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Parents have a key role in helping children in their career planning journey

Parents are often burdened with the idea of provisioning for an ideal life and career choice for their children. This often transmits into high level of hand-holding at high school when your child has to choose a stream of study in 11th grade. Parents tend to make these choices based on their own life experiences and beliefs of what can be considered a respectable career and perceptions of what their child’s potential and interest is

At least 50 per cent of respondents who participated in a study of Indian youth by Observer Research Foundation, reported that lack of information about available job opportunities is a significant barrier to finding desirable career opportunities.

Why an early start is helpful?

Parents have a key role in helping children in their career planning journey. However, career planning should not be a journey that starts after the 10th Board exams. The ideal time to start exploring career options would be much earlier.

It goes without saying that career path cannot be chosen at one go. In fact, once chosen, it can change any time down the line, including after taking up the first job. Hence starting early gives your child a chance to understand their strengths and likes and the corresponding career options that are available before they narrow down choices.

Starting early also helps parents plan and estimate costs involved in funding their child’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

Some of the things that you can do to start career planning early are:

Identifying interest areas

‘I don’t know what my child is interested in.’ is a common problem that most teenager’s parents have. The first step here is to try and establish a strong and mature parent-child relationship. This means, ensuring discussions on career planning ends on a positive note.

Most career options require a combination of two or more skills. So keeping all options open at this point of time is important.

Help your child by trying to:

  • Identify extra-curricular activities that the child enjoys;
  • Understand the academic subjects that the child tends to perform well;
  • Provide opportunities to explore new activities or learn new things;
  • Talk to school counsellor and teacher and understand your child’s inherent strengths.

Identifying possible career options through Psychometric Test

The next step is to identify possible career options based on the subjects and activities that you have zeroed in on.

Matching skills and interests to career options can be a daunting task for any parent. This is the phase that most parents get stuck and take career planning advice from well-meaning colleagues and friends.

The decisions that you make for your child today can sway your child’s career path. A more scientific decision-making approach would be to look at online career planning tools like Marg. Marg is an online psychometric test that helps students choose a career option based on the scientific assessment of natural abilities, academic performance, interest areas and personality. At the end of the test, you get a 20-page report showing the students core interest, skills and suggested vocational recommendations.

Researching career options

Once you have a list of possible career options, you and your child need to dig deeper and learn more about these options.

You can look for information like:

  • Skills required;
  • Typical working conditions;
  • Salaries;
  • Growth opportunities;
  • Top colleges

Getting hands-on experience

Children should be encouraged to get hands-on experience through internships, volunteering opportunities, mentorship, etc. This will give them a feel of what the world of work would actually be like.

With a plethora of opportunities available in the modern world, every child can find opportunities suited to them. A focused approach to career enables them to lead a successful and hence a happy life. As a parent, you should let your child know that you are there to aid them in their journey of self-discovery.

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