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Teen Career Guide: Finding the Right Support Path

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Career exploration, whether for teens or anyone at any stage, need not be daunting. Whether you’re just starting or have been navigating your career for a while, the journey doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are numerous ways to build support for yourself during this exploration. Moreover, these efforts to support yourself can create a positive ripple effect, attracting valuable support from others. To feel more supported in your career journey, consider these three essential steps.

Support Yourself First

Approach your career exploration with a positive mindset, embracing curiosity, a willingness to learn, and openness to discoveries. Be prepared for surprises along the way, as they are part of learning more about yourself. For instance, you might initially think nursing is the perfect fit for you. However, after researching, conducting informational interviews, or shadowing a nurse, you might find that the day-to-day reality differs from your expectations. This process is a valuable part of your career journey.

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Now is an ideal time to reflect on what aspects of your career you liked and disliked, and then adjust your focus accordingly. You might find, based on your experiences and learning, that roles like a pharmacist or practice administrator are more appealing. Trusting and believing in yourself can be transformative, opening up opportunities to learn more about your preferences and aspirations. This self-awareness can provide support by fostering a more positive, invested, and engaged attitude towards your future.

Engage with School Resources

Enhance your self-support in career exploration by utilizing school resources such as clubs, extracurricular activities, and job opportunities. Start by understanding your interests and being mindful of your schedule. Explore clubs, teams, and associations, and make use of your career center. Summer camps, diverse job experiences, and volunteering in various organizations are great ways to discover your passions and strengths. However, it’s crucial not to overcommit; prioritize your schoolwork and avoid overscheduling to prevent overwhelming yourself. After these experiences, reflect on what aspects you enjoyed the most and document your thoughts. This reflection will provide valuable insights into the types of careers that may suit you best.

Tap into Your Network

An often-underrated method of self-support during career exploration is actively engaging and communicating within your network. This network includes a diverse array of individuals: family members, friends, teachers, classmates, colleagues from previous jobs, neighbors, and former summer camp counselors. Additionally, it may encompass members of online interest groups, acquaintances from various social settings, and contacts made during study abroad programs. Utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be instrumental in connecting with and maintaining these relationships. However, it’s crucial to always prioritize safety and exercise caution in your online interactions.

Your parents/guardians can be your greatest careering allies. They have insight into their career fields and industries. They also may have contacts, leads, or other information for possible volunteer, internship, shadowing, or summer job opportunities in a wide range of job areas. Many first jobs come from a friend who refers you to their employer at a restaurant, retail store, newspaper route, babysitting job, or their parent’s company. School personnel like guidance counselors can offer good advice on the do’s and don’ts of getting into college, as well as landing internships and jobs. There are even companies that contact guidance counselors for a list of qualified candidates. If you’ve had a job, share your career interests with former co-workers and supervisors and ask if they know of any job leads. Many people are eager to help students start on their career paths. Share your areas of interest and study with them to see if they have any leads or can get the word out for you.

Careering: The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career
$9.95 $8.06

So you're a high school or college student who thinks you know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Or maybe you don't have the first clue about your future. In either case, Tamara S. Raymond's Careering: The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career should be at the top of your reading list.

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07/24/2024 12:38 am GMT

About the Author:

Tamara S. Raymond is a certified leadership coach and career strategist dedicated to helping professionals reach their maximum potential, and young people get on the right career path so they can make a difference. Careering: The Pocket Guide to Exploring Your Future Career is Tamara’s first book. It is available as a paperback, e-book, and audiobook.

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