Parent Guide: How to help your children make the right career decisions

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Updated on Mar 18, 2021 16:19 IST
Career profiling and assessments are a good way to gauge your child’s latent strengths and interests impartially and have deeper conversations for subject selection, colleges, courses and careers.
By Kunal Sandhu 
Shiksha career

There is a fine line between helping your children make the right career decision and making the decision for them. As Indian parents, we often tend to do the latter. When I interact with a child and parent during a career counselling session, parents sometimes tend to be more participative in the conversation and overpower the child’s opinion. They answer for the child, chime in to responses and try to steer the conversation towards a preconceived direction. I was recently speaking to the parent of a child who had very high scores in Science and an aptitude for a field like Engineering and Medicine, but he showed greater interest towards the Humanities. He wanted to be an Economist. This was a little unsettling for his father, who kept pushing for an ‘Engineering’ degree first as a ‘back up’ and something in Economics later on.

  When it comes to successful professionals, the most important thing is passion. If you are passionate about what you do, you will succeed.  

Here’s how you as parents can help your child make the right career decision. If you are passionate about what you do, you will succeed. And you cannot be passionate about something someone else wants you to do. In today’s overwhelming world, almost half the parents are unaware of the range of career opportunities and options that are available to their children. Most jobs today value non-cognitive or ‘soft skills’ such as behaviour, attitude, inclinations, motivation almost as much as they value ‘aptitude’ and the ability to do the job well. This has changed the world of careers dramatically from the way it was a few decades ago.

Understanding the wide-ranging world of new careers

A good starting point is to learn about the careers that interest your child and understand more about the skills that are required for a certain kind of job role. For example, an Economist is someone who is research orientated but should be a good communicator to be able to break down and explain complex facts to others. You should support your child in discovering where their non-academic strengths lie. Career profiling and assessments are a good way to gauge your child’s latent strengths and interests impartially and have deeper conversations for subject selection, colleges, courses and careers.

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Do not associate an academic subject with the profession alone

Good writing skills can be encouraging for a student who wants to pursue journalism, however, the profession of journalism is a lot more than just writing articles. It requires the professional to be on-ground, in the field, connect with people and build relationships. On the other hand, while Engineering may seem like an obvious choice for a Science student, being an Engineer requires one to be hands-on, and task oriented. It might be better for a Science student with a keen interest for learning to pursue a career in the Pure Sciences stream instead. It is important to be mindful of all aspects of a profession when choosing a career.

Explore your child’s dream career with them

Parents can play a participative role in helping their child learn more about their dream careers. You can help your child learn about relevant careers and opportunities by encouraging them to read about career options that interest them, allow them to do internships, provide job shadowing opportunities and relevant projects. Help them connect with professionals in their field of interest. If your child does not know what they want to do, which is most often the case, then it’s good to start by taking a career assessment or speaking to a career counselor.

Help your child learn about him or herself

As a parent, you want the best for your child and you need to be careful not to compare your child with how their peers are doing or pressure them to pursue your own unfulfilled ambitions. Career Assessments can help your child know their career inclinations based on their behaviours, motivations and interests and map this with the external world of job families and job roles. Knowing about your child’s hobbies and interests and observing how they interact with people around them can tell you a lot about the kind of professional life that they would be inclined towards. A child who has artistic inclinations and brings in creativity into everyday activities could consider a career as a graphic or interior designer or architecture.

Choosing the right career is a daunting task for everyone, let alone for teenagers. It is therefore important to let your child learn as much as they can about a profession that is of interest. It is always a good idea to take a Career Assessment as the first step in order to understand the behaviours, motivations, interests and inclinations towards different job families and job roles and have deeper conversations from there. Most importantly, be patient with your child, choosing the right career is a journey not a race.

About the Author:

Kunal Sandhu

Kunal Sandhu is Founder & CEO of a specialised student assessment company). Kunal is an Electronics Engineer from Delhi Technological University and holds an MBA in Finance & Marketing from XLRI, Jamshedpur. His company CogitoHub uses predictive analytics and machine learning to help students and educators realise their true potential and perform better.

 

 

 

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Amit Sondhi

2 years ago

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