Career Counselling

THE CHOICE OF A CAREER

The choice of a career is one of the most crucial decisions of our lives. Unemployment among the educated is very high in India today. It is largely due to unrealistic professional aspirations of the job seekers who continue to seek out traditional careers where job opportunities are limited. A career is an integrated life-long plan of earning a living. Choosing of a career requires meticulous thought and care and planning. While doing so, you have to keep in mind your goals and a clear idea about the expectations from that career.

THE ROLE OF EDUCATION

Education demands a special kind of alertness to create a judicious mix of what is needed today and what will meet the needs of tomorrow. Higher education seeks to preserve, transmit and advance knowledge. It is one of the most important instruments of change and progress. Quality of education at higher level is more important than mere quantitative expansion. Quality of consumer goods and capital goods can be measured as per standards laid down by those who are vested with authority to decide the quality of those products. But quality of education imparted or received can not be easily measured because determining the quality of a living organism is not so easy as determining the quality of an inanimate object.

The quality of education of a student depends on various factors like the teaching to which he is exposed, the educational facilities and environment available in the institution of his studies and his own temperament and approach to studies.

It is observed by experts that learning takes place when there is a need, drive or motive and an appropriate goal, the attainment of which would satisfy the motive. When this component is found missing, the student does not show any significant progress in learning the requirements of the course. It is not in the field of education alone that the factor ‘motivation’ is important. It is given high emphasis in the fields such as industry, management, leadership development programmes, personality development and human resources development.

Motivation is the key to better performance. As an ancient proverb says, ’If you meet a hungry man and give him a fish, he will not be hungry, but if you teach him how to fish, he will never be hungry.’ This is the crux of the motivational strategies. So also is the quality of imagination. Albert Einstein, the famous scientist once said, ’Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ Creativity is unleashed imagination. It is the ability to see alternatives and solutions that others do not see. As emphasised in the Korean proverb, ‘All the beads in the world won’t make a necklace until you string them together,’ likewise, unless all the skills, capacities and competence are linked together through motivational string, your performance and achievements will never be actualized.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CAREER?

Selection of a suitable career needs meticulous care, thought and proper planning, keeping in mind one’s goals, and a clear idea of the expectations from that career. Before deciding on the choice of a career, you should have a clear notion of your interest, aptitude, ambition, scope and qualifications. Before selecting a career, you have to consider your interest in it. You should ask yourself whether you really like it or whether you are going to like it or whether you would lose your interest in it after some time. Your aptitude for the career is also equally important. So also is your ambition. ‘Not failure, but low ambition is a crime.’ However, ambition need to be toned down in consonance with the scope in a particular field and your inherent qualities. Without ambition, you can not climb the ladder of success and attain anything in your life. To find out the scope in a particular area of interest is also of very great importance. You should see whether it is a new field. If it is a new field, ask yourself whether it is growing. If it is a growing one, the corollary is that you will also grow with it as an employee. In a growing field, typically there is an exploitation to your advantage. Then you have to consider your qualifications for the career chosen. As you are aware, each career requires an amount of theoretical knowledge and skill which are gained through education and training.

SEARCH FOR HIGHLY PAID JOBS

It was at first the era of Indian Civil Services and it was a gleam in the eyes of every graduate to become an I.A.S. or I.P.S Officer or one of the other All India Services. At another stage doctors were very much in demand in society. Medical profession was not only very highly paying but also enhanced the social status of a person. Then there was another time when there came up a sudden demand for Engineers and most school leaving students wanted to join one of the Engineering Colleges or IITs. Today the trend is changing rapidly. With the era of high technology upon us, it is the dream of most of the young people to get absorbed in highly paid jobs. It encompasses anyone from the ambitious 16-year old school leaving student wanting to get a competitive head-start to the frustrated 25-year old employed youth wishing to take an early career change or improvement decisions.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU

Today for every subject studied, there are a myriad career options, both in the organized as well as in the unorganized sector. New jobs and new career options are being created everyday. Tremendous growth in the technology in all spheres of life has ushered in an array of career opportunities in almost every type of industry. Medical technology, advertising, computers, science and engineering have all advanced to such an extent that a multitude of job options have sprung up, today. The demand for qualified professionals is only growing and is not expected to diminish in the near future. In this scenario, it is apt to review all career options and make decisions based on what is right for you. Besides problems and predicaments faced by the young, there are pressures of conforming to social norms and parental expectations. Parents by and large tend to make their children objects of their ambition. Career charting for children begins even before the child is born. Normally career planning is done on the basis of what the parents perceive as the scope in that particular field. As a result, an enormous amount of pressure is brought to bear on the young till they finish their higher secondary. At this stage, there is a sudden respite. Those children who have been able to live up to the expectations of their parents are idolised and those who have not are consoled. The offshoot of this is the sudden fall in motivation accompanied by a feeling of despondency among the majority. This problem is aggravated by the unemployment situation.

