We live in a fast-moving global world with far-reaching changes taking place in social, economic and political development. There are fast technological advancements, and the nature and structure of work are rapidly changing as well as the systems in which people live and work. The current COVID-19 pandemic has also brought about a tremendous transformation in the working environment. Work and career are more defined though not as definite. There are probably more people seeking jobs today than there were five years ago. Yet, the jobs are fewer, though some seem to be paying higher salaries with a marked cut in the number of employees.
A career is an occupation, work or job undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life. It involves both an opportunity as well as progression. Work involves the task or activities to be undertaken in order to achieve a purpose or result. Career counselling is a process that enables us to obtain knowledge and information in order to understand ourselves and the world of work. This in turn enables us to make various decisions about our career, including educational requirements and relevant courses. Career development entails the occupation, work (profession) and overall growth and development in a career. Career counselling responds to the dynamics of work and career.
A new era in which careers have radically evolved and in which career education and guidance became more elaborate and decisive began over a decade ago, owing to a number of factors that we will examine in this article.
There is a need to have a clear understanding of the dynamics of work and career.
While more and more people are seeking employment opportunities and advancement in their careers, the values and principles of work have been transformed greatly in the last ten years. It is a fact that with greater advancement in technological and informational developments, the world will be experiencing even more drastic changes in organizations and career prospects. A simplistic perspective that one will complete basic or higher education and get a job in a predominantly lucrative area is particularly depressing.
Globalization and Modern Career
The world has become more of a global village. We accept one another much more because we have all realized that we belong to a common race called humanity. We can therefore say that we are more multicultural, multiracial and multilingual. This places a person who is working and others seeking employment now and in the future; now because they need to adopt to modern technological advancement and in the future because we need to re-think about the present and future trends.
One major development in the world has been on issues of equity, fairness and justice for all. In terms of gender, we have all learnt – correctly – that we are all human beings, not women or men. Subsequently, women deserve an equal opportunity just like men. So do persons with special needs. Women and persons with disabilities have entered into the labour force in record numbers. The world has in recent times adopted the use of artificial intelligence. This is demonstrated in the use of phrases and vocabulary such as ‘economic restructuring’, ‘industrialization’, ‘technological advancement’, ‘computers’, ‘redundancy’ and ‘strategic management.’ This new information age began to reorganize corporate performance by including words such as ‘vision’, ‘mission’, ‘goals’, ‘strategy’ and other pet names. The new ‘information age’ is well versed with a ‘knowledge economy’ that has redefined management and administration. Today, organizations prefer better-educated and highly trained and better qualified people to meet the demands of a modern economy.
Job, work and career
A job is a regular (and often) official activity that you do and, in return, receive money (salary) for your effort. It can be full-time or part-time. It is also called an occupation or profession such as an accountant, banker, clergy, clerk, lawyer, manager, police officer or teacher. You look for a job, that is, seek employment in a job (activity). Every job has a description.
The word ‘work’ is more general than a job. This is because whereas a job is specific (occupation or profession), work is general. For example, I work in a bank, company, customer service, customs, office, school or university.
A career is both job and work, including the total progression of professional life. A course or progress through a life career could be specific (clergy, finance, journalist, lawyer, teacher) but also includes many different jobs you have been engaged in over the years. Thus your curriculum vitae (CV) will include different jobs and what you did (work) to grow your career.
“It must be emphasized that careers are highly individualized and that career counselling is a process.”
Specific attention must be on the critical life contexts in which career and career development unfold. This includes choice of subjects in school, courses in higher education (college and universities, including post-graduate studies) and the employer (organizations, institutions and government).
Career counselling is a response to the dynamics of work and career. Its purpose is to help us understand career and career development. This includes the career’s goals and vision. Specifically, you can acquire skills and techniques to help you understand and update knowledge and skills on careers.
It must be emphasized that careers are highly individualized. Hence, career counselling is a process. Career education and guidance are not as straightforward as connecting a potential employee with an employer. Decisions on careers are based on several considerations, and we have to constantly re-interpret the past in successive efforts to better understand the present and forever changing, unpredictable future.
Many people consider a career as merely getting a job and getting paid. It is not even about the best possible match between jobs and workers by an enabling government (public service), organizations and other firms. Yet, career counselling by itself is much more than advice and placement. Career selection includes:
- Career goal and identification;
- Career clarification, including terms and conditions of service; and,
- Career specification, including what is required (qualifications, accreditation and overall professionalism).
Career information will therefore include interests and personalities, working conditions – including working alliance and future prospects.
You need the following to make your career selection:
- Foundation knowledge and perspectives concerning the career and its development.
- Career and career counselling process and phases
Many people are employed in areas that are neither aligned with their professional training nor career interests. This is because people go for what is available rather than what is allied with their personal interests, values, abilities and skills. Many people also fail to re-orient their interests and potential to the job market, including seeking training and employment opportunities. This can lead to low job satisfaction, reduced productivity, poor career achievement, apathy and utter frustration. This is because many people lack the necessary information on the different types of careers, as well as their own interests and potentialities. Yet, through effective career counselling, one can harmonize his or her career choices by matching the academic potentials with personal attributes, interests, values and available resources.
