Career Counseling

Career Counseling

Prerequisites: The motivation to learn.
Objectives: Find out whether a career counselor is right for you.

How do you know whether you need a career counselor? You already have a job, so what benefits can you get from a professional counselor? A competent career counselor doesn’t come cheap, but the results can sometimes change your life for the better. If you're unhappy in your career or don't feel fulfilled or challenged in your current position, a career counselor might be an investment that yields a very high return. Part of achieving success in your career comes from finding the right niche. 

Just because you're unhappy or not accomplishing enough in your current job or career, doesn't mean you won't do leagues better and be much happier at a different company or in a different profession.

If any of the following situations sounds like your personal diary, then a career counselor may be able to help: 

  • You fell into your job rather than choosing your career. Perhaps you never had a definite career plan and came across an opportunity that seemed right at the time. Now, years later, you realize you've gone as far as you can in your current position or you're in the wrong profession altogether. 
  • You've hit the big 4-0 and are ready for a change, but you have no idea how to go about making it happen. You don't know how to pursue a new career or what opportunities are available now that you're 40-something.   
  • You don't feel like talking about your day at the office once you leave it. You come home from work and can't bring yourself to relive your day by telling your spouse about it. Your response to, "How was your day?" is, "I don't want to talk about it."    
  • You sense that you need a change, but it's a vague feeling with no real direction. You know you want to do something else, but you don't know what. You're not sure what opportunities are available for someone with your background and interests.  
  • You constantly find yourself looking for a new job. You feel so dissatisfied with where you are in your career that you keep searching for something new. You can barely last one or two years at a job before you're once again scanning the employment ads on a consistent basis. 
  • You feel trapped in your job by financial or family obligations. You wake up every morning and your first thought is how many hours you have until you can come home from work. But you feel like you have no options because you have commitments to fulfill and expenses to pay.
If any of these scenarios sounds all too familiar, you may be able to benefit from a career counselor. A counselor can help you steer your interests and goals into a realistic and fulfilling career choice. But professional guidance isn't the answer for everyone. 

You need to figure out whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Read through the rest of the information on this website, and it will hopefully help you determine whether seeking advice from a career counselor is the next logical step for you.


Top Careers in Engineering in the US

Engineering is still s field and degree that that is very popular amongst Indians who study abroad. So we thought that we would take a look at the fastest growing careers withi the field of Engineering in the US.

Interesting biomedical engineering is the fastest growing career in the US. Thought it doesn’t make it to the top 10 fastest growing jobs, civil engineering jobs are expected to grow by 24% by 2018. More interesting, the field is expected to add 67,600 jobs in this field by 2018 – within the field of engineering that is the largest number of jobs expected to be added compared to any other type of engineering jobs (see table 2 below).

Table1: Projected Employment in Engineering Jobs in the US
Numbers in Thousands

Employment, 2008
Projected  Employment, 2018
Change, 2008-18
Aerospace engineers
Agricultural engineers
Biomedical engineers
Chemical engineers
Civil engineers
Computer hardware engineers
Electrical and electronics engineers
Environmental engineers
Industrial engineers, including health and safety
Marine engineers and naval architects
Materials engineers
Mechanical engineers
Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers
Nuclear engineers
Petroleum engineers
All other engineers

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Some examples of For Profit Social Entrepreneurship or Social Businesses are:

1. People Tree works with producer groups across Asia, Africa and Latin America, improving the lives of marginalized communities through fair trade. Website:

2. Teshkeel Media Group is focused on creating wholesome children’s adventures through its proprietary superheroes, THE 99, drawn from global culture, history and Islam. These superhero role models tell universally relevant stories that promote multiculturalism and personal responsibility.

3. Independence Care System (ICS): A pioneering family of organizations in New York City that is transforming the quality of direct care worker jobs and the quality of care in the long-term healthcare sector. Website:

4. Through its highly successful companies, FundaciĆ³n Social works to better the livelihoods of low-income households by making investments aimed at removing the structural causes of poverty in Colombia.

Did you know that Oxford University offers International Internship opportunities for its’ undergraduate students?

As part of creating a more international experience for their students, the Oxford University International Internship Programme (OUIIP) was launched in 2008 as a pilot program. Following a successful pilot, the University expanded the opportunities on offer in 2009 and current students can apply for one of 26 roles in nine countries.

The organisations providing the internships range in size from a small Canadian fiction publishers and a Danish nature reserve, to the Academy of European Law in Germany and an offshore and marine engineering group based in Singapore.

