4 tips for career planning with your teen

Family spending time togetherWhen’s the last time you talked about careers with your teen?

Deciding on a career is one of the biggest of life decisions—and yet many teens spend very little time exploring careers. Here are four simple steps to get your teen engaged in their own career planning.

1. Start with a conversation. Even if your teen is generally resistant to any conversation of more than two words, you might be surprised by how engaged they can become when talking about their future.  Keep the focus off of your expectations or their responsibilities, and ask general questions about how they hope to live as an adult: where do they picture themselves living, what do they think they’d like to do, what kinds of things will they spend money on—and how much money will they need? All of these questions are good prompts. You can also tell your own story or trace the career path of another admired adult.

2. Take an assessment.  CareerOneStop’s Interest Assessment is a great place to start. It’s a quick, online assessment that matches interests to careers. With just 30 questions, it usually takes only five minutes to complete. And teens can complete it on their phone, tablet, or any computer,

3. Research careers. Once they’ve completed the interest assessment, they’ll get a list of career ideas. From the list, they can link directly to Occupation Profiles to learn details about careers of interest. Tell them to look for the answers to these questions:

  • What would you do in this career? Does it match your interests and skills?
  • How much education would you need?
  • What’s the job outlook?
  • Whats; the typical salary?

4. Make the link to education. A lot of the time, adults lead with the importance of education.  Chances are, your teen has heard many, many times how important it is to do well in school. But if they haven’t made a concrete link to how education can help them achieve their specific dreams or goals, they’re less likely to prioritize it.  Once you’ve had conversations about careers, and you and your teen have identified general career fields or even specific jobs they might thrive in, it’s a lot easier for a young adult to value education.


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