Choosing a career: The power of information

with the Careers Coach

Asked what one wants to be when grown up, every primary school child is clear and smart in response, as for my kid, she is very particular on the subject; “When l grow up I want to be a careers coach, just like my dad,” she recently told her pre-school teacher.

As a parent, my goal is not to force my profession on her, neither will I grill her when she finally turns not to be one, that is her right to choose a profession of her choice.

It is however, common that when one progresses in education and life, may end up joining a profession totally different from the one mooted during childhood.

It is also common that in some instances, even high school students have struggled to identify the careers of their interest to pursue. Some could answer; “I am still yet to decide on which career to pursue.”

In most cases, such tendencies have been attributed to lack of relevant information in decision making.

In this instalment, the Careers Coach will examine how the power of information or lack of it affects career choices. It has been said information is key in choosing one’s intended destiny.

As such most of us are very clear on what we want to be in life, but more often than not, lack of relevant information and that, have been a major impediment, hence the need for what is now known as Information and literacy in it.

Information literacy may be defined as the ability to identify the needed information, understand it, identify the best sources of information, evaluate the data and its sources, and then apply the relevant information to achieve a desired end.

As human beings, to solve any problem we need information. And identification of credible sources of information is key in that regard.

In making career choices, just like in planning to start and run a business, information is key. One cannot make sound decisions without the necessary information at hand, otherwise that is mere guesswork or speculation.

When one is clear on what he or she wants to do in terms of career, it is always important to look for relevant information regarding the chosen field.

There is always enough information to suit every speciality that one might aspire for. Only what one needs to do is to know where and how to search, and below some tips and sources of information.

Career mentors

These people are experts, in careers selection and management. They can provide valuable information and guidance to those seeking more details in regard to the subject.

The internet

Technological advancement had made it simple for those seeking information regarding career of choice. There are many sites devoted to career guidance. However, due care must be taken in identifying the relevant information you need. This is so because on the internet there could be harmful information e.g. fake news, hence the need for information literacy.

Resource persons

These are retired professionals, such as retired judges, accountants, medical practitioners, etc; these may also be termed moving dictionaries, they possess vast knowledge which career seekers may tap from.

Social media

Just like internet, social media could be a good source of information. Many organisations have also taken it up, using mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp groups, and Twitter. Again, social media by its nature is basically ‘consumer generated media,’ and as such need to be handled with caution and verification of reports becomes a sort of a prerequisite.

Trade journals

These journals are usually produced experts who share something in common and at times carry testimonials or question and answer on how certain people may have made it.

Newspapers and news sites

These too, could be sources for valuable information on the subject, they often host expert or guest columnists who are well versed in career guidance.

After a long sabbatical leave, the Careers Coach has seen it fit to start with an introductory approach on this important matter. The power of information and being literate in it, is a very complex topic, and in the next instalments on the subject, I will be taking a more in-depth analysis, giving examples of some of the sources information, search tips, and how to identify and verify information.

To only just say information is key, is not enough, without being able to identify which information is needed to address a particular problem. Because of technological advancements we are littered by oceans and seas of information some of it authoritative, factual, while others bad and harmful just meant to misinform and lead the consumers of information astray.

Not all the information is generated the same way, neither is it produced for the same audiences or purpose. Consumers of certain information vary, some information are for tradesmen, others for students, and yet some other information are generated and meant for certain professions, hence the need to know where to find relevant information that suits your needs.