Open the Google Play Store and you can find an app for everyone and everything – almost. Now there is one for career coaching too. Akshatha Jesudasan met with the promoters of the app to understand the how and why. Interestingly the company that developed the app is aptly named to counter the Monday Blues, and its app helps you sort yourself out.
I Love Mondays, a Bengaluru-based company, has come up with an innovative venture: they have developed a mobile application—Sorted— to provide career coaching.
With two counsellors working full time, and five who work for them part-time, the company has managed to reach over 1,200 students.
“The general response has been overwhelmingly good,” said Archana Nayak, a researcher and career coach at I Love Mondays that launched Sorted on 22 July, last year.
Company CEO Mala Mary Martina, who came up with the idea of converting smartphones into career counsellors said the mobile application was created “to provide for a reality check of careers through Virtual Reality (VR) that no career guidance company was giving and to provide career guidance to anyone, anywhere at any time.”
“You ought to be good at what you want to do, you should love what you want to do, and you need to have to be able to connect with the right people in the field. We use rankings by various websites online, having analysed various course requirements and the preferences of clients to introduce them to colleges that would suit them,” said Shenbakam Natarajan, also a career coach at I Love Mondays.
The app, which gives students access to 22 VR videos covering 21 industries, ranging from stand-up comedy to civil engineering, allows for interactions between the counsellor, the student and parent. “We don’t isolate the student and the parent. The idea is to have them on the same page, so they can move ahead as a team,” said Nayak.
“The app helped me a lot. I was apprehensive about my daughter taking up humanities because the common view is that science is a better (option). I wasn’t happy with my career choice, so I wanted my daughter to do what she loves.
My daughter was sure of the course she wanted to take; learning her thoughts, and understanding her skills allowed me to accept her career choice and let her do what she loves,” said Jayashree V, a parent who used the app for her daughter’s career counselling.
Jayshree added that while she liked the features that the app had to offer, it would have been better if the app could be used on lesser priced phones. Presently, the application works only on high-end phones that support the viewing of VR videos.
Elaborating on the need for career coaching in an increasingly competitive world, Natarajan said, “People often end up in well-paid jobs that they don’t love. They take advice from their parents and relatives and get into fields they don’t like. That is where career coaching comes in.”
“Clients often don’t have enough exposure to the industry they want to work in and face difficulty in choosing schools and colleges due to regional boundaries that they want to adhere to,” Natarajan added.
To understand the psychology of students and help them choose ideal careers, Sorted uses a test that focuses on the student’s behaviour rather their aptitude.
Students wanting to use the app begins with the ‘Yellow Collar Quotient’ (YCQ) test, that the company calls the “new IQ”. The test is based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and uses computation to better understand students through basic questions like ‘Do you love chocolate?’ However, Geetha Aiyapah, a career counsellor at SetMyCareers, feels that parents are more comfortable with personal sessions where they can physically meet the person guiding their wards. “Having counselling online depends on how comfortable a client is. Sometimes, there might be issues with the internet or glitches in apps that people download, which might be annoying,” she added.
Nayak said that ‘Sorted’ uses a different mode of counselling but the details involved keeps it at par with other career counsellors.
“The mode of counselling has changed. We allow the child to understand their strengths and weaknesses, how they can build on it or use it, and help them make an informed decision. I think it (the app) meets the standards of any face to face session” said Nayak.
The author is a member of The NewsCart, a Bengaluru based media startup.