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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Career counselling

It seems that there is yet another way in which the new generation differs from the older — the advent of career and education counselling. Typically, it was customary for parents, or even the children, to choose the ‘correct’ career path — one that would balance both emotional and financial well-being.

Career counseling, career guidance and career coaching are similar in nature to other types of counseling or coaching, e.g. marriage or psychological counseling. What unites all types of professional counseling is the role of practitioners, who combine giving advice on their topic of expertise with counseling techniques that support clients in making complex decisions and facing difficult situations. The focus of career counseling is generally on issues such as career exploration, career change, personal career development and other career related issues.

How it works

Counselling started out primarily as a way for young college-students to explore their passions, and thereby find a way to make a career out of these interests. The major question of ‘what should I be doing in life?’ was more easily answered with the help of a professional. Career counselling centers offered the students one-on-one time with a counsellor, and after a few meetings or talks, a plan was suggested, with inputs from the parents, student and the professional, to ‘get on the right track’, so to speak. Later, personality and psychometric tests were added, to accurately gauge not only the students’ interests, but also their aptitude. A combination of the two was analysed to provide career guidance to the student.


Emerging trend

As more of the youth and their families became interested in seeking advice, the field broadened to include education counselling as well. The once self-made decisions about where to study and what course to study in college are now being carefully assessed and made with the help of a knowledgeable counsellor.

Today, many counselling centers offer services in four broad areas — aptitude and psychometric testing, career consultations, higher-education consultations and entrance examination tutoring. Specific packages are available that can be further customised to suit each individual student’s needs. For example, a student in college who is unsure of what career to choose, or maybe even unsure of the necessary steps to take for his/her career, would set up an appointment with a counsellor. After a preliminary discussion (for a certain fee), the student can either choose to continue with the counsellor, or walk away. A typical plan for a student of this nature might include some initial testing, followed by a detailed career guideline, resume building, and interview practice.

Benefits of Career Counseling

Professional career counselors can support people with career-related challenges in many ways. Through their expertise in career development and labor markets, they can put a person's qualification, experience, strengths and weakness in a broad perspective taking into consideration their desired salary, personal hobbies and interests, location, job market and educational possibilities  Through their counselling and teaching abilities, career counselors can additionally support people in gaining a better understanding of what really matters for them personally, how they can plan their careers autonomously, or help them in making tough decisions and getting through times of crisis. Finally, career counselors are often capable of supporting their clients in finding suitable placements/ jobs, in working out conflicts with their employers, or finding the support of other helpful services.

Intrigued by the idea of counselling? Following are some popular Indian counselling centers that have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of students find great colleges and/or careers. Young Buzz, situated in Mumbai and Bangalore, promises holistic guidance for educational and career development. Career Guardian, with offices all over India, provides its students with the latest trends and information in education and careers, as well as proper admission and application guidance. There’s no harm in finding out more about these companies … you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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