At some point in high school most teenagers will start to think about what to do as a career. But young people can feel confused and lost in all the choices. They might like the sound of earning good money, but we also know to be happy in a career we need to feel good about ourselves while at work.
Trying to settle on just one career choice – at least for the first stage of their career – will probably require a bit of research and some help from mum or dad.
Start your teenager thinking about the things they find enjoyable and interesting, and what jobs might incorporate those elements. Help them brainstorm lots of ideas, and narrow it down to a few to look into further. Always be encouraging, and follow these tips for extra ideas.
1. Aim high
We sometimes warn our children about the dangers of wanting to be part of the industries that we think could be far out of their reach. Instead of advising them of what can’t be done, remind them that anything is possible and that their dreams are of value. Of course some vocations do require greater skills, attributes and qualifications and only a small number of people qualify, but this does not mean they could not be one of these persons. Through hard work and focus anything is achievable and the sky is the limit. Do not kill their dreams: no matter how limited you may think they are, encourage them! They just have to do what it takes to get to where they want to be.
2. Ask questions, do your research
Acquaint your teenager with the possibility of finding someone that is already in the career they have chosen and arrange a meeting with them. Make sure they ask them about everything that particular career entails: the pros, the cons, the everyday mundane and the extraordinary. Most people in any industry would be willing to sit down with an interested participant and answer questions about their career. It is very important that the teenager does the research – do not do it for them. Advise them of the method perhaps but that is all. This is their life and it will show the measure of their enthusiasm by how much work they put into it.
3. Use your networks
It’s not always what you know, it’s sometimes who you know! It is surprising how many people they might know who could help them, so remind them of this. Tell them to not be afraid to ask around and find somebody who might be in the profession they are looking to be in, who could give them some work experience or even a part-time or entry-level job.
4. Work experience
Most schools give students two weeks work experience in year 10. It is essential that your teenager takes this seriously – they have two weeks to try any career without any limits. Encourage them to try the ultimate ideal! This might take some planning, so start the discussions early. Remember, don’t limit their expectations.
5. Hang out with people that make you feel good about yourself
One of the best ways to open yourself to unlimited possibilities is to not spend time with people who scoff at your dreams and bring you down. Encourage your teenager to find positive friends who also have high ideals. This might not be an easy task so the positivity must begin at home – you will have to be the primary example.
Don’t forget, if you want your teenager to strive for high ideals you must live that same life first.
These tips are brought to you by the Australian Teenage Expo. For further information, read our interview with Sacha Kaluri.