With many people graduating in hopes of pursuing a career in counseling, you may be considering additional education or skills that you can gain to help set yourself apart from other graduates. Adding a few unique skills can improve your marketability and possibly find jobs in specialized areas of counseling.
Learn Another Language
Fluency in one or more additional languages can have the most dramatic impact on your marketability. Although Spanish remains a popular language to learn, you should consider American Sign Language (ASL) as another option since there are many people who are part of the deaf community. For more information, consider contacting companies like Professional Sign Language Interpreting Inc.
Being fluent in another language can help you find employment outside of the traditional counseling setting. Police departments and hospitals often need licensed counselors to help comfort victims of crimes or other traumas. Knowing another language can also help law enforcement and medical personnel overcome communication barriers, especially when gaining detailed information is time-sensitive.
Immerse Yourself In Culture
Being culturally sensitive will not only improve your job prospects but will make you a better counselor. In addition to taking courses, such as cross-cultural psychology and sociology, seize any opportunity to spend time with people that may represent backgrounds different than yours. If your current or former college has student groups for different cultures, ethnic groups, or sexual orientations, you might consider speaking with the members of the group to determine if they can discuss their experiences with you.
A cultural experience may involve spending a day with your fellow student and learning about any difficulties they may face because they are part of a specific group. You might consider living with another student for a week to gain more in-depth understanding of their life. Take into consideration the different types of people you may encounter as a counselor, which also includes people from different socioeconomic levels and geographic environments. One of the hallmarks of a good counselor is the ability to empathize with your clients and make them feel comfortable talking to you.
Incorporate Technological Aspects
Since social media is a big part of today's society, more courses and research involving the impact of social media on mental health are now available. When possible, seek out psychology, sociology, and/or education courses that highlight the influence of social media on mental health, including issues like cyberbullying. Look for professors who are performing research on this topic, even if they are from another school, who are willing to allow you to join their research team.
You will likely have clients of varying ages who are impacted by cyberbullying. In addition to offering them assistance in rebuilding their self-esteem, you want to know which tools or resources are available to help them continue to use the internet without being the subject of bullying.
Counseling is a popular career choice, which can make it difficult to be different from the next applicant. By focusing on skills to make you a well-rounded counselor, you will improve your marketability.