Career Counselling Myths



The question ‘what do I want to be when I’m older?’ is one that may feel impossible to answer. If students start career guidance when they are 13 or 14, then it is understandable that many young people will see their professional career as something which is still very far off in the future.

Whether it is unhelpful anecdotes, peer pressure, family expectations, or simply your own worries and insecurities about the future, you may begin your career research armed with some unhelpful myths and misconceptions. We thought we will tackle a few of them and offer some insights that will really empower you.

Myth 1: I should know what job I want to do when I’m older

There is absolutely nothing wrong with students knowing what they want to do when they enter the world of work. If a student who already knows that it’s his/her calling to be a nurse or a teacher, then that’s great, and they should be actively encouraged to take the next step to find the right training or post-secondary path to get them there.

Many students, the journey in finding the right career path is a lot more complex. If students are starting their career journey from a place of knowing nothing about their future profession, that’s a perfectly respectable place to begin.

Reframe the question

Instead of asking students to consider “what do I want to do?”, encourage them to think about the question “what am I good at?”. A career path defined by a core personal skill set is likely to be far richer, life-affirming and perhaps open to adaptation and change in later life.

Myth 2: I should follow my passion in life

Like Myth 1, there is an element of truth to this. Of course, be encouraged to engage with career paths that match your interests and passions.

We can probably all point to people in our adult lives who ended up doing jobs where they feel like they are not using their full potential, or will admit that “it is not what I wanted to do”. A career path about which students are passionate is more likely to engender the drive and ambition that can help them succeed in adult life.

The truth is a bit more complicated.

‘Passion’ is an exceedingly difficult thing to define in a career path that is likely to be subject to great change and fluctuation.

This is not always a guarantee of a rewarding career path, especially because some job roles require other ‘soft’ skills and attributes that go beyond raw talent.

Myth 3: It’s my guidance counsellor’s job to find me the perfect career

Students and parents can assume that consulting a career guidance counsellor can magically unlock their ideal career path.

When a student begins the journey of career counselling, they must understand the importance of taking ownership of their own career development. Students must always approach their development, understanding that their future is in their hands.

Myth 4: Only school students are suitable for career counselling

This myth is considered being true. However, the truth is career counselling has no relation to studies, in fact it helps an individual to know his own strengths and weaknesses. This realisation can be important for any person whether he is a student, a graduate or a professional. People have been using career counselling to explore different career fields that they can go to with their skill set. Many professionals use career counselling to understand what skills can be beneficial for them to seek promotion? Career counselling helps in mapping an ideal career for them and tells them how to pursue it with their current education levels.

Myth 5: Career counsellor is focussed at getting jobs and placements

This is the point where many people take career counselling on the wrong road. Career counselling has nothing to do with helping students in placements or jobs. Career counselling helps students to realise their potential and select the right career accordingly. Also, it guides students about the scope in that career and what kind of job profiles they can expect to get. However, career counsellors are not related to recruitment agencies most of the time, and their primary target is only to help the students in selecting the right career.

How Can You Combat Harmful Myths?

What the five myths we have outlined above have in common is that they all assume there is one factor that can define a career path. From the word ‘go’ it is important your students know that this just is not true.

All the factors discussed play a role in the students’ decision-making process; the most ideal job will combine passion, ambition, a good salary and will hopefully extend their pre-existing interests and subject choices.

But a good career strategy is fundamentally powered by honesty, self-reflection, and compromise.

Students must prepare to be proactive and adaptable in a job market that will change radically.

(Ignyte Talent Consultancy)