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The Differences Between Career Counselors and Recruiters

Once someone makes the decision to seek help in their career development – be it in their current career or in seeking  a new one – they often run into their first question: WHO should I ask for help?! Some turn to Career Counselors, others to Recruiters, and many to both. So what’s the difference? That’s what this post is here to answer. It’s a long one, but hopefully helpful!


Career Counselors are known for helping clients make a successful career transition, even if their degree or experience might not totally match up to all the “requirements” requested. Career Counselors can help you identify where you’ve detoured from your career map and build a route to get to your desired destination.

Here are four things Career Counselors provide that recruiters typically do not:

1. Career Counselors provide a holistic approach to measure the correct career fit.
2. Career Counselors provide a systematic, step-by-step career approach that works beyond one specific opening.
3. Career Counselors partner and walk through each stage of the career transition together.
4. Career Counselors help manage their clients’ tides of emotion during the career campaign.


Recruiters typically look for the degree and the list of your skills in order to get you in front of the decision maker for an interview. However, recruiters often don’t have the skills to help clients transition into new or different careers, much less prep for and ace their interview or negotiate the best offer. So they do serve a purpose, but you shouldn’t rely on a recruiter to help guide you if you’re feeling stalled in your career or in search of purpose in a new one.

Some job hunters find it so tempting to take “the easy way” when job hunting by letting recruiters do all the work. Talk to recruiters, but be proactive and maintain control of your search. Do all you can on your own to uncover other opportunities so that A), if the recruiters don’t come through, you’re not sitting around waiting, and B) you’re not limited to what a recruiter offers.

Through your own efforts and the help of a Career Counselor, you can uncover more – and perhaps better – options, and have more choice in terms of your next position.

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