What to Expect from a Career Consultation


Career consulting isn’t like coaching. When I coach, I ask you big questions to help you figure out what you already know and believe. When I mentor, I share the stuff I know and believe. It’s a very different dynamic. They’re both a lot of fun for me, but consulting is easier.

To start us off, I’ll ask you to summarize where you are now, and what you want to get out of the phone call. (I’ll ask for your resume in advance, but hearing your story directly from you is the piece I need to really understand what you need.) I’ll ask a few clarifying questions and then we switch to question and answer.

This is where your preparation comes in. A good career consultation is all about advance planning. The more questions you come in with, the more I can answer for you. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll tell you that and suggest ways to find the information. If you don’t have questions prepared, I’ll do my best to provide useful information anyhow, but it won’t be as valuable for you.

I have gotten all kinds of career questions, from the broad to the extremely specific. if you are wondering about something, it is always worth asking.  Questions people have asked me:

  1. I want to switch from science to international development Is my career goal possible?
  2. What kind of employers should I be looking at if I want to work in human rights?
  3. Does the kind of job I want actually exist?
  4. How do I become a consultant?
  5. I am sending out so many applications. Why do I never get interviews?
  6. I do so many interviews. Why do I never get a job?
  7. Should my volunteer experience be on my resume?
  8. I am unhappy now. Would working in international development make me happy?
  9. Should I apply for this job vacancy? How about this one? Or this one?

We’ll finish the call by identifying your next steps and summarizing what we’ve talked about. You should leave the phone call with a lot of new information, a plan to gather any information I couldn’t give you, and a sense of what you will do next.