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Everyone should undergo a career assessment test before choosing a career path

Everyone should undergo a career assessment test before choosing a career path

According to research done by Accenture, it was found that only 41% of South Africans are actually satisfied with their jobs.  Yet, the same survey also shows that very few of those who are unsatisfied with their jobs take any steps toward a career change.

There are numerous reasons for this, some include job security, the years spent on a specific career path, the time spent studying for that career and the comfort of knowing one has already gained the experience and that there’s risk involved in opting for a new job which requires a new skill set.

According to Natalie Rabson, Skills Development Facilitator at Boston City Campus & Business College “One of the main reasons why so many South Africans are unsatisfied with their careers and now find themselves stuck may be simply because they made the wrong career decision initially. We often were guided by our parents who wanted us to have lucrative careers that were in demand at the time. In addition – careers and skills demands have changed and not everyone has kept up to date!”

“Career decisions are often based on unrealistic fantasies and idealistic views or influenced by friends, family, the media and misinformed perceptions of careers,” says Rabson.

Another problem arises when students pick a qualification without understanding what jobs it will (and, importantly, won’t) qualify them for once they graduate.  “We need to be realistic – while we may qualify in management –you can’t go out and manage a team in a business you don’t understand. You need to learn the business and understand the people you are managing first” says Rabson. In other words, Rabson advises to open yourself up to starting in an entry-level position.

For Rabson, the key to making the right career choice comes down to the kind of mentorship prospective students and job seekers are exposed to.

“Young adults need to be steered in the right direction and preferably by means of a structured process that helps determine what they really want from life, what their dreams are and what makes them unique.  There also needs to be a proper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, their thinking patterns, personality traits, work style preferences, values, and interests.  These are the essential determining factors when it comes to making successful career decisions,” says Rabson.

Ideally one should already start thinking about which career path to take in those final school years.  Thinking about it is one thing; more importantly, there needs to be some form of guided introspection.  A structured, scientific approach is what’s needed.

Boston offers a career compass assessment where a prospective student meets up with a counsellor who will take him/her through a computerised process that aims to match the participant’s interests, skills, and personality through placing answers in suitable categories. This allows the counsellor to analyse the results and provide the prospective student with advice on possible course options and career opportunities in his/her recommended field.

“Making use of such a method whereby one’s interests, skills, and personality are aligned with a possible career path is a fundamentally important first step in the process of choosing the right career path.  That is why we encourage all prospective students, whether they will eventually register at Boston or another tertiary institution, to come in for this career assessment.  Too many students make a decision based on what friends are doing or what friends say or make impulsive career decisions and ultimately end up on the wrong career path,” adds Rabson.

“What we do know for sure is that your success in your qualification, as well as in your job, will be markedly increased if you choose something you love!” says Rabson. Seek professional guidance in making an informed career decision.  Your future depends on it.  Also, remember that more than a third of your life will be spent working – don’t waste it by being unhappy in your career because you made an uninformed or impulsive decision in your younger years,” concludes Rabson.

For more information on Boston’s Career Compass Assessment, please visit www.boston.ac.za.

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