We've been offering career tests since we first went live on the internet in 1998, but it wasn't until later that we began providing career counseling to the visitors on this web site.
I originally added career counseling because one of my favorite headhunters was going through a rough patch during an economic downturn, and I thought he could help provide career advice to some of the visitors to CareerPlanner.com, and earn extra money on the side.
I couldn't do the career counseling myself, because I was working full time as a Vice President of a business unit for an international high tech company. The business I was running for them was only $80M or so, but I was working long hours and traveling to Asia quite a bit. To deliver career counseling you have to be available when your clients need you, and I just wasn't available.
My friend is a great headhunter. He got me one of my best jobs ever. We got the counseling business started around him, but once his recruiting business picked up again, he was too busy to handle career counseling clients. So that's when I took over.
My first career counseling client was from Milan, Italy. That was very cool. I had worked in Turin, Italy for several years, so I was very comfortable with the culture. It was a simple case. He was trying to decide between two different job offers, and I helped him figure out which job he was best suited to. Of course he made the final decision, which is how it is with career counseling. The counselor or coach doesn't make the decisions. Instead they help the client see more clearly. They lead you through a path of self discovery, so that you can make a better career decision.
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Since then, a good portion of our counseling clients have been from outside the US. That's probably because about 36% of our web traffic is international.
For example, last month, I had career counseling clients from Shanghai and Norway. I've even had clients in Dubai and Afghanistan. The latter was an American civilian who went to Afghanistan when the US economy tanked in 2008. He wanted help planning his return to the US. He landed a great job. The last thing I coached him through was the salary negotiations. I told him what to ask for which was a lot more than he ever thought to ask for. Having been a high level manager, I knew exactly what companies were willing to offer. Remember, as an invididual, you might negotiate your compensation every few years, but companies negotiate everyday.
We get a lot of career counseling clients from Canada. We have one family who has run all of their children through our career testing.
Every career counseling client takes two career assessments. One is a career test that provides a list of careers that matches a person's interests. The other assessment matches a person's psychological type to a list of careers.
Not everyone needs the full career counseling package. Some people, like the family in Canada simply use the career tests and personality tests.
Not all of our career counseling clients want career direction. Sometimes they just need advice about how to handle something that has come up at work. Once such client was working for his uncle in a family business. The uncle was getting very destructive and was hard to work with. My client wanted to quit the family business and do something else. He actually called me on a Saturday because he was ready to quit on Monday. So what I did is show him how to work better and get along better with his uncle. I knew my client's personality type, and I from descriptions of the uncle I took a guess at his type. Armed with this new insight, my client, instead of quitting, took his uncle out to lunch and had a heart to heart talk with him. They lived happily ever after, and by now I imagine my client has inherited the family business.