In earlier days, career counselling was never considered as a separate profession. Instead, it was believed to be a responsibility of teachers and parents to guide the students. Not all the times, students received a strong guidance from them and it was probable that they would be guided only for few career options that were popular at the time. This limited awareness and guidance route prompted many students to take up the fields of engineering and medical science. Most often, students realized their interests only after dedicating important years of their lives to a career option they were not fit for. Although, the situation has not improved much, but the emergence of career counselling as a separate profession and dedication of several career counselors in the country to help the students in taking a right decision has increased awareness among the students. There are many career counselors who are working only for the sole purpose of supporting students in taking up a career option which is right and suitable to them.
Internet provides a bulk of information which makes decision making difficult for students and parents.
Coming into the field of career counselling was majorly decided by his own experiences and difficulties in receiving right guidance at the right time. He says that before the advent of the internet, it was highly difficult to find the right information. However, it has become even more difficult after the advent of Internet. It is difficult to find reliable information and to decide which information to believe in is a huge task for students and parents. He has personally observed the importance of getting the right information at the right time in his own career. The students today, often feel stuck ad find no way forward with a bulk of information in front of them. A combination of experienced people’s opinion and objective analysis is needed to arrive at the most optimal decision.
He uses different sets of tools to acknowledge students’ interests and guide them. He generally asks students to share their experiences and career test reports they have with them. He also discusses their future goals which help him to understand the student better. He then brainstorms with the student and gauges how the student arrived at the said conclusion.
Parents and students should together take career counselling for an open thought exchange process
He strongly believes that parents should be made a part of their children’s career counselling. Parents and children often see things from different perspectives. A child’s excitement and a parent’s wisdom needs to be blended to arrive at a decision that will be a win-win situation for all. To enable this, both of them must speak out candidly about their thoughts and assumptions. Lack of proper discussion may lead the student to a wrong career path which could be lonely for him in the long run. He believes that career counselling is like a negotiation in a child’s life, where every person important in his career life should be given a fair chance to share his/her opinion.
A good career counselling needs three skills- Listening, Accommodating, Non-judgemental
He believes that career counselling is not an easy job and there are certain skills that are a must to successfully help the student in selecting a right career option. The most important skill is of listening. It is highly important to listen to the student as a friend which can help to understand the student more deeply. A career counsellor should also be accommodating and non-judgemental. A big problem with students while sharing their aspirations is that they fear getting judged and given advice which is not helpful to them in their career selection process. A student needs to be understood and given non-biased advice on a career option and also a clear picture of the future scope of the selected career.
Look at the future scope, for a student entering today into a career will be working in that in future
Apart from this, he suggests newbies in this career to question the existing theories and look at how industries are evolving. A career counsellor needs to understand that instead of looking at today’s scenario, a student has to be guided based upon future market conditions. A student today will be entering workplaces that may look different from what they are today. Career counselling is certainly not a science experiment and you can never be 100% sure of the outcomes. However, being aware of the trends can help a career counsellor to guide a student appropriately. Moreover, there are many new career options that are coming up every year and this makes it more important for a career counsellor to remain updated. He personally does this by being in continuous touch with leaders and human personnel across organisations. He also follows researchers who often come up with survey results that provide useful insights. He strongly suggests using LinkedIn, Xing, Education World, NAFSA and University World News.
He has due respect for three people in this profession, Sanjay Sawant in Mumbai, Pervin Malhotra in Delhi and NK Sundaram in Bangalore. Also, regarding Career Guide, he says that Having an online systemic way of interaction and suite of products is definitely a big step forward. Any student across India with access to the internet can be assured of unbiased recommendations. At the end of the day, it is the candidate’s quality of informed decision that will determine her/his career path.