Career Counseling – one field which has gained a lot of importance in the past few years and yet one of the most misinterpreted terms. It is a process of helping / facilitating the career decision of a person. The person seeking such facilitation could be of any age and background; a school or college student, a working professional, a person starting out after a break / sabbatical, a dropout and any other and the professional who would offer this facilitation will be a Career Counselor.
What the professional counsellor will bring to the table and the approach that the professional will take, will depend on the person seeking such guidance. It may be certain psychometric assessments (measuring Intelligence, Personality, Aptitude / Ability, Interest), discussing a certain field (including courses, subjects, admission process and career path) or discussing the match between personality, work style and the job roles. It may also be a practical plan for someone getting back on career / study track.
You may seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed with subject selection, you feel confused about options after 10th / 12th, want clarity for further course of action after graduation or even when you have been in the work force but now feel stuck in your current work domain.
A person with certification in a specific assessment tool (like MBTI, DISC Profiling, and soon) is generally one may seek professional help from; also there are professionals with Certification / PG programs in career counseling. A professional with post graduation in psychology would be ideal especially if one wants to go for psychometric assessment and career counseling in general.
A career guidance professional is approached with various expectations but the most inapt is that the professional will decide your career. This expectation is like letting another person decide what you do with your life. And we don’t want that. So don’t expect a decision.
One person’s experience in counseling may differ from another person. One person’s counseling outcome would differ from another person. For some it may be getting their options narrowed down, for another it may be removing the boundaries and exploring more options and for some it may push the introspective button so that they have better self understanding to take the right direction and decision for themselves.
You may have to undergo an assessment and the counselor would guide you through understanding the assessed parameters, debrief you about your profile, and recommend further study / career course more suitable.
Alternatively, you may bounce your ideas and interests to the counselor. The counselor can bring information about the field in terms of nature of work, qualifications required, courses, alternate career path, related options and avenues, to the table. You will be better equipped to analyze your options and decide about your further study / career plan.
Sometimes you may need professional assistance in deciding your subjects at school. With some boards offering subject options at high school level and the subjects that you may drop off may affect your course / career options later. Thus a professional may help you see the subject requirements for a particular career option in future so you may make an informed subject choice.
You may at times be guided for more self introspection with regards to the match between the job roles and personal attributes. Such a self analysis would prove very valuable for those who are dealing with personal deadlocks, where your efforts may not be yielding desired results.
Career counseling thus can be a fluid experience.