Explore Your Options

Explore Your Options

Counseling, Helping, and Social Service

Counseling, helping, and social service careers strive to give clients support and improve their well-being and quality of life. Depending on the job title, clients may range from children to seniors and topics may include diverse issues such as abuse, mental health, ministry, marriage and family, education, and many more.

Learn About the Field

Career exploration is all about research. Use the following information to learn if a career in counseling, helping, and social service is for you.

Latest News in the Field

Keep informed about what’s happening in this field by reading what the professionals read. Visit the following sites regularly!

Mental Health America
Social Work Today
National Association of Social Workers
Social Workers Speak

Meet People

Now that you've done a little research about the counseling, helping, and social service field, it's time to start meeting with industry professionals. It's an easy way to learn more about what your future career path might look like. It's also a great way to network with people who may know about internship or full-time job opportunities.

Networking Resources

IUB Alumni LinkedIn – You can connect with over 186,000 IUB alumni from various programs after you create a LinkedIn profile. Search for alumni based on location, company, industry, and what they studied. To learn more about how to set-up your profile and use this tool, visit these resources.

IU Alumni Directory—Request an account and use it to search for IU Alumni who have graduated from our counseling, helping, and social service programs. You can see where they’re working now and email them directly from the site. Contact a dozen people to start with and see where you end up. You may need to contact more in order to get some helpful responses.

Informational Interviewing Guide—Once you know who you’re interested in talking with, use this guide to request and conduct an informational interview.

Social Media Networking

Use social media to network with professionals and their organizations. LinkedIn, a professional networking site, is a great way to connect. Here are a few organizations that have a strong social presence.

Join a Professional Association

National professional associations are valuable sources for a variety of career information. You can learn about certification requirements, job leads, internships, educational opportunities, and more. Many associations offer discounted membership rates for students.

Get Experience
Build Your Skills

Having career-relevant work experience on your resume will give you a big head start when it comes time to land your post-grad dream job. Now that you’ve researched your career options, take advantage of the opportunities below to build the skills you need to be competitive. Remember: employers also like to see plenty of leadership experience listed.

Join Student Organizations

There are more than 700 student organizations at IU—which means there are more than 700 ways you can get some really impressive leadership experience. Below are some groups specific to counseling, helping, and social service. Check out BeINvolved to learn about even more student organizations through IU Student Life and Learning.

Get a Part Time Job

Use myJobs to learn about part- and full-time job opportunities. Here are career-relevant jobs that students have participated in.

*Jobs with asterisks are within walking distance from campus.

Volunteer Opportunities

Put your talents to good use and build experience along the way! Off-campus volunteer opportunities exist around every corner. Below are some volunteer opportunities within about an hour’s drive of Bloomington.

Find a job or internship

You've done your research, created a network, and beefed up your resume. Now it's time to hit the job market. The list below shows some organizations that often recruit IU graduates from counseling, helping, and social service majors. This list also shows some organizations where recent counseling, helping, and social service graduates have gone to work. Remember that an education in these majors can prepare you for a number of careers.

Job Search Sites

These sites post jobs that relate directly to counseling, helping, and social science. Remember to use these sites in addition to your network of people to maximize your chance of finding good opportunities. Many of the professional associations listed in the Meet People tab will post industry-specific jobs. Look for a page titled "careers," "jobs," "employment," or "opportunities."

Keywords for Job Searches

As you use the web to search for more opportunities, get creative with the search terms you use. Try the list below to maximize your results.

  • Therapy
  • Health
  • Substance
  • Rehabilitate
  • Counsel
  • Family
  • Advocate
  • Intervention
  • Integration
  • Foster
  • Mentor
  • Treatment
  • Mental Health
  • Behavioral
  • Diagnose
  • Evaluate
  • Documentation
  • Developmental
  • Clinical
  • Case Management
Organization & Company Research Resources

When you’re preparing for a job interview, it pays to do your research. Use the resources here to learn about an organization’s history, business, and culture. Once you have a good understanding of what the company’s about, formulate a list of questions to ask during your interview. This will show your interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the job and give you a deeper understanding of what to expect if you’re hired.

Common Interview Questions

Interviews can vary from one industry to another. Remember, interviewers are trying to assess your experience and your fit for a specific position, so depending on the position, your questions will vary greatly. This is a small sample of questions designed to help you understand the kind of field-specific questions you might be asked.

  • What is your experience working with diverse groups of people?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt you were particularly effective in working with someone or a group.
  • Describe a time when you had an ethical dilemma and how did you handled the situation.
  • What kinds of activities do you participate in for self-care?
  • What do you expect to be the most challenging part of working with the population we work with?
  • Why do you want to work with this target population?
  • How would you go about building a trusting relationship with a client?
  • In communication, people’s gestures or verbal cues can give us information. Give me an example of how your interpretation of verbal or nonverbal behavior has helped you.
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to make someone feel comfortable while dealing with a difficult situation.
Insider Tips
  • Before you can have a successful career in counseling it is important that you face your own weaknesses and blind spots.
  • It is important to have an awareness of cultural differences as well as any populations that you might find challenging to work with.
  • Volunteer experiences are highly regarded in these fields; get experience volunteering with several organizations in order to increase your marketability.
  • Crisis intervention training/experience is helpful for pursuing a career in counseling, therapy, social work, and others in this field.
  • Nonprofit employees often wear many hats in their workplaces. It is imperative to have versatile experience and knowledge of all aspects of nonprofit administration. Consider experience in fundraising, grant writing, volunteer coordination, or event planning.