Career Guidance – what it is, when you need it, and how it helps shape your future


In India, career guidance often comes from our parents, friends and teachers. While they might offer sound advice, it is usually a reflection of their own interests, experiences and preferences. It may not always align with a candidate’s personal goals, ambitions and personalities. In case one takes inappropriate decisions because of wrong advice, years down the line, the individual might end up regretting their career choice.

The major problem here is that the culture of seeking career guidance from a certified expert is still a nascent concept in our country. According to the Bharat Aspirations report released by iDream Careers — which surveyed 5,225 students from Class IX to XII in private and public schools across 16 states — only 13.2% of those surveyed received career guidance from a professional. The rest considered advice from people in their close circle as career guidance. Additionally, the report highlighted that this lack of awareness or receiving guidance through biased channels leads to disappointment in the future.

Despite endless career opportunities in the current employment landscape, a large number of individuals still state the traditional 5 or 6 career options — such as engineering, IT, medicine, teaching or law — as their prime choices. Nobody is there to widen their spectrum of knowledge and help them navigate through careers of today and tomorrow, like data scientist, artificial intelligence specialist, data analyst, cybersecurity expert, social media marketer or cloud computing professional. And this makes us ask if our youth is future-ready?

Before jumping into the importance of career guidance, let’s first understand what it is and how it works.

What is career guidance?

Career guidance is a process that assists individuals in identifying their career goals and pursuing the right path to achieve them. During this process of self-discovery, a career advisor introduces each student to various tools like SWOT and psychometric assessments to make it easier for them to comprehend their areas of interest and skills. It is through these tests that the advisor determines the most suitable career options for an individual. These career experts also provide you necessary resources to help you carve a niche for yourself.

In other words, it starts with assessing your personality and leads to writing resumes and appearing for interviews, while resolving various challenges along the way. Moreover, a career expert constantly holds you accountable for your actions to ensure that you do not deviate from your ultimate goal at any point in time.

When do we need career guidance?

Career counseling should technically begin at the school level. Children from Class IX to XII require adequate support in understanding and strengthening their core areas of interest. Especially after Class X, when they have to pick a stream — arts, science or commerce — it becomes crucial to seek expert guidance because the decision taken at this stage greatly influences future actions.

According to the survey conducted by iDream Careers:

  1. Only 10% of the total 5,225 students surveyed were able to answer basic awareness questions like courses, pathways and years required to pursue their area of interest
  2. Only 4.06% of female & 4.02% of male respondents from Class XII were able to answer advanced questions related to the careers they were interested in
  3. 77.1% of students chose only 6 career clusters out of 41 career choices as their main option under professional career choices
  4. 65% of respondents did not have any backup plan

These numbers are a clear indication of how important it is to make students as well as parents aware of the significant role career guidance plays in shaping the future of the youth. One can also approach a certified advisor or career counselor after Class XII to pick the right course for graduation. And this does not end here, working professionals require guidance at various stages of their career journey in order to grow.

As we evolve, so do our interests. Therefore, there may also come a point where you would want to switch careers, and that’s again when a career coach can be of immense help.

Career guidance can be extremely helpful. How?

  • Self-awareness – The most important benefit of career guidance is its ability to make you aware of your strengths, values, interests, skills and personality in general. Self-awareness brings the needed clarity to your vision. Only when you know what you desire and what you are capable of, can you establish a successful career path.
  • Career exploration – With a career counselor, you get exposed to a wide range of career opportunities, which further allows you to find the best fit for yourself. A counselor conducts various exploration activities so that you can decide whether the career you want to pursue aligns well with your abilities and skills.

For instance, if you are confused between the fields of writing and data analysis, the counselor will talk about the scope, education and skill requirement, role and responsibilities, and salary packages of both, and then will lend a hand in comparing them with your interests, vision and skills. This way, you get to make an informed decision about your future.

  • Setting goals and devising plans – An experienced and trained career expert helps individuals set their career goals and devise effective plans to achieve them. This means that from envisioning what your career journey should be like to proceeding strategically at every step, attaining required training and skills, and finally entering the field with full confidence, you are guided throughout the process. During this process, you are also informed about the institutes, colleges and upskilling courses to pursue to gain a competitive edge over others.
  • Accessing a broader network of people – A career counselor can also aid in networking and connecting with industry veterans. A simple interaction with industry experts can open doors of opportunities for you and help you overcome several obstacles that may otherwise hinder your growth. Besides, career experts also provide numerous networking tips. This way, in one single shot, you get to present yourself as an asset to the potential contacts.

In the present day and age, career guidance is of utmost importance – regardless of where you are in your educational or professional journey. Seeking a career counselor is the first step towards a successful career. But, choose a certified, trained and experienced coach to be your pillar of strength while you navigate through a sea of opportunities.


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