High school can be filled with seemingly endless opportunities for teenagers. However, the choices they make during these important four years can have a major impact on their future paths and careers.
Career exploration can help teens find a future career that matches their skills, interests, and personality. The following tips can help parents and students work together to create a career road map to guide them through high school, college, and beyond!
1. Use dreams as a starting point. The age-old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” might seem innocuous, but it can be overwhelming to some teens. Instead, start a career discussion by using their dreams as a starting point.
2. Ask guiding questions. Help facilitate a discussion about career choices by asking guiding questions. “Do you want to work for yourself or for a company?” or “How much money do you see yourself making?” or “Would you rather work at a desk, with people, or outside?” are all questions that can spark ideas for potential careers.
3. Identify strengths and interests. Your teen’s strengths, such as the classes, sports, or hobbies they enjoy, can help guide their career choices. By finding a career field that aligns with their strengths and interests, your teen is more likely to find it satisfying and rewarding.
4. Shadow professionals. Once your high school students have narrowed down their potential career choices, help them find opportunities to shadow professionals working in that field. Doing this can help them understand the day-to-day reality of a job with first hand experience.
5. Connect education and careers. High school students don’t need to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. However, having an idea of their general career path can help them make choices when it comes to future education. Help teens choose classes that will set them up for future success, as well as look at colleges that have degrees related to their desired career.