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Career counselling: the ocean of promising career options

by Shreeprakash Sharma
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“He knew more of my intended career than I knew myself. I should be well enough educated for my destiny if I could “hold my own” with the average young man in prosperous circumstances.”

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

There goes a pretty interesting anecdote. In a certain forest, there was an animal school where three animal students — an elephant, a monkey and a horse, very happily lived together learning various tricks and arts of survival in the forest. Once it so happened that all the trio were made to stand in a queue by their trainer for a very special class. The apprentices were instructed to climb upon a very straight and long eucalyptus tree turn wise which was so threateningly standing before them.

Being the most mammoth of them, the elephant got the first chance to execute the feat. But having been terrified with what virtually seemed to be an impossible task he sat down despairingly. He did not even try to climb upon what was supposed to be insurmountable assignment for him and so he yielded to the herculean task. Came the turn of the horse. However, he tried many times, neighed much to climb upon the target tree but succeeded to scale not more than a few feet of the height from the root of the tree. Last came the turn of the monkey and in the blink of an eye he reached out to the top of the tree so effortlessly. The winner monkey was so lavishly applauded and awarded with the prizes while rest of the trainee students had to bear the insult.

In fact, this is not a simple story of demystifying the knowledge of categories of animals which are capable of fast climbing up and down the trees and which are not. If we think seriously over this story then we naturally get motivated to ask ourselves this very thought-provoking question: Is not the world of us Homo sapiens just like that of the forest school in which we all are being treated very much along the line of the three animal students who are forced to climb upon the tree without knowing our individual differences, personal capabilities, inborn disabilities and genetic forte which we are born with? So, don’t we feel that we need a person, highly qualified and professionally trained, to make us realize what natural talent we have been born with and then guide us accordingly what job we can best perform? Yes, of course. And he is none other than a career counselor who helps the candidates to go for a particular academic course to fulfill the dream career of their lives.

In fact, a career counselor is a professional, well-qualified and emotionally sensitive human being, who is trained to guide the aspirants what jobs they have been best suited for and what career they have been tailor-made. That is why, a career counselor’s job is to know the talent and various traits and guide the candidates to choose suitable careers accordingly.

How can a career counsellor be helpful?

Often what happens is that we commit mistakes making career decisions because we assess ourselves purely on the basis of unrealistic parameters. We design our career trajectory on the basis of what we dream and not on what we deserve. Moreover, we also get unduly impressed with the phony attraction of the various career options surrounding us. Sometimes, we also buckle under the parental and peer pressure and get swayed by the showing of society and surroundings.

In this awkward situation, a candidate ends up choosing a career for which he is not at all suitable and nor mentally inclined. It is not a matter of any surprise that this sort of mistakes in choosing the unsuitable career option occurs because of the inadequate knowledge, emotional immaturity, peer pressure and high-demanding-parental-ambition. In fact, this is a very pernicious situation. Basically, our perceptions and psychology do not let us identify the individual differences which are so naturally found in all the human beings.

The days of the customary job opportunities like those of a doctor and engineer are on the gradual decline. In the post-reformed-induced-information technology age of the 21st century where the whole world has turned out to be a global village, it is really a very soothing feeling that now there is no dearth of job opportunities across the countries in the world. As per the socio-behavioural and genetic differences in ability, personality, attitude, aptitude, bent of mind and interests in the Homo sapiens, each person can find himself fit for a score of job opportunities which have unfolded before the present generation. Therefore, the basic role of a career counselor is extending much-needed assistance and professional guidance to the people to help them choose the career as per their unique curricular and extra-curricular interests, behavioural pattern and personality traits.

However, in the wake of increasing demand for such type of counselors, career counseling course has also been incorporated in syllabus and there is provision of appointment of a career counselor in each school and college. A career counselor is responsible for providing the guidance to the students for their balanced physical, mental, psychic and psychological development so that they may move ahead towards the right career path at right time with right attitude and much-sought after success with ease and élan.

Functions of a career counsellor

A Career counsellor performs the following important functions:

  1. Helps individuals develop the self-awareness which will further help them to prepare for the better development of interests and capabilities.
  2. Prepares and enables the children for taking career decisions as per their choice, interest, ambition, personality trait and inclination of mind.
  3. Makes students aware of the various job opportunities and career options to best suit their interests and capabilities
  4. Assists the aspirants with the professional guidance of braving the challenges born out of changes in career and grooming them for the professional perfection.

