months of individual coaching can hardly expect the customers of the employment agency. In addition, career counseling by employment agencies is intended only for young people in the vocational orientation phase.

And this is exactly where private career counselors come in, who pick up customers where the employment agency leaves them: in their private development. Or in the targeted search for a very special study program. Say: Private career counselors are no competition to the classic advice from the Employment Agency. Much more do you supplement their offer with specialized services. Provided, of course, one manages as a consultant to open a market niche.

How do private career counselors work?

Every career counselor works differently: Knowledge-based consultants, for example, turn to customers who already have an idea of ​​what they want to do, but still need information or have to choose between several alternatives. Above all, they provide research services by informing their customers about occupations, educational pathways, study programs and the job market, and checking whether the requirements, job characteristics, suitability criteria and admission requirements match the profile of the customer.

The private student advisory service PlanZ in Berlin, for example, specializes in classic knowledge-based advice. A customer initially receives an extensive questionnaire to analyze his personal and professional goals, motivation, characteristics, interests and talents, which he filled out at home and sends back for evaluation. Then there is a discussion with the planZ team of consultants, in which the test results are interpreted and the direction for the choice of study and career is determined: The consultants discuss exactly what options a customer has and make suggestions, show the exact study content and job descriptions . If someone cannot make friends with the study recommendations, they will simply continue to look for a suitable study option - until the customer is satisfied. In the end, planZ delivers the results again in writing as a fifty-page report. Of course, the service costs accordingly. If you not only want to be offered suitable subjects, but are also looking for detailed information on application procedures, admission opportunities, costs, duration of study and quality of the university, you have to dig deeper. However, the costs are relativized if you take into account that the entire consultation process with research, preparation and follow-up takes an average of four full days. An average of 60-100 euros can be expected for an hour of advice.

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How does psychological counseling work?

Other providers focus more on psychological matters and help with their basic orientation. As a rule, they look after clients who are still completely unclear about what they want to do and want advice on self-reflection, or those who already have a clear idea of ​​their dream job, but are unsure if they are theirs Can reach the goal.

As a rule, the consultant and his client first create a profile in which the previous education and educational goals, training and practical experience, interests, strengths, weaknesses and values ​​are recorded. Frequently, psychological testing procedures are used. In addition, he taps off what wishes and goals the customer has with regard to his professional future and which professions could fit the profile.

The employment agency is not sexy enough!

This is how Bärbel Löw works. She has swapped her secure civil servant job in the employment office for insecure self-employment - for solid reasons: In the office there is not only the time for sensible advice and the right view outside the box. Anyone who does not know from the outset how things should proceed for them will quickly find themselves in a labor market policy measure in which a place was vacant. In their opinion, the employment agency is simply not sexy enough for many customers!

For them, investing in career counseling, especially in times of crisis, makes sense. Because then a well thought-out strategy is required - sometimes forced even for unemployment - in which professional career or career counselors are a wise investment to get back on their feet, to develop new perspectives and to meet the demands of working life. Even with the insight that the way out of the crisis can only be achieved with our own resources, a first important step has been taken.

How do you become a professional consultant?

The way to such a career and career advice far away from the employment office was not always easy for Löw. 1998 has abolished the federal government's career guidance monopoly of offices. Since then, 565 career counselors have registered with the Berufsberatungsregister of the German Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (dvb).

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But a corresponding professional law does not exist so far, the dvb has been calling for years to stop wild growth and charlatanry. There are also many black sheep who, for example, make career counseling and job placement under one roof. For them and the dvb an absurdity, because who at the same time mediates a job and collects commission, could not independently advise.

Qualification and career

In order to ensure quality advice, professional consultants commit to refrain from such amalgamations, to receive regular training and to submit to the standards of the professional advice register of dvb. In addition, regular supervisions are a matter of course. No question for the dvb consultants is also not to ask for a checkout after a first meeting. Both parties have to decide for each other, only then we agree on a contract, define the goals and the duration of the consultation and thus also the budget.

The trained educator studied vocational counseling in Mannheim and Switzerland, worked in the employment agency for eleven years before becoming self-employed and completed a wide range of comprehensive counseling and now also psychotherapeutic further education courses.

How does career counseling work?

The examples show: The scope and intensity of a consultation can be very different: Some clients want intensive support that only individual consultation can offer. For some, a few food for thought and two short sessions are enough. For others, a coaching process in which a development is worked out in individual sessions over weeks makes sense. Some prefer group counseling because they expect further suggestions from other prospective students. And finally, there are those interested who need technical and psychological support in the counseling process.

At the beginning of every consultation there is always a personal conversation with the customer to find out whether it fits at all. The atmosphere of the consulting room is also important, so you should invest in appropriate equipment. Advice means supporting the customer, giving them certain food for thought. A consultant provides additional information and tips, structures the decision area with you, helps you to ask the right questions to yourself and find answers. Advice does not mean convincing the customer of a decision - neither in advance nor in the advice itself. It is clear that empathy and psychological knowledge are as much a part of this work as specialist knowledge at least in a certain professional area.

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Prerequisites, education and training

Vocational or study counselor, unlike in other countries, in Germany is not a legally protected job title with a nationwide education. No law protects, which consultations are necessary or how a consultation should look exactly. In practice, however, most of the counselors are specially trained people who have undergone training in psychology, human resources or education, or have at least successfully completed a university degree. In addition, there are often additional training. To maintain the qualification and expand the repertoire, further education is required.

At its university, the Federal Employment Agency offers the future advisors hired by the employment agencies to study for a Bachelor of Arts in “employment-oriented advice and case management”. In addition, partial qualifications for newly employed consultants are offered in module form. The Technical University of Dresden offers the Master of Arts in consulting sciences. At the University of Heidelberg you can do a master's degree in professional and organizational consulting science. The Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main - University of Applied Sciences (FH FFM) offers the master's degree in Coaching and Supervision. There are also a few private educational institutions that offer additional consultative qualifications. The German Association for Vocational Counseling eV provides further information on the job profile and training. Specialists for vocational counseling can be entered in its vocational counseling register (BBR).

Tips for setting up a business shortly

As a career counselor, you are working freelance. This means you only need a tax number at the tax office. A business registration is not required.

Since the job title is not protected, there are a variety of market consultants with different qualifications, specializations and target groups. It is therefore important to find a market niche and stand out from the competition with high quality.

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