All schools offer careers advice and have various career programs. But parents are just as important as schools when it comes to careers advice. Young people do listen to their parents even though they sometimes hide this. You can help your teenager enormously by being aware of the important questions teenagers need to ask themselves as they investigate careers.
In addition to reading the following yourself, you might like to show these suggestions to your teenager. (The article is written for a teenage audience.) Finding a future career takes time and thought. It requires insight into the needs, goals, skills and strengths each teenager has. It can be a very stressful task or an exciting challenge. Let’s make it exciting!
When you consider possible CAREERS, it is important to find reliable information and to think about YOUR interests, talents and dreams. Consider all of these questions:
- What are YOU good at? What are your skills? What are your strengths? Are you a good organiser, a great problem solver or are you good at leading a team? Are you a creative thinker, a great communicator or do you have the ability to multi task?
- Considering what you are good at and then identify careers that require your particular skills and strengths. After all, you want a career that will make YOU happy? Is this a career that can give you a feeling of achievement, satisfaction, reward, excitement and challenge?
Really think about your PERSONALITY. Often people don’t do this when thinking about careers.
- Are you happier in familiar or unpredictable situations? Do you enjoy change, excitement and challenge or do you prefer order and routine? Are you a risk taker or do you crave security?
- Do you like meeting and interacting with lots of new people or are you a little shy? (But remember, you can gain confidence with experience and age!)
- Do you enjoy problem-solving or do you prefer knowing what is expected every day?
- Do you thrive in a crisis?
- Do you enjoy working with others in a team or do you enjoy working on a task by yourself?
- Do you love being a leader or do you prefer to have tasks organised for you?
- Do you thrive when given responsibility or do you worry when you are the one responsible for a task or a project?
- Do you want a career where you have a lot of control over people and situations?
- Do you like situations where you feel secure and safe in what is expected from you? Do you enjoy risk taking?
When you think about possible careers, consider your answers to these questions. Some careers require you to mainly work in teams while other require you to take ultimate responsibility and make important decisions on your own. Some careers involve work that it quite predictable and stable while others involve constant change and quite stressful situations.
Now think about your INTERESTS and VALUES.
- If you love science and mathematics, take a good look at careers involving scientific and mathematical issues and tasks. Engineering? Pharmacy? Meteorology? Finance? Biomedical Science? Nursing?
- If you are creative and artistic, find careers that require these skills. Fashion Designer? Web Site Developer? Industrial Designer? Hairdresser? Visual Merchandiser?
- If you enjoy helping others, look for careers which involve this. Social Worker? Youth Worker? Nurse? Counsellor? Teacher? Lawyer?
- Would you love a career where you look after animals or the environment? Environmental Scientist? Park Ranger? Marine Biologist?
Now consider what is important to YOU? Security? Earning great money? Contributing to the wellbeing of others? Challenge? Ability to travel a lot? Ability to establish your own business?
- Do you want to have a career where you are never bored, where things constantly change? Many careers fall into this category.
- Do you love researching an issue and finding evidence to present a class talk or a debate? Journalism? Law? Police Officer? Politics? Media careers?
- Do you care about our environment and want a career where you can help to protect endangered species and endangered rain forests? Botanist? Agricultural Scientist? Zoologist? Marine Biologist?
- Are you fascinated about human behaviour and want to learn more about why people do the things they do? Psychologist? Criminologist? Anthropologist? Criminologist? Sociologist?
Some careers contain more excitement, change and challenge than others. When you think about careers, ask yourself whether you would actually ENJOY the day to day work in these careers. Of course you won’t know the answer until you do some research and look at the actual tasks involved in each career. But asking yourself all of the above questions first is a great way to start looking at careers that could suit you.
Finding the right career rarely happens quickly. Take your time and have fun considering various careers. There is no rush. There are so many exciting careers that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Imagine what might be on the table tomorrow! So keep looking and keep an open mind. Don’t settle for something that looks ‘okay’! You deserve a career that looks ‘amazing’! So…
- Check careers websites.
- Visit university and TAFE OPEN DAYS to see for yourself what courses involve and to discover new career areas you had not even thought about.
- Go to Careers Expos. They are held everywhere and this is where you may come across courses and careers that you have never previously considered.
- Ask people you know about their careers. What do they enjoy about their career? What is the most difficult part? Where did they study? What advice would they give a young person considering this career?
Keep trying new things and taking up new opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. Get involved in school activities and try new hobbies and challenges outside school. Get a part-time job. Everything you do can give you more confidence and insights into what you are good at, what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy. All of this can be very useful as you continue to consider possible