HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
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Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 01, 2013
First Published: 15:21 IST(1/10/2013)
Last Updated: 16:29 IST(1/10/2013)
Candidates must apply for scholarship on time.

The lowdown

In today’s world of ­cut-throat competition it is very important that a person ­chooses a field in which his natural talent and ­abilities are ­utilised the best. It is here that career ­counsellors play the most vital role. With the help of interest inventories and career tests, ­counsellors help senior ­school/­college students in organising their thoughts and ideas about majors, careers and occupations. Some career counsellors take up coaching or go in for higher studies to become therapists. Those interested in the ­business applications of their skills go for ­outplacement, ­corporate ­recruitment and professional headhunting. It is only in the last ten years or so that professional career guidance is being taken seriously and recognised as a means to help ­individuals arrive at an informed career decision. However, there is limited awareness about career planning in large parts of the country, because of which out of the 30 million who ­graduate every year, 20% are unemployed. Appropriate career counselling could fill this gap, hence, there is a huge demand for career counsellors

9am: Going through the ­appointment list
9.30am: Meeting with internal staffs
10am: Answering to email queries
11am: Open house interaction with students and parents
12am: Conduct psychometric ­testing
1pm: Lunch break
1.30pm: Individual face to face career counselling session
4.30pm; Research, gathering ­information, updating and follow up
6pm: Call it a day

The ­payoff
Entry level: Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000 per month; Middle level: Around Rs. 35,000 per month; Senior level (especially if you are self-employed): Sky is the limit

* More than academic ­qualifications, counsellors must have the emotional stability and maturity to handle problems
* Be ­sensitive and perceptive in assessing people
* Should be able to work ­independently or as part of a team
* Well informed and constantly update their information

Getting there
You can do your Class 12 with ­humanities or science and then do your graduation in psychology, ­followed by a postgraduate diploma in guidance and counselling. A lot of people take up career counselling without a good grounding in ­psychology but they are not ­professionally equipped to ­administer psychometric tests, etc. However, anybody who enjoys ­interacting with people, is sensitive to the other’s needs, can empathise with others and is also good at ­collecting detailed information and constantly updating it, can pursue career counselling as a career

Institutes and URLs
* NCERT runs programmes in New Delhi, Ajmer, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and Mysore
* University of Mumbai 
* Karnatak University, Dharwad, Karnataka
Punjab University, Chandigarh
* TISS, Mumbai

In addition, IGNOU, New Delhi and Annamalai University also offer certificate courses in ­guidance and counselling

Pros and cons
* Varied skills and aspirations can lead to a lot of job ­opportunities 
* With little investment one can become self-employed
* Upcoming field, hence low ­awareness level

Encouraging students to start taking counselling at an early stage of their career is a major challenge. A mass awareness campaign is a need of the hour --- Sanjib Kumar Acharya, a career counsellor based in New Delhi

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