Going From Journalism to Social Work

A friend of mine has been looking for a job change. He's been working as a sports writer for a local newspaper, but he's now interested in finding different work in media or journalism and/or a new career in the mental health-social work field. The questions are, How does one locate a career guidance counselor that is free that could assist him in discovering his possible career options related to these two areas of employment? Could they provide him access to resources? Could they assist him in locating actual job opportunities? It would be helpful if you could help me with my friend's questions and concerns.

You pose some great questions that I am delighted to answer.

Q1: Making a switch from journalism to more journalism or mental health...
A1: There is a BIG difference between the two fields. Your friend should definitely meet with a career counselor and sort that whole thing out.

Q2: How does one locate a career guidance counselor that is free...
A2: There are very few agencies that are totally free - but many community agencies offer great service at very low cost. Jewish Vocational Service is one; community colleges are available as well.

They can provide some assessments and will certainly give him/her the opportunity to think more broadly about why he is making the choice to change, why he might be interested in another field and how to determine what that field offers as well as what one might need to enter it. They can also help him determine his readiness to take on the challenge.

Q3: Could they provide him with access to resources?
A3: Not sure what kinds of resources you mean, but certainly they will direct him to whatever resources might help him move forward, including how to access details about school enrollment or information on securing financial assistance.

Q4: Could they assist him in locating actual job opportunities?
A4: Most agencies that provide career counseling services also offer job placement assistance. That means they help prepare the client to create a more effective job search. That includes teaching them where they might look for jobs, how to expand their opportunities for networking, how to develop a resume, cover letter, strengthen their interview techniques, discuss negotiating a salary and help support the time of workplace adjustment.

For the career counseling/job placement assistance process to work, it has to be a partnership - with the career changer/job applicant doing most of the work with the support and direction of the counselor. If your friend is ready and willing to take the plunge - he should make the calls and seek the help!

The Career Experts @ ChicagoJobs.org

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