All you need to know about career counselling

We live in a gig economy. Your grandfathers took a job soon after graduation, worked 40 odd years in that job, and retired. Same career and the same job for life. Your father possibly chose to work in a career but then jumped jobs once in a few years. Same profession, yet multiple job shifts. Fast forward. Today, this is a whole new world. Today, youngsters not only jump jobs but careers too. On average, youngsters today choose to shift careers once every 7 to ten years. Welcome to the new world of employment.

Career Counselling means

Your job hunt/ career search process is a critical aspect of your career development. A Career Counselor is one person who can help you with all aspects of your career choice.

Who is a Career Counsellor?

A Career Counselor is a professional trained to assist people in making their career decisions. Typically, you go to a career counselor when you have situations like these:

  1. “I have no clue what I should study.”
  2. “No idea what to major in.”
  3. My father wants me to do Engineering, but I’m not too fond of it.
  4. My son wants to be a YouTuber. I don’t know if it the right thing to do full-time.
  5. I don’t know what stream I should choose after the tenth.
  6. What course I should choose after twelfth.
  7. Should I do my Post Graduation in India or abroad?
  8. How to apply for scholarships 
  9. I know this course fetches you excellent salaries, but will I sustain this career.
  10. I do have a few career options but don’t know which to choose.
  11. Burnt out in my current profession. I want to switch careers. But which?
  12. I am retiring soon. But I want to start my second inning. Want to consult. But need advice

Importance of Career Counselling

Needless to say, the transition from school to Pre Uni, and thereon to the degree college and post graduation are deemed to be most important milestones in a students life. After each of the milestone, there is a big question waiting an answer: “WHAT NEXT?” 

In most cases, parents choose the next best step for their children when it comes to career and education. Most parents are ill informed about the various career options today. Needless to say, the career find exercise fails in 7 out of 10 cases. Ultimately, students find themselves misfits in their jobs and careers, when they enter the workforce. A wrong move in a critical milestone means either struggling with an unfulfilling career for thirty long years or the painstaking exercise of rediscovering a new career path at a later stage. The second option, though a possibility, comes at a huge cost of spent millions on the part of parents and lost years on the part of the student.

Career Guidance at an early stage is a sure fire way to ascertain one is on the right path in their career. To understand more about how to become a career counsellor, check out this link.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Group Counselling

The most effective means to deliver career counselling to students is to do it as a group counselling initiative in schools and colleges. When students attend group counselling sessions at schools, they are inspired to discuss their career with friends and their peers. This interaction helps them build a strong basis to the think deeply about careers. 

Career Guidance Workshop

In practice, Career Counselling for High School Students starts with a group counselling session at school. The group counsellling session is conducted by a career guidance expert. The group counselling session informs students of the importance of career choices, the way to choose a career, the factors that one has to consider when choosing a career among others. The workshop optionally provides access to a psychometric assessment to the students in attendance. And later helps them understand the contents of the report and plan their further steps with the inputs gained from it.

Career Guidance workshops are a win win win proposition for schools, counsellors, students and their parents. The engagement is cost effective for schools, illuminating for students, and reassuring for parents. Check out this link for Career Guidance workshops.

Three girls laughing

Career Guidance for School Students

The very first choices a student makes towards his career are when he is in Grade 10. From there on, he chooses a stream to follow. Choosing a stream immediately reduces the number of career options one can opt for later – typically this is almost a loss of 66.7% options. High school students, given their age and maturity, are not very aware of the consequences of a wrong choice after high school. It should be the primary responsibilities of the schools and parents to anoint a career guide for the child to be able to make right choices.

The exercise of Career counselling when provided for by the school itself for class 9-11 students specifically brings about awareness in students and their parents. It is noticed that many students are not satisfied with the stream they choose and tend to change it. Worse still, they realise they are on the wrong choice only after completing their graduation. 

When career counselling support is provided at the high school level, students are aware of –

  • Their aptitude and interests
  • Knowledge
  • Work styles
  • Stream choice after tenth
  • World of work for the different careers
  • Remedial work if any for working around identified weaknesses

Check out this link for Career Guidance workshops in schools.

