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Education|08 May 2022

An unconventional guide to career exploration

Written by Jitin Chawla
Eminent career counsellor and a founder of Centre for Career Development with more than 21 years of experience in mentoring students accross the world.

Tips to identify the best career options for your child

Only a handful of people are fortunate enough to know exactly what they want to do with their lives. Most of us struggle and try multiple avenues before we find our perfect match. A career is an important part of life and parents are bound to be anxious when it comes to career options for their children. Career planning cannot be done overnight, it’s an ongoing process and needs constant time and effort. Exploring diverse career options is the best investment plan you can make for your child. There are certain tips you can follow to help you figure out how to choose a career for your child.

In this article, I will highlight a 5 step strategy that will help you maximise the chances of identifying a successful career for your child.

How to choose the right career?

Research, research and research

I cannot emphasise this enough. The more you research career options and share insights with your children, the more clarity you will get. Trust me, it’s not easy. In the beginning, you will go through random websites with no idea what you are looking for. My advice is Don’t Stop! Encourage your child to explore new and emerging career options and share links, books or articles with them. For instance, if their field of interest is biology, research career options like bioinformatics, drug development, and other healthcare professions such as a chiropractor, instead of picking conventional roles like a doctor.

Take them through career videos, online courses and educational blogs

Career videos help visualise diverse career options and the work environment in different professions. Motivate your children to watch videos of career experts and eminent personalities on YouTube and social media platforms. Enrol them in online courses on portals like Simplilearn, edX, Udemy and Google Digital Garage. Boost their momentum by taking them through educational videos and blogs, including TED Talks, Josh Talks and The School of Life. Use these avenues to keep them up to date with emerging career options.

Experience ‘A day in the life of…’

Identify professionals who are high achievers and can serve as role models for your children. Contact them via emails, social media or word of mouth. Let your child spend a day with them and, if possible, at their workplace. Also, broaden your network by talking to people from diverse career backgrounds. Analysing people from different fields will give you and your child first-hand practical insights into various careers.

Seek internships for experiential learning

This step is majorly applicable to students beyond 9th Grade.

Internships will help them explore different careers and add to their resume and professional profile. You can consult internship portals like Internshala, Letsintern, LinkedIn, and Twenty19.

Relevant work experience will help your children secure a good job, as well as admission in top global universities. In its new education policy, the Indian government has also emphasised practical experience and vocational training to create a skilled workforce for the future.

Invest in summer camps, boot camps and career fairs

Many national and international organisations and institutions organise summer camps, training camps and career fairs to publicise new and emerging career fields.

Some of them are mentioned below:

National Camps:

  • EDII summer camp
  • IIM-Jammu
  • TYE programme by TiE global
  • IISER-Bhopal

International Camps:

  • Boot camps organised by The University of British Columbia
  • Harvard Extension School Bootcamps
  • Westfield Academy International Summer Camp
  • SuperCamp, Singapore

These prominent institutions can help your children improve their knowledge and develop skills relevant to the future marketplace.

Don’t focus solely on grades

Usually, we don’t give any thought to our children’s future until they reach high school; our only focus is on their grades. Career exploration and holistic development – including interpersonal and communication skills, and creative, technical and problem-solving aptitude – is just as, if not more, important than academics. So, don’t neglect diverse avenues of your child’s growth. 

You should map out a career path and an action plan to achieve your child’s aspirations early on and avoid confusion and career transitioning issues later. Career exploration broadens children’s exposure to the world they are about to enter soon. Along with improving their knowledge, it helps them connect the dots between their education and career and motivates them to lead a successful life.

The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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