There is also the lack of training institutions and a dearth of career guidance. It is also dominated by heredity and material considerations. As a result, a career decision is made on the basis of chance rather than choice. Never has it therefore been as important as it is today for the young to identify their interests and abilities and work towards a career that matches their talents. With the advent of liberalization and the opening of the Indian economy to the international world, countless job opportunities are being created not only in our country, but also abroad. New jobs and new career specialisations are coming up every day. You have to be well aware of all these factors before choosing a course of study.

Careers can be classified into three major sectors – (I) careers in the organised sector including Govt. and Private, (ii) Professional career defined by specialized knowledge, craft and skills where advancement comes in with the growth of skills and reputation and (iii) the informal or unorganized sector of entrepreneurship of creating a product or service of value where advancement comes in the form of increase in turnover or profits.

A recent employment study indicates a shift in the concept of employment. Job opportunities in the organised sector is showing a diminishing trend and more over, there will be fiercer competitions and a greater demand for professional and entrepreneurial skills. As stereotyped jobs go out of the window, young career seekers are to be pragmatic. In addition, one needs to acquire some basic job skills essential for every career. Almost every position today requires a basic level of computer literacy, though language proficiency is also equally important. You should have verbal and written communication skills besides having good interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team.

How to Get a Good Job

CRUCIAL FACTORS FOR YOUR SUCCESS!

There are numerous career opportunities with potential to provide a myriad specialisations. Yet there is unemployment among the educated youth. The reasons for this can generally be summed up as (i) they have no information or awareness of the job opportunities available and (ii) a substantial number among them are not employable. In today’s competitive world, and with liberalization, the demand in all spheres of employment is for competent men and women with sharp problem solving abilities and appropriate marketable skills.

In the changing world scenario, how to find a better job, a rewarding job, a job that will make your dream come true? With the competitive forces of the employment market having become the main consideration governing the career and life strategy today, you have to be led not by your personal vision or mission but by the dehumanising external world pressures of survival and status. In today’s world, there is no magical wand to transform your future life and career. But there are certain basic, but crucial factors that are strong determinants of your success.

PERSONAL VISION

In today’s competitive environment, confidence and hard work are an absolute necessity to get ahead. When you are strongly motivated through a personal vision, mission or purpose, you will have a lot of confidence and drive and the capacity and willingness to undertake large quantities of workload without complaint. Those without this strong internal drive have never been able to reach any level of prominence in any field.

Along with a sense of purpose, you should have a high degree of professional and interpersonal skills if you want to be successful in your chosen career. Success in any field comes only through a process of interaction and communication with others

INFORMATION HANDLING SKILLS

The third imperative for a successful career is good information handling skills. In today’s world, one of the key abilities for survival and growth, is your ability to collect, organise, store, retrieve, and use information effectively. Your skill in using computers and electronic communication devices is a critical aspect, irrespective of the area of your work. With the majority of jobs increasingly shifting to the white-collar variety, those with poor information handling ability are doomed to failure.

THE WORLD OF NEW CAREERS

CAREER OPTIONS PLENTY

In the recent past, a youngster had hardly any career choices to choose from. In contrast, today’s teenager has a whole range of career options to choose from. A degree is no longer the focus of today’s youth. It is possible for you to pursue a career in almost any field. But, remember, any field you choose is competitive. You should have a single-minded determination along with a basic talent and aptitude to reach the top of the ladder in your chosen field.

The educational spectrum is crowded with umpteen courses in every conceivable field. Most of these courses are practical and job oriented. Such is the demand for many professionals that a lot of the outgoing students find jobs through campus recruitment.

Fashion, an hitherto unexplored field, has become one of the hotshot professions. Modelling is no longer a hobby, but a career choice. A lot of short term diploma courses are available in specific areas like pottery, catering, ceramics, interior decoration, interior design, furniture designing. Also gaining in popularity are courses in Journalism, mass communication and advertising. With the media opening up the way it has, you can do courses in photography, cinematography and video editing.

In the field of science, you have the option of courses like microbiology, Fisheries, Agriculture, nursing, laboratory technology, rubber and plastic technology or a degree in environmental economics. A diploma or degree in sales and marketing is very much in demand with Indian business becoming more market oriented and customer friendly. Hotel Management, Travel and Tourism are options open to students not too academically oriented but are looking for glamorous jobs. A career in computers is of course the ‘in’ thing in the life of today’s generation. This is one profession that you have a competitive edge. Today with the emphasis of globalization, the Master in Computer Applications and the M. Tech. in Computer Science have replaced the IAS as the preferred choice for the academic topper.

Studies in arts and humanities like history, geography, political science, philosophy, psychology, economics, languages, arts, music etc can open up avenues in fields as diverse as journalism and advertising to foreign trade, management or the civil services.

There is now a widening scope for a range of careers which have been ignored for decades. They include careers in archeology, musicology, photography, modelling, advertising, health and beauty care etc. In these fields, there is a wide gap between demand and availability of skilled professionals.

The Hardest Part Of Job Search (And How To Deal)

One of the hardest parts of job search is waiting for the offer. You toiled over your written materials, secured the interview, and felt that everything went really well . Now, the waiting game begins.

