As it would be simple to choose his trade or profession if there were a recipe! You know, the famous crystal ball that shows the green path leading directly to professional nirvana?
Unfortunately, no guaranteed method to make a choice of education or career. Nor does it is possible to predict the future with assurance.
When it comes time to make a decision and plan, however, it is better to prepare and learn, rather than leaving it to chance.
Certain practices can help you make the best choice. Guidance counselors are experts in decision-making and career choices and can help you in this process source of uncertainty but also of hope.
Personally, this is precisely the fact that such steps are turned toward the future and its possibilities made me decide to become a guidance counselor.
That, and the fact that I love to help people. You follow the guide?
The funnel or the 4 stages of decision-making
Imagine a giant funnel where you verifies all useful information career choice: your interests, your aspirations, your school performance, your work experience, the employment opportunities in various fields, the opportunities for training … everything.
This is the idea of orientation funnel model (ADVP or activation of vocational and personal development) where, from a vast amount of information, we gradually reduced the choices. The four steps are:
- Exploration: get to know and explore the environmental and contextual factors
- Crystallization: classify and categorize information and choose the best options
- Specification: prioritize these options and select your plan A
- Completion: take action!
In short, you make an inventory of your resources and constraints personal and environmental. Then you analyze this information by doing the synthesis and evaluate your options to make a choice and prepare your action plan.
Like any pattern, it is a bit simplistic, of course. In fact, it is not uncommon to make round trips between steps. Each guidance process is single, as
Every professional and personal journey east.
I present here a simple model that explains in a simple way what a guidance process and above all the great elements within it.
Throughout this 4 step process, two types of information will be collected and evaluated:
- The elements of self-knowledge (interests, personality, needs, values, abilities, skills, aspirations …)
- The external factors or environmental (family, friends, financial resources, public policy, labor market, geographical location …)
In this second category, we also find all the information on training programs and occupations.
Do you know? The famous self-knowledge
How to choose when you have difficulty naming their own needs or the personal resources on which to rely?
Getting to Know allows you to draw a self-portrait and explore some of the criteria from which you can then make a choice. Better you know yourself, the more likely that the decision suits you.
- Are you motivated by teamwork or do you work alone?
- What skills do you recognize? What are you most proud of?
- What kind of activities do you most enjoy at your leisure and what this says to your interests?
- What job you dreamed of practicing younger and what it tells you?
Self-knowledge approach helps answer such questions and to better define the contours of your personality and explore your interests, your values, your needs, your abilities and your skills.
If I give you a few minutes to describe in terms of each of these aspects, you will tell me that? You can probably name some of your characteristics and sketch a portrait of you first.
Plus you have a great life experience, the most detailed portrait will be. It is in the action that we learn to know and experiences that draw lessons.
However, I believe that a policy approach allows to deepen the self-knowledge and enrich the debate. It’s like a stop on the road where we take the time to consult the map and record key information before continuing on his way.
How to improve your self-knowledge
To conduct this reflection, there are many ways. In the area of guidance, we often think of psychometric tests, and how to overcome psychometric tests. These are sometimes useful to assess the skills or interests, for example.
As a career counselor, I especially used when a person has trouble speaking for itself. The results then become a common basis from which to talk about oneself and better defined. In my view, however, the tests are far from essential to any guidance process.
To help people know better, I use various exercises that stimulate reflection, debate, assessments, questionnaires, collages, mind map (mind mapping), visualization … The choice of tools will vary according to your needs and your personality.
You may also choose to ask some relatives to share what they know about you. Sometimes it is a mine of valuable information! With my clients, it regularly happens that I attend this gathering of information from the assessment and observations that I make during the process.
The goal is to generate the most relevant information for the person to make a career choice and build a life plan.
Before concluding this section, I want to remember that self-knowledge is always partial. A portrait, as detailed as it is, cannot paint everything together. There are still blind spots.
And that’s not counting that you will change, as the world around you! The goal is to know you a little better and generate a base on which you rely to make decisions.
And the context in? Environmental factors
To know is not enough. You do not live in a vacuum and several aspects can influence your choice. For example:
- Is the training you interested is offered in your area, and if not, are you willing to relocate?
- Do you need to reconcile your professional and family roles?
- Do you have the resources to finance long study?
- What are the job prospects in the field that interests you?
- Are you supported by your relatives in your orientation process or reorientation?
When it comes time to choose a career plan, you need to consider a set of family, economic, geographic, financial, and political.
Some are constraints, but others you create opportunities. During an orientation process, we are also exploring these. To be fulfilling an education or career plan must be realistic and take into account the environment in which it operates.
This does not prevent dreaming or be ambitious. You want to become an actor or singer? Work for NASA? These are risky projects where there are many called but few are chosen.
Yet there are people who make their living doing these passions. Much great success comes from risky decisions. I never tell a client not to study in a field because there are likely to encounter obstacles on the road.
The guidance process rather gather all relevant information to make an informed decision.
Training and occupations: learn without much loss
We all heard about that time where people could choose only a few well-defined professions. This reality, of course, has nothing to do with that today. The list of courses and professions is growing much faster than the jobs that disappear.
Several of my friends now occupy professions that did not exist when we made a first choice orientation in secondary 5! How imagine that some communities were to become managers in social networks, for example, while we do not yet know the Internet?
One of the characteristics of career choice today is the profusion of options. Each course is unique and there are many choices to make along the way.
I do not know anyone who dreams of the return to the days When Women Could Become a teacher, secretaries, nurses or housewives and the majority of men had little more choice. On the other hand, a number of opportunities today and all information about it can make you dizzy.
The first step of self-knowledge is important for the following things: When you know better, it’s easier to see where to direct your exploration training and professions. You already know:
- Whether you want to work outdoors rather than in an office?
- You like to influence and advise people?
- You do not want to make long studies?
It is possible to do research using these criteria as well as many others. What is most important to you in choosing a profession?
Where the educational and occupational information?
To make an initial list of interesting options, I work mostly with the database Benchmarks, which lists extensive information on training, trades, and professions that exist in Quebec. The level of required studies prior, employment projections, type of profile of interests, links to the curriculum … the educational and vocational information is updated and adapted to the reality of Quebec.
Access is however paying. If you are a student, your school probably has a subscription. Otherwise, you can consult a guidance counselor.
Research on training and professions allows you to explore various options by comparing with what you already know you and even specify your portrait. Discovering some information – that a certain type of employment implies that you will work at night, for example – you may need to add criteria to your search.
Such exploration can select a number of options – generally referred to as 3 to 7 different possibilities – you can then explore more deeply during the crystallization step.
This is particularly crucial with the younger, who often have a much-romanticized perception of certain occupations. The daily life of a police officer may be different from what we see in television series, and all lawyers are not present in court to plead theatrically.
On some sites, like that of the young explorers, there is also the very interesting video content.
Day’s open doors in schools are also a good source of information.
I also urge you to get in touch with people with the type of profile you want. You’re networking personal and / or professional. For example, you can make a call to all on Facebook and / or LinkedIn. You can also communicate directly with someone who practices the profession that interests you.
The key in this kind of approach is the preparation. As you would for a job interview, ask before the meeting on the profession exercised by the person, the required studies, and the workplace. Make a list of questions you want to ask during your appointment. Better prepared you are, the more information you gather will be rich and relevant.
Why consult a guidance counselor?
In shoemaker ill shod, I did not appeal to a guidance counselor for my career choice. However, I am deeply happy in the profession I have chosen. Why consult, then, you may ask?
In fact, for various reasons, many people are struggling to make a career choice, especially since it is not a question here of choosing between the two dishes of the day! Given the importance of the issues, much live indecision or anxiety. Is this your case or that of a loved one?
You accompany a guidance process is to give you the chance to be supported by professional decision making and the educational and vocational information. It is access to several resources unsuspected. And it is especially you acquire a coach, an accomplice benevolent, whose sole mission is to help you find your way. To realize your aspirations.
Make a professional choice without guarantee
If you read the whole article, you understand there is no guarantee. Uncertainty cannot be completely defeated. The important thing is to know why you made a decision and you feel comfortable enough with it to move forward.
Remember, after reflection, there is the Action! Learn. Discover. Experiment. It is in the experience you will get to know you and know what is best for you.
It is possible that you discover that the choice you have made is not the best choice for you. Or it is not. The world today is changing at light speed; so why could you not even you change your mind? Continue your route differently?
According to Gelatt, a theorist of career choices, the ability to change your mind today is an essential capability for decision-making. You will have to make decisions throughout your career. Both train you to do it now, right?
Also published on Medium.