A career that matters through character and self-leadership

Sunrise

Career counseling 1.0: Knowing and doing

Let’s begin with the basics. To be efficient counselors, we acquire the relevant qualifications, pursue continuing professional development and gain experience. In our role, we motivate students to explore their interests and values; guide them to acquire and develop hard and soft skills needed in the labor market, in different job roles, in various industries, in diverse cultures; we suggest techniques for job search and ways to portray their skills on their CV; we give tips on how they can brand themselves and express their strengths in the selection interview; we provide information about vacancies and internship opportunities; and we arrange networking events and career fairs so they meet with potential employers.

Career counseling 2.0: Towards becoming

All that is good. Let’s proceed with the essentials now. Academic qualifications are necessary, competencies are required, strengths and talents are indispensable, personal and professional growth must be continuous for career progression and success. Students should assume their responsibilities. But what is more? There must be more. There is more.

In every session with a student, I feel the responsibility of my role growing heavier and can’t help wondering what is the essence of career counseling for the person beyond the surface? Having the skills in demand? Knowing about the labor market? Networking? Getting a job and eventually making a career? All that is necessary, no doubt, but is it enough for a career that matters to the individual, the group, the community and society at large? Is that all it takes for the person to find meaning and purpose at work and celebrate it for self and others? Is this the process for becoming a good leader? Is this the path to travel in the pursuit of a personal calling?

A career that matters contributes to a life that matters for self and others. But it’s an Everest apart from professional success. As career counselors we should be there to contribute our share in guiding students towards the right paths during their ascent to the Mount. Essentially, we should actively fertilize the ground so they can engage in self-awareness; create opportunities to enhance personal qualities; inspire good effort and ignite meaningful persistence. Let’s be present in encouraging good character and self-leadership potential to thrive.

We will continue on that. Thanks for reading, Sophia P.