‘One of the challenges of educating students in the 21st century is equipping them to work and live in a global context’, said Dr Heather Bell, Director of International Strategy at Oxford University.

As part of creating a more international experience for its students the University is expanding the OUIIP and creating other opportunities through links with the International Association of Research Universities (IARU).

The OUIIP offers mainly undergraduate students 8-10 week placements over the summer vacation, with companies operating in many different sectors and industries.

According to a press release from the University Johannes Feldmann from xperion, one of the companies who offered an internship last year, said the intern had made a real difference to his company: ‘My intern did a super job. She motivated me to go to China – something I had not contemplated before. Her research showed that a major tradeshow took place in China during the summer, so we went there.’

Some of the internships have been offered by alumni and Dr Bell is keen to encourage more companies, large and small, from the public and private sector, to offer internships.

Although every intern will have a unique experience, the internships offered comprise the following common elements:
• Full-time work for 8-10 weeks, between 20th June and 30th September 2009,
• A defined project, which creates real value for the sponsoring organisation (the work to be undertaken is not meant to be general office work) and a valuable learning experience
for the student,
• Interaction with an assigned supervisor or mentor within the sponsoring organisation,
• A stipend to cover the student’s expenses for the duration of the internship in for-profit organisations,
• An international experience, ideally outside the student’s country of citizenship.


Social Entrepreneurship: A career path that is gaining importance

Social entrepreneurship seems be gaining ground – and what is interesting is that it is going so amongst MBA students and graduates. Several MBA programs had added courses, conferences, clubs and other forums to allow for formal taining, dialogue and debate on issues related to social entrepreneurship.
But what is social entrepreneurship? Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue social goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profit or for-profit companies. In fact, I have come across an increasing number of for-profit social entrepreneurs or social businesses recently.

A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:

• Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these.

• Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation.

• Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem.

• Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback.

• Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa.

Social entrepreneurs share come common traits including:

• An unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to contribute meaningfully to economic and social development

• A driving passion to make that happen.

• A practical but innovative stance to a social problem, often using market principles and forces, coupled with dogged determination, that allows them to break away from constraints imposed by ideology or field of discipline, and pushes them to take risks that others wouldn’t dare.

• A zeal to measure and monitor their impact. Entrepreneurs have high standards, particularly in relation to their own organization’s efforts and in response to the communities with which they engage. Data, both quantitative and qualitative, are their key tools, guiding continuous feedback and improvement.

• A healthy impatience. Social entrepreneurs cannot sit back and wait for change to happen – they are the change drivers.

According to the ‘US News 2010 Best College Rankings’ the top universities to pursue a biomedical engineering degree are Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Califormia – SanDiego, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington and Boston University

Network systems and data communications analyst

Even though we keep reading about how information technology jobs have been hit hard in this recession, projections indicate that better days are ahead with over 150,000 network systems and data communications analyst jobs expected to be added by 2018. And what is spurring this demand? A need for organizations to upgrade their technology capacity and incorporate the newest technology as well as the growing reliance on wireless networks is driving the growth. These jobs require a bachelor’s degree, and the average salary is about $73,830

Financial examiner

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increasing complexity of financial regulations will spur employment growth both of financial examiners and of compliance officers in many fields. The average wage is about $78,180, and a bachelor’s degree is required. However, over 35% of the financial examiners jobs rested with the federal and state government in 2008, which generally require you to be a US citizen.
As a non-US citizen, you can still take advantage of this trend in increasing financial regulations and the need for greater accountability as it will drive also demand for accountants and auditors, adding roughly 279,400 jobs to this occupation from 2008 to 2018. Further, an increasingly competitive business environment will grow demand for management analysts, an occupation that is expected to add 178,300 jobs. In fact both accountants and auditors and management analyst both make it to the top 10 list of jobs with the greatest number of additional jobs projected by 2018 – in terms of absolute numbers.

Physician assistant

Tasks that were previously performed by doctors, nurses, dentists or other health care professionals increasingly are being performed by physician assistants, medical assistants, dental hygienists and physical therapist aide according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job requires a master’s degree, and the average pay is $81,230.
So how do you qualify to become a physician’s assistant? After high school you can enroll in a combined Bachelor/Masters program – these are typically 5-year physician assistant programs and you graduate with a masters degree. It is important to the specifics of the program across universities as some of the programs may only award a bachelors degree. Alternatively you can get a bachelors degree then apply to a physician assistant program, after having gotten some sort of “medical” background/experience before applying. A bachelors degree in biology or pre-med is a great foundation for this career, though not necessary to be a physician assistant.

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