3 Tips for Securing a Job as a Counsellor

The process of looking and applying for a counselling job might be daunting, as it can involve a long process of endless applications, tests and interviews. That’s why we’ve put together some key job search and interviewing tips that will help you land employment as a counsellor. But first, let’s take a look at where you might want to look for work as a counsellor.

Counselling job options

There are many counselling positions available within a wide variety of career fields, as different industries and companies may require counsellors for a number of different purposes. The following are some places that hire counsellors:

  • Mental health agencies and facilities: To provide individual or group therapy
  • Halfway houses: As a substance abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, or rehabilitation counsellor
  • Educational systems: To assist students in managing stress and expectations, and provide crisis intervention after traumatic incidents
  • Jails or correctional facilities: To provide mental health and substance abuse counselling, as well as rehabilitation and transition strategies for prisoners
  • Businesses: To assess and create improved manager-employee relationships and to help employees manage stress
  • Senior and geriatric-related facilities: To help individuals and their families adjust to age-related concerns and assisted care living
  • Veteran and active military hospitals and clinics: To work with retired and active personnel and their families with issues such as anger management and PTSD
  • Private or public practice: Via an area of speciality, such as marriage and relationship counselling, family counselling, and mental health counselling.

Please note that this list is non-exhaustive, and counselling positions are available in other areas beyond those listed above.

Tips for job searches, resumes and interviews

Once you’ve decided where you’d like to work as a counsellor, you can start your job application process. Here are three tips to help you find and secure your dream job.

1. Use job search websites effectively

The nature of our digital world means most employment opportunities are posted on job search websites. You can increase your chances of landing an interview if you know how to use them effectively. First, find the job search site that fits best with the kind of job information you want. Some websites list job openings only, while others offer discussion groups, networking, newsletters, and blog articles with job-search tips.

Also check to see how frequently the site’s job posts are updated; if there are several posts over 30-days-old, you’ll want to use a different job search site. Use the information you find to research companies and potential employers. Additionally, consider using the site to engage in networking, as studies show that Australian job seekers who networked had a 74% success rate.

2. Revamp and share your resume

Update your resume and make sure it offers answers to these key questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What skills and experience do you have?
  • What fields are you interested in?
  • Who do you want to work for?

Your resume is a brochure advertising your skills and abilities, and it’s a wise idea to it available online through one or two reputable job search sites. Limit it to that number so you don’t gain the reputation of being a resume spammer.

3. Prepare effectively for interviews

A great way to practice and prepare for job interviews is to anticipate the questions the interviewer will ask you. Some questions to think about and prepare answers for are:

  • Why are you pursuing a career in counselling?
  • What qualities do you possess that would make you an excellent counseller?
  • Describe how you would approach individualised counselling treatment.
  • What would you do if you couldn’t provide the level of support that a client needed?

Always provide specific examples during the interview, and remember that you’re talking with another person or group. This action is in itself a test of your ability to communicate and build a rapport with others.

Find ways to connect with the interviewers at a human level and demonstrate your ability to empathise in your responses. Be sure to monitor your behaviour and try to be as relaxed as possible. Answer questions concisely but thoroughly, and check with the interviewer to be sure you’ve answered to their satisfaction. Your depth of knowledge will be evident in your responses as well.

But first, get a qualification

Before you start applying for jobs, you’ll need to earn a diploma to become a qualified counsellor. Formal qualifications are important because they prove that you’ve completed a diploma program and have mastered basic training for entry-level counselling roles. The International Career Institute’s Counselling and Psychology Course will help you get the necessary qualifications and skills to start your counselling career, so enrol today.

Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.