While discussing a lesson on urban livelihoods that deal with various professions people opt in the city areas, I asked the students about their career choice. The answers were on expected lines. Majority preferred conventional professions such as Medical, Accounting, Management and Engineering. However like a silver lining in the dark clouds, few students expressed their desire to go for non-conventional fields such as space research, animation, artificial intelligence, fashion technology and journalism.
The career choice a student makes is vital for his entire life. When a student completes his high school education (O Level), he has to make an important decision on the area of study in the higher secondary ( A level). Whether the students select Science, Commerce or Humanities for their higher secondary level, it will have an impact on their future professional studies in the university.
Unlike the older generation, present day students have hundreds of courses and professions to choose. When we were in schools, either parents or students have any idea of career selection. Moreover, the choices were limited. Join the available courses whether you like or not and join a job whether you have interest or not were the system prevailed those days.
Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Career
Before we discuss, how to select a professional course that suits you and leads you to a successful career, let us see some wrong ways adopted by parents and students while selecting a professional course.
• Parent’s likes and dislikes: The preference should be given to the interest and passions of students and not the likes and dislikes of parents. Many parents force career choices on their children that may not suitable for their aptitude. Some parents try to fulfill their unsuccessful ambitions through their children. Once a mother of a high school student told me that, even though she had brilliant academic records, due to financial constraints she couldn’t achieve her dream to become a doctor. Now she wants to make her son a doctor. Unfortunately the child has no passion for medial field instead he prefers aircraft engineering that the mother vehemently oppose.
• Without aptitude and skill: Secondly, don’t go for a career that you do not have an aptitude, skill and interest. I know many students who made wrong career choices end up in professions that do not match with their interests and skills. They became frustrated and unhappy throughout their life. Some students who landed in professions that they may not like, quit after a short period of struggle wasting valuable money and time.
• Blindly following others: Don’t select a course or profession because your siblings, classmates or friends have opted. There is a tendency to join the bandwagon. Some students say I want to go for software engineering because my cousin successfully completed the course and now joined a Multi-National Company earning a handsome salary. Each individual is unique and have diverse skills, aptitude and interests.
• For false Pride: Some parents select professions for their children that enhance their dignity. Choosing careers for the sake of vanity is an extremely wrong step. I know many parents who force their children to join engineering courses whereas their children were struggling for a pass mark in Mathematics at school. Mathematical skills are essential for engineering courses and the students who joined only because of their parent’s compulsion finally ends up in failure.
• Without professional consultation: A wrong career choice may be due to the lack of professional advice and information they needed at the time to make the right one. In western countries, when a student enters high school, has to undergo an aptitude and skill tests under the guidance of an expert career counselor. Even though career counselling facilities and aptitude tests are available, few parents and students make use of such opportunities.
Tips for a successful career selection
• Know your strengths and weakness: The first and foremost factor in career selection is knowing yourself. Skills, aptitudes, passions and personality type are the crucial factors in career selection. For example, a person with introvert personality do not opt for a career in sales or management because of the lack of inter- personal and communication skills.
• An aptitude test can help you to make right job choices and help you choose a career path that match with your aptitude, interests, skills, strengths, values, and personality. Parents can seek the help of an expert career counsellor to administer the test.
• Career fairs and Seminars: Attend career fairs and career guidance seminars that give you an insight into various career options and its requirements. Some schools and colleges conduct such career fairs and seminars.
• Financial Expenses: While selecting a professional course, we must aware of the financial requirements for the said course. Today higher education is highly expensive and the financial encumbrances are a matter of concern. I know many students who went abroad for higher studies, struggling to pay for their education, boarding and lodging expenses. They were working for part time jobs to finance their education, however the expenses were enormous that, they failed meet both ends.
• Genuine Courses: Overseas education is a fabulous idea, however due precaution must be taken before you start. Recently we came across many cases of bogus universities and courses offered overseas that do not have recognition. Don’t fall prey to such rackets to ruin your future. It is vital to approach genuine education and migration consultants for fulfilling your foreign education dreams. When you join a course join a course in your home country, inquire whether the course is recognized by the education ministry and relevant authorities.
The proverb, ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure’ is not only applicable in the case of selecting a partner but also choosing a right career. Therefore, take the decision after due consideration of all the above mentioned factors to reach your dream career.