The interview ends with someone saying, “You will be hearing from us in the next week or so.” They may as well say, “We are travelling to mars and will call you when we get back.”

So, you wait. You try exercising, you try puttering around the house, you try reading – anything to distract you from WAITING for that phone to ring. It’s like that first crush you had – you thought, When will they call you back? WILL they call me back?

How long does it take to get back from MARS?

What can you do? Stop waiting. Act like the interview never happened. Keep looking. Keep researching.

You need to understand that companies are busy. What seems like an eternity to you is a blink of an eye to them. They may not feel the sense of urgency that you do.

After a week, if you have not heard from them, you are allowed to check in! Find out the preferred way that they like to be contacted (you can do this during the interview), and then check in.

You can say something like, “Hi there, I interviewed with you last week for the ___ position. I was just checking in to see where you were in the hiring process. Any updates regarding the opportunity?”

Hopefully, you can get an update. If you do not, wait another week. Send some social currency – an article that relates to the company in some way. Keep in touch. If weeks go by and you hear nothing, it’s time to move on. Get over the crush and find a new one.

Waiting can be the hardest part of job search, but with the correct strategy, it wont take as long as you think to come back from Mars.

Need more help? Check out our courses!

Want more? Check out our individual career courses! Learn all you need to know about job search, interviewing, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, and so much more.

Women, Break the Career Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling is a concept used to describe a situation where is it very difficult and sometimes impossible for women to get to higher managerial positions in an organization. This happens irrespective of their qualification and experience. The qualifications and experience you have as a woman may be very crucial to the betterment of your organization and if you really want satisfaction from your job it is vital to break that glass ceiling.

Find out what clicks in your organization: you should try and understand what are the needs of your organization. The skills required at higher levels of management are a reflection of the mission, vision and goals your organization has set out. Try and find out if there is a fit between what you have and what the organization needs. You can start by analyzing the qualities the higher-ups possess and the skill set they possess. Compare that to what you have and find out where you can improve or whether you have an advantage already.

Convert your efforts into goals: once the groundwork is in place you will understand the direction you have to take in order to get to the top. This is where you will have to set clear goals about your career and start communicating your intentions to your supervisor and boss. Your higher-ups are in a position to give you good advice regarding the type of skills you will need to build. They are also in a better position to give you feedback regarding your performance. Your goals should be clear and you should also have some way to quantify the extent to which you have achieved them.

Getting a Mentor: if you have a well-connected mentor you might smash the glass ceiling in one go. This is a very effective way to get that elusive promotion. A mentor can be a key person when it comes to introducing you to the right people and giving you relevant information. You can also get useful feedback on your performance and areas for improvement from a good mentor. Mentoring depends to a large extent on the culture of the organization. An open culture that encourages new ideas is likely to have more mentoring and less problems with regard to the glass ceiling.

Networking: in today’s connected world, it is essential to know the right people and have a network of contacts. Your network of personnel within the organization may help you get insider information regarding the goings-on at all levels in the company. You will also have a horizontal integration of information in the organization rather than just restricting yourself to one department only. The best opportunities for networking come in inter-departmental teams. You should be pro-active and expand your network outside the organization as well. You might just find the right opportunity at a competing organization.

Resumes that Punch Through

While you may think you are the perfect person for a job, the only real chance you get to convince the hiring manager of that is a 15-30 second glance at the resume you have sent in for consideration. The bigger the company, the less time you will get as they will be flooded with resumes and only keep the ones that immediately stand out as exceptional.

So, how do you make sure your resume is exceptional? Here are a few tips:
Have a Catchy Cover Letter

The first thing a hiring manager will see when they look at your resume is your cover letter. You want this to be short, sweet and to the point while also making a strong statement about you that catches their attention and makes them want to read more about you.

Objective Vs. Personal Profile

When a hiring manager is looking at your resume, they are not looking to see what you want to do with your life, but what you can do for their company.  A mistake many people make is putting their ‘objective’ on the resume. Instead, put a personal profile in this space that will let them know how you can become an asset to their company.

Don’t Take Long

It is always important to keep in mind that the hiring manager has to slog through a lot of resumes. Make their job easier. Keep all the points in your resume short and simple. Make sure they point out all of your qualifications and pertinent job history, but don’t go into detail. If you can use bullet points to highlight your skills and jobs, it is much more appealing to the eyes.

Be Honest

While you may want to talk yourself up a little bit on a resume, don’t go overboard. Many people embellish their work history or accomplishments on resumes. You don’t want to do this. If they check your stories out and find out you are lying, you may end up on the blacklist for jobs all over town.

Keep it Neat

Before you ever send your resume out, make sure it’s neat and presentable. You don’t want anything to look uneven, crumpled or messy. Make sure the font and font size you choose for your resume are easy to read and large enough to avoid causing the reader to strain to read it. Also, read and reread the text. There is nothing that will get your resume tossed in the trashcan faster than a bunch of typos.