helping your student make good career decisions

Posted : September 30, 2014
Last Updated : February 17, 2021

helping your student make good career decisions

Deciding on a career is a process that takes time. As the parent of a high school or college student, your role is to support your child as he/she navigates the decision-making process. Here are a few tips to help you guide your student to make good career decisions.

Encourage career exploration.

For your student to make wise career decisions, he/she must explore and investigate many careers. Career exploration should begin around middle school and continue through high school and even into college. You can help your child explore career options by:

  • Brainstorming ideas.
  • Helping him/her find inspiration.
  • Finding out his/her likes and dislikes.
  • Giving him/her career books.

Be a valuable sounding board.

Encourage your child to come to you when he/she has career questions or career ideas. As a parent, you have a wide knowledge base of your child's personality, traits, likes, dislikes, etc. This knowledge base will allow you to be a valuable sounding board for your student to bounce off career ideas. Be careful not to dismiss or promote certain careers. Instead, guide your student to consider the pros and cons of his/her chosen career options and how these options will mesh with his/her personality. If your child seems disinterested in career exploration, get him/her engaged by asking open-ended questions, such as:

  • What settings or environments seem appealing to you when you think about work?
  • Which classes have you enjoyed the most over the past couple of years? Which ones have you disliked? Why?
  • What issues are you passionate about?
  • If you weren't worried about making money (or how fast you want to pay off your student loans), what kind of work would you like to do?

Emphasize the value of networking.

Networking is a proactive strategy for career success. It is the key to staying connected and aware of job opportunities. Students who take advantage of networking opportunities early will have a competitive edge later on in the job market. As a parent, you can help teach your child the value of making contacts and even introduce him/her to your own networking circle. Share with your student this article about learning how to properly network so he/she will already have a substantial list of contacts once he/she begins searching for job openings.

Promote the importance of resume experience.

Gaining "real-world" experience is critical to building a quality resume that will make employers take notice. As your student goes through high school and college, be sure to promote the importance of work experience. Encourage your child to participate in a job shadowing program, perform volunteer work in the community, obtain a summer or part-time job, and intern in a position related to his/her college major. Not only will these work experiences look good on his/her resume, but they will also positively influence his/her future in more ways than one.

For more information to help your child choose and prepare for his/her future career, be sure to read the articles in the career exploration section of this website.

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