Deciding which career path to follow can be daunting for teens when they are just discovering where their interests and passions lie. Young people should never feel pressured to make major career decisions too early in life, but there are many things you can do to get your teen thinking about the future.
Teenagers who have an idea of what they want to do after high school are at an advantage because they can select subjects relevant to their career choice, increasing motivation. Those who have considered their career options are also less likely to enroll in the wrong university or vocational course. This is very pertinent in Australia were university fees are increasing and drop-out rates have reached record levels.
To help your teen make the right career choice:
A career should provide financial stability, but there is so much more to a career than just money. It should also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Encourage your teen to think about their interests and personal qualities, and the type of careers they might be suitable for.
You can offer an opinion, but don’t make the mistake of trying to live out your own career aspirations through your child. Choosing a career is one of life’s biggest decisions, and it’s important for young people to pursue something that aligns with their interests, talents and values. Self-knowledge is the best indicator for success when it comes to career choice.
Careers counsellors have a range of tools at their disposal to identify personality traits and measure aptitudes. While their recommendations should not predetermine a career path, counsellors can provide helpful information and advice. If your teen shows limited aptitude for a career they want to pursue, now is the time to get them additional support. You can also encourage them to consider other options in the same field which may be more fitting for them.
Talking openly your own career decisions, triumphs and regrets with your teen is a great way to get them thinking about their choices. Also encourage them to speak to other adults in their lives about their jobs and how they ended up where they are. Most people’s careers don’t follow a straight line, and it’s helpful for young people to understand there will be surprises and detours along the way.
Big changes are on the horizon when it comes to work. Many of today’s jobs will soon become automated or disappear entirely and new ones will take their place. To thrive in this dynamic environment, young people need to be flexible and multi-skilled. One of the key ways you can help your teen choose the right career path is by ensuring that they have the education and higher order skills to adapt quickly to change.