Many teens are satisfied focusing on high school completion and a social life rather than giving much thought to a career. But as parents and educators know, it’s important for teenagers to start thinking about a career before graduating from high school. Here are a few suggestions to help parents prepare their teens for a meaningful future in a productive job.
Set a good example
Say positive things at the dinner table or other odd moments about your job or about others that you would like to have. Explain in a casual way the benefits of doing certain kinds of work, such as helping others, feeling fulfilled, and earning a rewarding salary. Be prepared to answer questions about your job or workplace if you think it would be a good fit for your son or daughter. Even if your teen decides it’s not for him or her, such discussions may help to start the ball rolling in terms of thinking about a career path.
Arrange a job shadowing opportunity for your teen
Whether it’s at your company or one where your teen might enjoy working after earning a college degree, help him or her schedule a day to follow around an employee to learn the basic duties for that position. It may be helpful for the student to write a high school paper on the career path for that position, as that will require additional research that could help to spark interest and provide useful information.
Explain the life-long benefits of certain career paths
For example, pursuing education law degrees in college can lead to a fascinating job with excellent benefits in a variety of locations, either in the U.S. or abroad. Help your teen learn more about a career he or she is interested in to decide if it is something that should be studied.
Investigate co-op opportunities or internships during college
Even if your teen hasn’t started college yet, knowing about career-related options for co-ops and internships may increase his or her interest and curiosity. You may want to help your teen schedule an appointment with a high school counselor, or if a college has been chosen, a college adviser, for information about work experiences in certain career fields.
Discuss your teen’s interests and skills to explore potential careers. Someone who enjoys language may prefer one type of occupation, while a teen skilled in math will enjoy another type. Start early for best results.