Changing Career landscapes making the need of Career Counselors inevitable

We are witnessing tectonic shifts in the number of options that are increasingly dotting the career landscape today. With an unprecedented growth in new technologies and opportunities, particularly those related to Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, career choices are being redefined.

At present, there are multiple career choices in various fields like event management, medicine, commerce, social media management, climate change research, culinary arts, urban planning, engineering and so much more. Resultantly, students are caught in a predicament when it comes to choosing their career. This decision brings them to a critical juncture where one wrong turn can be disastrous for them.

With so many avenues for education opening up and expanding like never before, we badly need more career counselors in our country. A report by “The Hindu” states that as of 2016, India had only 500 counselors for 1.5 million students! The serious dearth of career counselors should immediately be confronted.

The need of the hour is to have counselors who have an extensive knowledge-base about emerging courses, national and international curricula and the roadmaps of courses in different countries. They should be able to skillfully communicate with those who need guidance – be it a student or a working professional. They can play a role in thwarting the chance of students taking up careers on the basis of inadequate knowledge, societal pressures or parents' expectations.

Especially in our country, we see that parents are the ones pulling the strings for their children when it comes to taking career decisions. The ideas grazing on their minds squelch the possibility of taking up any course other than engineering or medicine. Ultimately, they splurge on educational degrees that might not even be suited to the interests of their children. This could raze down their dreams and consequently be detrimental to their life goals.

There have been various instances where wrong decisions have led to dire consequences for a lot of people. Their work environment tires them out and they struggle to find a genuine interest in what they do. This can have a toll on their performance and also send their stress levels shooting up. They start having feelings of jealousy for their peers who enjoy their work a lot more. This arises if you don't choose your career wisely.

Students may think of themselves as a huge mystery and find it inexplicably hard to tap into their inner resources and bring out what they're truly good at. This is where career counselors enter the picture. They help you identify the talent hidden within you, the potential you hold in yourself and your ability to perform certain tasks and carry out responsibilities. They can gauge your emotional balance as well as your social skills according to which a vague idea about your skills can be formed.

This process is expedited with the help of aptitude or IQ tests. Such examinations help to establish your capacity to do certain kinds of work. They clear the fog over apprehensions regarding your strengths and weaknesses and provide you with an overall objective evaluation. This is further assisted with the help of other assessment tools and psychometric testing. Career guidance is extended by mapping the candidate's skills with the competency and skill sets of various job profiles.

After these tests, they usually prepare comprehensive reports on your performance along with statistical figures and pie charts for comparison. They'll also provide you books for reference so that you can broaden your understanding.

These counselors will help you find your optimal career and the path you'll have to traverse to attain that goal. They can administer a reality check on you that makes you introspect on your skills and abilities.

Usually what happens is that parents' minds are often clouded over with misconceptions about certain fields and careers. They believe that only a government job can be secure. Even financial problems can act as a major hurdle that could discourage good choices.

Career counselors can dispel those notions and initiate a healthy conversation with them that addresses the need to make good career choices. Since they exercise a kind of authority, they can act as a mediator and recommend all the steps that parents should be taking for their child so that they wouldn't be standing in the way of the right-fit career choices of their children.

India can no longer stand as a bystander as unclear and unrealistic educational goals build up academic stress and break down the self-efficiency of its future flag-bearers, the youth. A steady stream of career counselors should flow in with the increase in the number of students. So there is an urgent need to evolve a mechanism that annuls the threat of having to be a spectator of a generation that's aimlessly leading a fruitless existence.