Career Guidance: How To Make The Best Use Of Your One Hour With The Career Counsellor
Seeking the guidance of a career counselling expert to help your child choose her career? Here’s how to make the best use of your session.
By Arundhati Swamy
One of the most important decisions a teenager has to make is about his future career. Today, your child can choose from innumerable mainstream as well as alternative career paths. However, his options are limited when it comes to choosing the right stream at Grade 12.
While some students know exactly what they want to do and where they want to go, others are clueless about what career path they want to follow. This is when a career advisor plays a crucial role in a child’s life and leads her onto the path of professional success.
Why career counselling is important
Career counselling offers children a more systematic and thoughtful way of making a better choice for themselves. Career information offers factual data about the subjects available, course content, job requirements and the opportunities available. Career guidance enables deep inner exploration to understand their core interests, family influences, aptitude, personality, skills and attitudes. These elements can be combined to derive a personal career profile, which will help the students choose subjects and a career which they are more likely to enjoy and find satisfying in the long term.
Career guidance uses a scientific approach to map an individual’s career profile. It offers students information and support in making choices and leads them from conflict and confusion to clarity about what they truly want to do in life. Most importantly, it gets them actively involved in making a major decision. When they love the work they do, they are motivated, energised and confident, and will seize any opportunity that comes their way.
How to make the most of your session with the career counsellor
Before you take your child to a career counselling expert, be very clear about your goals and your expectations from the session. Here are some questions you should consider.
Analyse your reasons for seeing a career consultant
- Choosing subjects for +2 level
- Do you want your child to continue or change the board of education?
- Does your child need help in deciding the subject combination to take in +2?
- Do you want your decisions to get validated by a professional?
- Choosing subjects for college
- Does your child want to change his stream?
- Does your child want to pursue the same stream but isn’t sure of the specialisation?
- Does she want to know about other available options?
The next step is to prepare yourself for the meeting. Here’s how you can go about it.
Prepare for the meeting
- list the questions you would like to ask
- list the doubts and confusions you have in mind
- stay calm and expect a friendly conversation
- prepare to be honest and open-minded
Prepare your child for aptitude assessments
First of all, as a parent, you should help your child understand the difference between aptitude and interest. Also, explain to her what an aptitude assessment is. It measures a person’s cognitive or thinking skills. The scores indicate how well the child can grasp concepts in various subjects. These inputs are combined with a student’s core interests and career profile to create a career path that is most likely to be suitable for him. Often, there is a high correlation between the two.
What to expect from the session
The session will fulfil one of two purposes:
1. Career information – You will learn about the subjects available, the schools or colleges that offer them, entrance and competitive exams, admission requirements, etc.
2. Career planning – Your child will undergo a formal career planning process. The one-hour session at the career counselling centre will be an introductory session to understand her and her needs. This will help the counsellor explain how he would be able to help her and what tools he would use to help her plan her career path.
What your child should do to make the most of a career guidance session
- During the session, ask your child to keep the following points in mind to make the most of it.
- Make herself comfortable and bring her energy into the session.
- Be open-minded and attentive.
- Be active during discussions. This will give him more ideas and perspectives.
- Be aware of her socio-economic circumstances and be prepared to overcome obstacles.
- Be aware of the future of the career she’s interested in pursuing, the risks involved and the opportunities available.
- Be alert and ready to answer the counsellor’s questions, which will include her interests, confusions, pressures, self-expectations, conflicts, family influences and so on. Her answers will help the counselling expert to understand your child.
- Explain his specific need as it will help the counsellor decide what approach and assessment tools to use.
- Ask questions and clear doubts, no matter how many.
- Listen carefully to the counsellor and focus on the information or guidance she is receiving.
- Not to expect the counsellor to decide for her. She will have to make her own decisions.
- Take notes so that he can go back and reflect on the discussions.
- Be curious about how people have used their skills to enhance their prospects or create new opportunities.
If approaching a top career counsellor isn’t possible, you can also go in for online career counselling for your child.
Ultimately, help your child choose the path best suited for her. Don’t impose your decisions on her in any way. She needs to find her way and carve a niche for herself on her own terms.
About the author:
Written by Arundhati Swamy on 25 April 2018.
Arundhati Swamy is a family counsellor and Head of the Parent Engagement Program at ParentCircle.
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