India's top Career Counselor
Post result time is the most taxing period for many students. This is the time when they have to take a prudent decision about their career. NNE has always endeavored to provide best possible counseling services to the students through its dedicated career counseling section. At this juncture we thought to provide you the views and guidance of an eminent career counselor.
Pervin Malhotra is India's top career counselor. Her immensely popular career query columns in the print and electronic media reach an estimated audience of 50 million. She is the Executive Director, CareerGuidanceIndia (CARING). Her guidance has helped in shaping many futures. In this interview, she talks about how to select a particular career, the most important skill a student should possess, clears the perennial dilemma of college over subject or subject over college and much more.
The following are the excerpts from NNE's conversation with Pervin Malhotra.
» In our education system, marks are very important. If I don’t get good marks in say, mathematics, but, I want to work as a media planner, how do I judge my skills?
A career in Media planning does require a considerable amount of number crunching and mathematical skills, but I believe that if you are very keen and focused on your goal, you will work hard to overcome the obstacles in your path. Of course, you do require a basic level of understanding of subjects, like mathematics, in this case, but if you are interested in a particular field, your passion can compensate for your lack of qualification to some extent.
» One skill needed in every / almost all professions? » College over subject or subject over college, what would you suggest? Continuing, would you recommend that a student drop a year?
One skill needed in almost all professions has to be communication. Of course, the extent may vary. For example, in a profession like that of a research scientist, you may not require to communicate as much as in customer facing professions like sales, marketing or teaching, but even a researcher requires to communicate his findings to his peers and share the benefits of his findings with the public. Even for professionals like medical practitioners, communicating with patients, and understanding their problems is important.
» Now, with class 10 and class 12 results coming out, soon, what would you suggest to a 16-year old child, who is on the verge of choosing a career & does not know himself too well? The decision he takes might be influenced by peers, or someone whose sense of judgment he trusts, but it may not necessarily be right for him?
For a 16 year old, decisions taken are largely influenced by his peers. But, there are over 3,500 professions, and what may be right for one, might not be right for the other. It helps to be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. What s/he can do is make a list of his interests, likes and dislikes, ask questions like “do I like to study a particular subject? Do I like sports more than studies? Do I like to take part in extra-curricular activities?” Then, on the basis of that list, try finding careers related to one’s likes and aptitude. For example, if someone likes to write, he can find careers that involve writing and enroll for a course related to that, like mass communication, for instance. Apart from this, there are some self-assessment tools available in the market, but the important thing to keep in mind about these tools is to ensure that the test is a bonafide one and the norms are duly validated. For instance, we, at Career Guidance India (CARING), have an excellent tried and tested tool that can help students assess their aptitude and career interests.
Also, in case a student is not sure about what s/he wants, it helps to choose a stream that will keep the maximum number of options open. For example, dropping a subject like mathematics directly closes the options like engineering, BBS, BCom (Hon), BBE, MCA etc.
Your college tenure will stretch over 3-4 years. In case you are not sure about which specific career to choose, join a good college keep your eyes and ears open, and explore your options during that time. But, in case a student is very sure about his career, it should always be subject over college. That’s what will take him to his desired goal.
Personally, I would never recommend someone to drop a year. One year is a long time. One might start off with enthusiasm, but sustaining that enthusiasm and zeal throughout the year is very tough.
It might start with simple things like waking up late, wasting time on the internet, task stretching, and before you realize, the year is up! Also, I believe that the young should be with the young. I would rather suggest the student to enroll for some course and keep preparing side-by-side.
TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE