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Career Advice Lacking

With the information currently available, students don’t have enough knowledge to move into corporations or jobs that could lead to careers they love. Photo by Aleksandar Ratkovic.

I have been doing a fair bit of research over the last couple of months and came to the conclusion that there are a few things that we could do to help students, adult learners and those considering a career change. These are my opinions and findings and to be honest, if I have missed this point I am going to make, then either I have been looking in the wrong pace or there simply is no visibility online.

I have noticed that both in my teaching, speaking to others and my general research that careers’ advice is an area that is hugely lacking. There are programmes in schools and colleges where aptitude tests are taken and there are, maybe, two obligatory meeting with careers counselors a year.

But what if you are a student in higher education, or someone who has been made redundant or wants a change in career, and wants to know what a metallurgist, an accountant or marketeer does? You can, of course, research this information in your spare time. However, in my research for this exact information, I have found that explanations are disjointed and when you do find a site of promise you have to sign up and pay lots of money or it is for a specific school/college.

I phoned two of the largest job search websites and asked if they had any information for people wanting to know about the different types of job requirements which would guide them into a career right for them. Their reply was that they only find people jobs—a best fit resume to the jobs on offer (which is their focus, to be fair).

I wonder if businesses, and the future of those entering or re-entering the workplace, are missing out on potentially great employees and employers due to the lack of education, information and early guidance. Just think for a moment what that would mean for a potential business and employee! By being in the right career they could potentially be motivated, be punctual, have the desire to learn, add more to the business and ultimately stay with that company for a lot longer thereby cutting the costs to the employers of retraining and recruitment.

The job search websites did say that they would pass my enquiry on to the relevant people in the organization and I have not heard back from them. This would be a great Corporate Social Responsibility opportunity for these companies to groom future employees that have the skill set needed for a variety of careers.

In my own example I wanted to go into the Army but did not know what to do once I had enlisted. I certainly didn’t want to dig trenches, be an electrician or a mechanic. Had I realized that the Army needed teachers / instructors I would have gone in much earlier, but unfortunately I missed my window of opportunity. I would have been retiring next year with a lump sum, a great pension and training for my second career.

If you had to ask the majority of people what jobs there are at McDonalds, most would mention the jobs that they see people doing on the shop floor. Not the marketers, procurement, legal, accounting, research and development, logistics departments etc.

I feel that we are always far too corrective in our nature as opposed to being preventative. If school children upward have a better idea what is out there, what they are suited to and what they need to know and be aware of, they will be simply more focused, thereby choosing courses that are right for them. I am looking for a site that is free, has a “day in the life of” examples… (type of career), the skills requires, length of study taken, starting pay etc. If there are websites out there, let me know.

One last thought. It has been said somewhere that we spend 70% of our lives at work. If you are not in the right job, it is a hell of a long time to be there.

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