Today, choosing a career is one of the most daunting tasks a student has to face. In a world where we are constantly surrounded by so much information about careers, jobs and courses, we as Career Counsellors, need to be on ‘top of our game’. Therefore, it is quite important to know how to guide students towards the right career path.
The internet provides us with a lot of good information, but also a lot of information that’s not-so-helpful. Thus, when working with students it is important to have a structured process to guide them towards an ideal career path.
6 Methods On How To Guide Students Towards the Right Career Path
- Identifying Interests: If one chooses a career that matches their interest they are more likely to enjoy the work they do. When guiding students with their career it is thus important to identify these interests. Today, there are several interest assessments that career guidance professionals can administer to their students to identify their interest. Dr. John Holland’s Theory of Vocational Choice also known as Holland Codes or RIASEC is a widely accepted model for categorising and understanding individuals’ interests and job personalities. Identifying work-related interests is an important part of career planning and thus it is important to research relevant and authentic interest tests before administering them. Other Interest Assessment one can research is the Ideal Career Test by Univariety, India’s largest career guidance and college planning organization.
Identifying ones Personality and Strengths: Students must invest time in understanding what makes them happy and motivated. If they do not, they could jeopardise their career path and be dissatisfied with their career choice.
Personality and strengths are important factors to consider when exploring what career fits a student best.
As career counsellors, we need to administer recognised and reputable assessments to students. In addition to assessments, there must be honest and open communication between you and your students. Combining these two factors (i.e. assessment & communication) will not only benefit you as a counsellor in identifying your student’s personality and strengths, but it will also give you a closer insight into what they enjoy doing; that may sometimes not be indicated in an assessment. This in turn will help you guide your students towards a career that will make them happy.
Importance of Values: Our values are an integral part of our beliefs and ideals which are co-related to our career. These core values are part of what makes us who we are. Values such as humility, respect, privacy, belonging, independence, concern for the environment, concern for others and so on. As career counsellors, it is important to help our students identify what their values are before they tread on their career path. However, it would be unwise to choose a career solely on the basis of values. Ultimately, if one has to be successful and happy in their career, they must have the interest, skill and aptitude required to perform a job.
According to Liz Cannata, Senior Manager of HR at CareerBuilder, in a Forbes article (Dated September 2020) said “Just like personal values, work values have to do with your preferences, purpose and desired path. It’s important to consider these values as you explore your current job satisfaction level and think about future career development.” (Career Builder is a global end-to-end human capital solutions company)
Global Awareness of careers: Read, Research and Review careers that are growing in the global markets. The job sector is only opening up and so are the mindsets of individuals. As career counsellors, it is our responsibility to research all careers (emerging, alternative and mainstream) that are available, and provide comprehensive and detailed information to students.
- Working with parents to build awareness on new careers from cities and small towns: India is one of the youngest countries in the world, with almost 90% of its population under the age of 60; whereby nearly 35% is under the age of 19 years. This means that there will be a huge addition to the working-age group in the coming years. (Source: Financial Express, October 2020).
Thus, the need of the hour for career counsellors is awareness and unlearning misconceptions about certain careers. This, in turn, will help you as a counsellor to work with parents to make them more open-minded and build awareness to new-age careers in order for them to support their children to have an alternative career.
Creating awareness about new-age or alternative careers might be easier in larger cities due to more exposure, however, in smaller towns, the struggle continues. Children are still forced into traditional careers even if they don’t have the interest or inclination towards it. An article by A.B Sivakumar in The India Study Channel talks about various ways on ‘how to create better career guidance awareness in semi-urban and rural areas’. According to Sivakumar, it is important to educate students about different career opportunities starting from the 8th grade, career fairs can be conducted in local languages so that parents are made more aware about the career opportunities and teacher training can be provided to introduce different courses along with the outcomes of their career.Parents need to be informed about their child’s interests and strengths along with the opportunities different careers provide. Transparency between parents, counsellors and students is the key factor to build awareness on new careers.
Alternative careers: It is important to keep an open mind when it comes to guiding students towards a career. This includes suggesting careers that may not be mainstream but lucrative and growing in demand.
An alternative career may not be for everyone. Thus it is important to identify your audience and understand their interest, strengths, personality, skills, talents, values and together guide them in making informed academic and career decisions.
Alternative careers can get challenging, but the thrill to fulfil your passion and do something that you enjoy is what matters.
Here’s what some people who have chosen alternative careers have to say:
- Srinita Bhoumick, one of the top freelance Indian television writers talks about how writing for television shows is one of the most demanding but yet fascinating jobs. There are constant deadlines, competition, ratings that come in on a week on week basis which a show is evaluated- but in all of this chaos, it’s also a creatively challenging medium. The job requires you to constantly evolve as a writer. Television is a reflection of the society around you, and being able to portray that in a real yet entertaining manner is where the true skill lies. (Srinita Bhoumick has written several Hindi television shows, some renowned ones include ‘Rishte Hai Pyar Ke’, Pinjara, Naagin, Mahek, Jamai Raja amongst others)
- Shashi Sarda, a yoga therapist and counsellor based in Mumbai talks about her journey from a 3D Animator to yoga. Shashi got into yoga only after truly understanding the value of health. Many students are now considering a career in yoga; however, the process takes time, effort and a lot of determination. According to her, when she helps people feel happy, healthy, and in harmony with their surroundings, that’s when she feels she has done her bit in making a difference. (Shashi is the founder of Yoga Central, based in Mumbai www.yogacentral.in)
- Dianne Commissariat, a leading hairstylist shares how a career in hair styling is growing in demand. Her passion for styling started at a young age when she cut her own hair. She dint think this would be her journey and lead to where she is today. After enrolling in a 6-month course with BBLUNT Salon, Mumbai in 2005 she was fortunate to start work on film shoots as a hairstylist immediately. Dianne has worked with some of the top celebrities in India and is proud of her achievement. Hairstyling not only requires skill, but one needs to be a people’s person and have a passion to possibly travel. She believes that interest can guide ones career as long as they are willing to work hard and be challenged constantly. (Dianne is a Senior Salon Director at BBLUNT India https://www.bblunt.com/pages/academies)
Hopefully, you’re able to use this information to help your students find their right career paths. Students must have people in their lives that challenge them and hold them accountable. And even though students can always change careers path later in life, many of their choices are shaped at the very beginning.
So brush up your skills and master the art of career counselling with the Global Career Counsellor program by Univariety in collaboration with UCLA Extension. This is an all-in-one guide to learn about career counselling from techniques and trends to best practices.