Career guidance: paid, but also free

Career guidance. It evokes associations with men in suits who want to go even higher. In reality, career counseling is an important tool for starters on the labor market. It helps you answer questions about your talents and your options. There are paid agencies that offer their services. Much less is known that trainers such as the university offer their students a lot of free services in this area. And: also of professional quality. During the study the goal seems clear: graduation! But once standing on the doorstep with your diploma, you may suddenly be surprised with questions. What is the exact direction that I want to go? Or: how does my future goal match what employers offer? So there is still a considerable possible barrier between what you already know about your dream for the future, and the reality in which you have to fit yourself. Fortunately, there is the career counselor. Although you soon think of a 'man in a suit' who wants to take another step on the career ladder, that picture is not correct. The career counselor is also a good point of contact for the first step on the labor market or for changing course. The theme is even topical for people who are just entering the final phase of their studies. How and what? Read more.

The paid career advisor

You can 'get' paid career advice from specialized agencies. A possible way of working is: you do a skill test, and then you get an interview with a qualified and specialized career advisor. It deals with possible concrete matches between you and your future professional options. Everything that has been told is usually written down and given to you so that you can read it at your leisure.

The free career counselor

Not every student at the college or university is aware that there is often a free service offered by the educational institution: a relatively comprehensive advice or guidance in taking the first step on the labor market in the direction that you have chosen. An organization such as the University of Utrecht provides a nice model of the services that are provided. Firstly, the university offers a walk-in consultation hour for students with a career advisor. You can discuss your plans here, open options and test.

Visit to university career advisor:which subjects are conceivable?

  • Profession selection test
  • Estimating suitable positions and employers
  • Discussing drives, qualities and interests
  • Ways to get more information about positions and organizations
  • Identify obstacles in your labor market orientation
  • Check your resume and cover letter
(source: University of Utrecht)


In addition to this service, educational institutions such as the University of Utrecht also organize periodic start-up meetings, where students who are approaching the final phase of their studies can familiarize themselves with the labor market. A visit is also recommended if you do not really know where your wishes and exact skills lie. Here too, an experienced career advisor is available. In addition to the opportunity to ask questions, you can also take a career test online, gather information and get tips on, for example, the current use of social media for finding a job.

When to whom?

When will you go to which service provider? In fact, that choice is already made for you. Students may use the free services of the career counselors within their educational institution. Little is known that you often still have a fairly broad period after graduating to apply. That is even a year at the aforementioned University of Utrecht. Once you are in the labor process, you will sooner go to the specialized agencies. There is a - sometimes substantial - price tag. But those who, for example, are looking for - different - work from a benefit situation, can inquire about a benefit through the benefit agency.

Video: How to find and do work you love. Scott Dinsmore. TEDxGoldenGatePark 2D (February 2020).

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