Career Counselling for College Students

If a student missed counselling at school, the next best time to plan their career is at college. If counseling is sought during the pre uni years, it can lead to sensible choices for undergraduate studies with due guidance in exams and preparations. Else if postponed to the undergraduate years, the student has an option to follow cross disciplinary careers which may still make a meaningful career move.

Career Counselling for Adults

Career Counselling is a fairly new field of work. Access to career counselors is a thing of today. Hence, it does not come as a surprise that many adults are caught up in less than happy jobs and careers today. But there is good news.

In the new world of work, an individual shifts not just jobs but also careers once every 7 to 10 years. And when they do that, the cost of the shift is palpable. For instance, to start a whole new career means that all the investment that went into the earlier career is lost. And new investments have to be made – in money and in time. Your cumulative experience will hold no or very less value when chasing a new area of work. And your pay is bound to take a beating. Given all these factors, professionals often find the need to speak to a counselor. To ascertain that the urge to explore the new field is not a whim after all. To have sound advice on the pros and cons of the new adventure. To carve a path to the new career.

Not just young professionals, today, top executives on the verge of retirement, choose to continue working on a consultant basis post retirement. And some toy with the idea of starting a venture with the retirement benefits. In such cases, a career counselor can usher in the much needed assurance to either pursue or drop the plan. 

Check out this link for Career Guidance for Professionals.

Where do you find a career counselor?

Most career counselors publish their details online. Career Counselors engage with clients online or in person. Given the prevalent Covid situation, most consultations these days are online. Once you have made the payment for the session with your counselor, you may need to wait for an appointment.

If you need a career counsellor, check out this link.

Career Counseling Process

The process of career counseling is spread over one or more sessions. Each counseling session spans 45 minutes to one hour. During the session, the career counselor understands your challenge and assesses your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and setbacks. It is most advisable in the process of querying to take the help of psychometric analysis. That way, there is no room for prejudice, and the career discussions are non-judgemental. Career tests are an inseparable part of career discussions.

Career Tests

There are many such attributes to you that you are not aware of. Strengths, weaknesses, abilities, knowledge, to name a few. Using Career tests, one can understand their own psychological and behavioral traits. The results of such a test provide vital information to recommend suitable career paths based on their profile.

Career assessments gauge psychological and behavioral traits like work values, interest, personality, and knowledge. With more and more individuals looking to design their careers to suit particular lifestyles, matching the chosen job to characteristics like knowledge, skill areas, and work context takes center stage. Research indicates that these tests can be used on an individual to match with occupations where such individuals work and prosper.

Career assessments gauge a person on the following factors:

  1. Interest: Activities that an individual likes or dislikes doing
  2. Abilities: Capabilities to accomplish a wide range of tasks
  3. Work Styles: Factors that influence work-related aspects
  4. Work Values: Relative importance of environment characteristics
  5. Knowledge: Information required for the performance of tasks
  6. Skills: Competencies to perform tasks
  7. Work Context: Conditions under which work is performed

Career Discovery

The Career Counselor conducts the Career Discovery process in six phases. The six-phase decision model covers relevant factors – internal, external, and social and helps an individual choose the right career path. 

Phase 1: Orientation to Decision Process 

Understand the Process of Decision Making for Careers. Know what factors play a role in it. What questions need answers? Is there anything that is missing in the information already shared?

Phase 2: Navigate Suitable options

With all the information collected in Phase 1, one navigates the various options suitable for the candidate.

Phase 3: Exploration of the world of work

What do the work roles in the options available to the candidate? Browse through plenty of options that fit the candidate profile.

Phase 4: Track Fitment and External Factors

Can the candidate remain happy in that job for a long time? What factors in the job the candidate may or may not appreciate?

Phase 5: Choose options and Build Support

Shortlist the top three most suitable options to pursue. Understand what the prerequisites for the chosen career are. 

Phase 6: Plan for Knowledge and Skills

What are the shortfalls? Are they mendable? If yes, what is the course of action? What college? What course? What exams? What coaching classes? What loans? What scholarships? Is any mentor support available?

If you are looking for career guidance, head here.

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