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Choosing the right path to career glory

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
By Vibha Kagzi, Founder & CEO,

Whether you are looking for a career switch or a new career path, it is always a good idea to take up some kind of career counseling. You can seek guidance from a counselor or consider taking an aptitude test. While tests are standardized objective assessment of your skills and talents, career counselors are experts, who have years of experience matching people with their relevant careers.

What’s an Aptitude Test?
An aptitude test is a scientifically structured tool that is used to evaluate people on different tasks. Their reactions on the tasks are recorded to get an understanding about their key strengths and weaknesses. The aptitude test can be of several types: abstract reasoning, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning test, spatial reasoning, among others.

What is Career Guidance?
Career guidance is with a real person, which means you interact with a counselor to get advice on career matters. So, a person sitting across the desk interviews you to find out all about your motivations, interests, aptitude and skills to identify the right career fit. Career guidance helps people successfully manage their career development. Whether it is choosing the correct stream to the correct board, and mapping career goals, a career guide informs you of the best career opportunities that you can aim for. In addition to identifying these careers, the counselor can also recommend ways to follow the chosen path. This would include identifying the right education, training, or practical experience that would be needed to help you make the transition.

How Does Aptitude Testing Help Me Narrow My Career Choice?
There are many benefits to aptitude testing over career guidance. Here are three main ones:

Aptitude Tests are Scientifically Designed, Objective and Straightforward
When you take an aptitude test, you are questioned on various topics. In addition to testing your skill and proficiency in that topic, the test is also designed to evaluate your strengths, weakness, preferences, speed of learning, ability to multi-task, and your temperament. You cannot pass the test by trying to outguess or crack the code. Aptitude tests rely on the information you provide.

Aptitude Tests Help You Evaluate Yourself in Comparison to Your Peer Group
You may think that you are a good programmer, but how do you compare with the others in your company? Do you have the necessary skills to be a good systems analyst or a program director? Aptitude tests map your performance to the standard performance metrics and derive a benchmark for you. This gives you a realistic idea how you rank, and what you need to do to improve your position.

Aptitude Tests Offer Flexibility, Choice, and Unbiased Review
You could be the daughter of a celebrity or the next door neighbor’s kid. You could be sitting at home or in a cafe. You could prefer to keep your aptitude test result a secret or announce it to the world. Aptitude tests can be customized to suit your preferences. Aptitude tests don’t judge you. They results are not coloured by bias, because of your social standing, race, colour or creed.

How Does Career Guidance Help You Select the Course of Your Choice?
In the case of career counseling, you get personalized, one-on-one feedback from an expert in the field. While some career counselors may prefer to use tools such as aptitude tests, personality tests, or even games, a few counselors rely only on interviews to evaluate you.

Career Guidance Is More Than Just Testing
To fully understand a person’s aptitude towards a particular job, you need more than testing. An expert career counsellor will tap into the inner resources of a person that reveal his or her social skills, and emotional balance to make the right career choice. Some counsellors also use advanced psychometric testing and assessment tools to supplement the decision making process.

Career Counselling Balances All Aspects of Desire and Practical Limitations.
With an array of career choices available, candidates are often confused about the path they should take. Some approach a career counsellor when they are at the crossroads, while others may come to a counsellor after having taken a few wrong turns. A good career counsellor will focus on the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses before recommending a path. An objective evaluation of the candidate profile helps bring more clarity of thought.

Career Counseling Helps Make Realistic Predictions.
Career counsellors gauge the candidate’s ability to perform certain tasks based on their aptitude, track record and knowledge base. They try to map the strengths of the candidate with the skill and competency set of various job profiles. There can be a margin of error, which can be attributed to social conditioning, or prejudices that make every individual unique.

However, that said, career counsellors can provide you advice to help clear away your doubts.  They are equipped to counsel you on how to determine the right path by way of taking up internships, or the right short course that fit your needs. Not just that, a career counsellor can help you identify the optimal career, and the necessary skills to attain your career goals.

Career Guidance Can Be Tailored to Match Latest Trends.
For the Indian student who is not attuned to the latest career trends, the evolving job market can be unnerving. While the student may want to explore dynamic educational qualifications, parents may want their children to stick to conventional educational platforms. In such a scenario, a career counsellor can help you look for new career paths based on the success factors and your personality.

Finally, Which One: Aptitude Testing Versus Career Guidance
It is important to take a holistic approach towards career selection. While on the one hand, aptitude testing can give you a scientific, non-judgmental analysis, a person who counsels you across the table can offer insights based on your personal preferences, prejudices, and interests. For example, you may be naturally endowed with excellent writing skills, but if your heart is not in the role, you can never do justice to your career as a writer. Also, you may find that you are better suited to writing stories, rather than ad copy. A career counselor would understand the finer nuances of careers and be able to provide you a workable solution.


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