Aryan, an adolescent doing his XI from the stream of Science was a bright and competitive adolescent who used to score between 85-90%. He was keen on taking up Medicine after XII and specialize only in Cardiology and was preparing diligently for the same. However, he did not get through the entrance exam!
Aryan was devastated and did not know what to do. Never in his wildest dreams had he thought that he wouldn’t become a doctor, one day. Parents and relatives tried consoling him and advised him to try for some other course.
But he had never thought beyond medicine and didn’t know what he was good at. Then his close friend suggested an aptitude test which would help him know his abilities, his interests, his skill areas, intelligence and even his personality and help him chart out his future career path. With nothing to lose, Aryan went about sincerely doing the aptitude test and realised his own potential to do other things and also realised that he could yet be part of the medical field but in a different capacity. He is now into Hospital Management!
Thankfully for Aryan there was a friend to show him the right path and make him understand the importance of aptitude testing and career guidance, an important part of career planning. But not every one of us would be so lucky. There have been students who just drift into some course without checking if that particular career suits them or not. Later they realize that this is not the career that they are cut out for. But sometimes it is too late by the time this realization and awareness dawns.
There are several incorrect factors that generally influence a career choice.
- Comparison with peers/ siblings.
- Glamour attached to certain careers.
- Peer influence and opinions.
- Career chosen on the basis of friend’s decision or pressure.
However these are not the factors to be focused upon. One needs to take one’s self into consideration while making career choices. One must understand that career planning is not like a game of darts but is like the game of chess where you have to think before making each and every move. To explain further, planning a career is like assembling the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The key to effective Career Planning is to fit the pieces correctly.
Career planning is a step by step process…..
Step 1: Know yourself…..
First and foremost is to know your own strengths and weaknesses which is essential for one to make an informed decision. This would include understanding one’s Intelligence, Aptitudes, Interest, Personality, Skills, Learning Styles and so forth. Good career planning is a match between all these.
Step 2: Shortlist : Narrow down to careers you are really interested in…
From the vast plethora of options that one has, narrow down to those that you may have thought that you want to pursue such as medicine, psychology, hotel management, or fashion designing and so on and so forth. Make a note of all these different careers that come to your mind which you may want to do and later shortlist them.
Step 3: Investigate…
Exploring and trying to research the options that you have narrowed down on is the next step.
Here, parents can play a huge role. Parents can help their child research various career options, to help make an informed decision. Direct your child to family, friends, or colleagues who are in fields in which your child has an interest. “Informational interviewing” with people can be extremely helpful at this stage!
Investigation should include finding out in detail about the course itself, course contents, the institutes offering that particular course, its eligibility, cut offs of the past year and other such relevant details. Updating one’s self about the current career trends is important which can be done by reading career newspapers, doing summer Jobs / internships, visiting a career counselor and so forth.
Step 4: Match
Match your interests, skills and aptitudes with possible career options. Have top three career choices in place. You should have a plan ‘A’, Plan ‘B’ and plan ‘C’ ranked according to your interests. Create a Road Map for each of your top career choices. This will be like a guide to you for further work.
Step 5: Take action
Taking action includes zeroing down on your final choice of career. Define your plan by setting:
- short term goals [e.g. visiting XYZ institute today.. ]
- long term goals [e.g. Visiting all institutes and checking pros and cons of each to decide where to take admission finally to help you reach your final goal.