Mandatory skills required for a career counsellor

The job of a career counsellor is not easier than what the people do understand. It is more the job of sensitively understanding the human behviour and psychology than the academic excellence. That is why a career counsellor must be a good human being to sympathetically understand the natural capabilities and inherent disability of the people. Besides, a career counsellor must:

  • Possess thorough knowledge of current job trends and availability of career opportunities. He must also have very perfect knowledge of various institutions, courses offered by them, courses’ fees, provision of scholarships and financial assistance programmes.
  • Have updated information of the changes in the areas of education, emerging career opportunities in the country and abroad as well and scope in the years to come.
  • Possess very good patient listening skills.
  • Be a man of immaculate character, integrity and commitment.
  • Have immense patience and better understanding of human behaviour and psychology.
  • Have perfect knowledge of the job policies and socio-political condition of the various counties across the globe.
  • Have very sound analytical power, communication efficiency and sensitivity.
  • Have motivational power.
  • Possess the leadership qualities to lead and inspire the candidates to the right path of career choice and job opportunities.

Educational qualifications

A majority of the career counsellors pursue this profession with the background of psychology as the main subject. It is because of the fact that the subject, psychology, provides the much-needed insight and understanding in the human behaviour and natural human instincts of the people and thereby a career counsellor can better understand their problems and preference.

However, there is no special course as like that of career counselling but all the guidance and counselling courses have career counselling as the conspicuous part. Any candidate with post graduation degree in any subject is eligible for applying for a diploma in counselling. Though it is quite another fact that an array of universities and institutes prefer Master’s degree with psychology as the background. Teachers with a few years’ experience are also eligible for taking up the course of career guidance and counselling.

Remuneration

In so far as the pay package of a career counsellor is concerned, what comes as a bizarre fact that there is wide disparity in this domain of human behaviour and psychology. Many of the reputed and well-established organizations and educational institutes provide handsome packages while in the rest of the sectors, a career counselor can get the monthly salary the range of which falls between Rs. 25,000 to Rs, 40,000. However, a majority of schools and colleges have the regular posts of career counsellors which pay them along the line of formal pay scales with all the allowances permissible time to time. But the career counsellors who work as freelancer or as a part time they earn even more than this. Many of the career management and employment agencies too recruit career counsellors and offer them a lucrative pay packages.

Institutes offering postgraduate diploma courses in guidance and counselling

  • National Council of Education and Research Training – NCERT, New Delhi. (www.ncert.nic.in)
  • Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Tamil Nadu (M.A. Career Counselling, www. rgniyd.gov.in)
  • Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu (annamalaiuniversity.ac.in)
  • Karnataka University, Karnataka-www.kud.ac.in

Job prospects

The job prospects of a professional career counsellor end only with the proverbial statement of what we may call ‘sky is only the limit.’ This fact is truer, especially in the global world of today where the job opportunities are even more increasing every day. However; following are the main areas where a career counsellor is most sought after:

  1. A majority of the career counsellors get the jobs in schools, colleges and various other educational institutions. In the wake of the fast rising stress and consistent rise in the cases of suicides of students and adolescents across the country all the educational and coaching institutions have career counselor
  2. A career counsellor can also work at a career information centre. He/She can also work at a career education programme
  3. A career counsellor also works as a professional for providing help to the students for the preparation of job interviews
  4. Helping the candidates in the development of skills is also considered as one of the important jobs of a career counsellor. He also helps in writing an immaculate professional resume. Assisting the candidates with the key guidelines for group discussion or interview is also considered as one of the jobs of a career counsellor
  5. Advising the students on choosing the right and suitable subjects at school and college levels. They also advise the students about the requirement of various documents for a host of admission and entrance examinations
  6. A career counsellor also guides a candidate about an array of means to finance the course fees.
  7. A Career counsellor works with the placement agencies too and counsels the candidates about career development
  8. With the globalization of the world economy, the overseas job opportunities and the responsibilities of a career counselor have increased even more. A career counsellor advises the students on the job opportunities available in various segments across countries in the world

The career of a career counsellor is not an easy job because it involves moral responsibilities of grooming the career and making the future of people so promising and bright. So, for this job one needs to be meticulously updated. He must have knowledge of various types of developments taking place in various job markets at his fingertips. Besides, he must also be a good psychologist who can understand both the brains and hearts of people so perfectly.

Long and odd hours of working and dealing lovingly and sympathetically with a variety of people with a host of traits and attitudes are not easy to cope with. But providing much-needed guidance to the aspirants to reach out to the pinnacle of their much-desired achievements makes the profession of a career counselling very much preferable, lucrative and of high satisfaction and calibre.



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