Book Review: A Job Search Manual for Counselors and Counselor Educators
Book Review by Jake Galles
Hodges, S., & Connelly, A. R., (2010). A Job Search Manual for Counselors and Counselor Educators: How to Navigate and Promote Your Counseling Career. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
The title of this American Counseling Association 2010 release is a good depiction of its contents, as it is a comprehensive resource for helping counselors prepare for and navigate the career planning and job search process. This guide will prove to be helpful for counselors in all stages of career development, as it contains a multitude of practical tips and resources designed to assist individuals with implementing, establishing, and thriving in a counseling career. The authors use a holistic approach, incorporating elements of mental health, physical well-being, and work-life balance, which will likely appeal to those in a helping profession. They also incorporate a variety of self assessments to help counselors clarify their readiness and capacity to navigate each stage of the job search process. Furthermore, the authors are knowledgeable and experienced in counselor education. The first author, Shannon Hodges, PhD, has more than 20 years of experience teaching career development skills in higher education and community agencies, 16 years of experience in mental health counseling, and is currently an associate professor in a clinical mental health counseling program and director of clinical education. This combination of experience, interests, and competencies make him an expert on the career development of counselors.
The first chapter of the book is intended to assist counselors preparing to enter the job search market, focusing on identifying skills, interests, and values, learning how to find information about options (including earnings and projections data), and “visioning” a career. The second chapter covers the ins and outs of the job search process, including advice and realities for finding counselor and counseling educator positions. Chapter Three focuses on the resume, curriculum vitae, and cover letter, and contains helpful tips and samples for preparing such materials. However, the information included appears similar to that in most resume, CV, and cover letter guides and resources, and there appears to be little information specific to materials for counselors and counselor educators. Preparing and planning for interviews is the focus of Chapter Four, and the authors do a solid job of explaining the counselor interview process, including a typical schedule of how an extensive campus interview plays out. They also include a fairly extensive list of difficult questions that are commonly asked during counselor interviews, with examples of effective answers. Similar to the previous chapter, there is a lot of information on interviewing in general, such as appropriate dress and etiquette, interview follow-up, and handling job offers.
Dealing with rejection and working through disappointment is the focus of Chapter Five. The authors use Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief (denial, rage and anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) as an analogy to explain how individuals handle rejection, which is likely an effective strategy to spark the interests of counselors and counselor educators. Chapter Six covers career transitions and changing counseling specialties. Here the authors give an overview of different counseling areas (mental health, school, rehabilitation, addictions, career, etc.) and outline strategies for successfully moving from one area to another. Launching and establishing self employment through a private practice is covered in Chapter Seven, including an overview of the advantages and challenges. The authors use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as an analogy for starting a private practice, including physical needs for survival (licensure, counseling experience, physical location, etc.), Love and Belonging (establishing reputation, developing marketing plan), and self actualization (achieving success in business). Again, the authors use counseling terms to explain career-related concepts in order to effectively speak directly to their intended audience. The final chapter offers advice and information for thriving in a counseling career, including how to manage a new job, licensing issues, supervision, credentials, continuing education, and staying involved with professional activism. Finally, a career counseling resources section is included at the end of the book, with information about various counseling professional associations, top online job boards that post counseling positions, a list of resources to obtain occupational information, and a list of other helpful books.
The information, activities, and resources included in this book would likely be helpful for anyone in the midst of a job search, career transition, or early stages of career planning. The authors often site Richard Bolles’ What Color Is Your Parachute, which is one of the predominant career planning resources of the last four decades; and much of the content and activities reflect Bolles’ career planning philosophy. The incorporation of these effective strategies, combined with the authors’ experience and knowledge with educating counselors makes for an insightful, helpful, and easy to use resource. Not only is it an effective manual for helping counselors and counselor educators prepare for the job search and plan a career, it is also an interesting and insightful read for any professional who may provide career development services with aspiring counselors.
Jacob A. Galles is a Ph.D student in the combined Counseling Psychology/School Psychology program at Florida State University, specializing in career counseling. He is also a graduate assistant career advisor at FSU’s Career Center and instructor of an undergraduate career development course. He can be reached at JGalles@admin.fsu.edu