As an individual, you may need to update yourself on the ever-changing contexts and conditions of work. You may also wish to revisit your position. This may require that you revitalize how you conceptualize your career as well as future developments. In this case, you will look at both the general and specific aspects. Furthermore, you need to identify interventions, including qualitative and quantitative assessments to enable you or someone else to obtain information on three things:
(a) Career goals;
(b) Present prospects; and,
(c) Future prospectus.
This involves an understanding and interpretation of information. Eventually, you must embark on interventions that will assist you in reaching your desired goals or resolving career issues.
Both the nature and structure of individuals and organizational career development have been evolving. These in turn have provided counselling practitioners with new and sometimes unique ways of understanding and working with clients of all ages and circumstances.
A career counsellor would offer advice in careers, obtaining employment and other aspects. Advice is also needed by school-leavers, persons in employment who want to advance or change careers, and many others such as persons facing the imminent danger of redundancy. Teachers and parents also offer a lot of guidance on careers, some highly valuable and some obviously misplaced and misguided — sometimes to the detriment of the child.
“Information on career counselling trends, issues, and practices has expanded substantially. There are several contextual variables that influence our world of work, careers and career development.”
Kenya has had a history of career education, especially with the establishment of guidance and counselling in schools. Teachers and other resource persons provide assistance in various ways and also offer career advice. This is an attempt to assist students to acquire the best of their careers in ways that enhance their potential. There are several contextual variables that influence our world of work, careers and career development.
Seven Things About Your CV or Resume
People are always been told about the importance of a CV or resume. It is significant to remember that all the words, achievements, lines and numbers (WALN) are essential. Therefore, you must carefully prepare a resume that highlights your potentialities rather than overlooking your talents and qualifications. This must be linked to your job application as demonstrated in the following seven tips that are highly significant in a global world.
- Application. Obtain all the necessary details and apply for the job in good time to avoid last minute delay or failure to apply. The requirement for the qualifications should be connected to the resume.
- Organization and details in resume. The resume should include your name, contacts, academic and professional qualification, work experience, and two or three referees, and other relevant details. Use a valid email and telephone number rather than a potential employer looking for you without trace
- Educational and professional qualifications. A job seeks particular qualifications. Your resume should start with your educational and professional qualifications and then go on to outline your suitable skills. In addition, demonstrate rather than state your accomplishments for example, did (contacted, managed), project X leading to X (numbers maybe significant such as in charge of project X with a budget of $X running for X years).
- Ensure standard practice in both your application and resume. This includes taking care of small things like the correct name of the company or organization including the address. Other aspects that are significant include your name and qualifications. Avoid careless errors and typos such as the courses you have done, name (Carol instead of Christine), years (graduation and work experience should rhyme), numbers and other aspects. Spelling and other mistakes indicate a sense of irresponsibility and lack of detail. Also ensure correct use of punctuation marks such as comas and full stops.
- Additional details including co-curricular activities. Hobbies and interests though unique should be at the end of your resume. In addition, include community service and volunteer experience. This is to allow the recruiting personnel to quickly pick out on what they are looking for in terms of qualification and skills.
- Organizational details. Find out more about a specific organization including their mission and vision and what they do rather than appearing completely ignorant or uninformed. This ensures that your resume reflects the position or activities you will be undertaking in the organization.
- Job interview including date and time. Other than a good resume and making a formal application, it is important to arrive on time and dress decently. This implies that you note the interview date and time rather than appearing a day later and explaining you missed out on the interview date.
The terms task and activity are often used interchangeably. Though they have very different meanings. While a task is a specific assignment and has a particular purpose an activity may not be as specific. An assignment can be assigned to a person or persons. It can also be a task or activity.
For example, A person can be assigned work as a clerk, manager, teacher with specific tasks. Tasks have an objective that often includes a time frame.
For example, To carry out a research on X by X, or prepare a documentary of X(Timed) by X date.
The future and future perspectives
There is a lot of uncertainty and indecision about careers. The standard procedure is that careers will be much more demanding and aligned to inevitable social and economic changes. We must, in turn, keep abreast of these and other changes, including up-to-date information about career as well as future prospects. In addition, many jobs require a professional knowledge base, which is a prerequisite for recruitment and maintaining employment.
In the end, you must better understand and interpret career and career information. This must be a merger using concepts from traditional and new, and emerging conceptualizations of career development. Today, you compete for principal jobs with members of your prime turf. This is because employment must be justified in terms of the effectiveness of your output and impact. There are other continuing expectations such as: ‘people must seek employment rather than pursue self-employment.’ The verdict must be your own effort, including personality, qualification and expertise, as well as other social skills.
At the apex of your career
When you embark on a career, you begin working. In essence, you will work in different sections, organizations or companies. You will have a job description (worked as). With time, you progress in your career (working). You can also decide to progress in a general area or specialize (you are a lawyer, and you pick on company law, just as a doctor can be an anaesthetist, gynecologist, neurosurgeon, etc.). You can have a varied career, that is, in many different areas such as different companies, or working in diverse sections or departments such as procurement, accounting, audit and finance. The height or peak of your career is the most successful point or apex.