Seeking the advice of an academic or career counselor has become common practice today. However, students need to make sure they ask all the right questions, finds Sherin Mammen
1 have a diploma in fashion designing and want to set up my own boutique. How should I go about pursuing my dream?”This is just one of the many queries career counselors receive on a regular basis. In fact, most newspapers devote an entire page of their supplements for career guidance or educational counseling. Look up the yellow pages and you'll find numerous entries of counselors, with career counselors being the most prominent. The rise in career options and educational courses has led to an increase in demand for career and education counseling. But how do counselors really make a difference? Shouldn't a professional qualification, such as an MBA in finance or an engineering degree in computers, automatically suggests career options? "Most students choose careers based on academic grades, not on their strengths or passion. Since we spend most of our adult life at the workplace, it is important to find engaging jobs that will make us productive and emotionally competent," says Srividya Iyer, Head Counselor, Career Guidance, Young Buzz India Ltd.
According to Srividya, career counseling is the process of facilitating and empowering students towards making the right career decisions. Professional counselors use psychometric assessments to test the intelligence and aptitude of students."The process is in-depth and designed to provide the kind of motivation that can come only from a genuine understanding of why certain careers are likely to suit you better than others," adds Suchitra Surve, Director of Growth Centre (I) Pvt Ltd. A career counselor helps you interpret your profile and identify career options for you; if you are a student, your parents might be requested to accompany you. At the end of the session, you will receive a report that explains suitable career options and their job descriptions. Most counselors also hold follow-up sessions for you if required.
THE RIGHT COUNSELLOR
Remember, career or academic counselors only initiate a process; the onus is on you to take it forward and achieve your goal. Also, make sure your counselor is not taking you for a ride. An advertisement guaranteeing that perfect job, salary and growth prospects could often be misleading. So if you are thinking of going to a counselor, start by asking the right questions.