4 Things to Remember When Choosing a Career
Choosing a career is one of the most exciting decisions a student makes—but making a suitable choice requires ample thought, research, and preparation. A career often becomes a major part of a person’s life, so it’s important for students to choose something that they truly enjoy and are passionate about. Working adults generally spend about 20 percent of their lives at work!
With your help and guidance, students can pursue a career that is the ideal fit for them. If your student is beginning to consider and research career options, below are a few things for him or her to keep in mind along the way—so make sure to pass this post along!
Get to know yourself well
As a student who is getting ready to reach adulthood, you probably have a pretty good idea of who you are already, but try digging a little deeper! Determining what your likes and dislikes are will help you get closer to an enjoyable career path—and you might be surprised by what you find. Even though it may sound odd, taking a moment to have a “conversation” with yourself can really help you to attain clarity and understanding for your future. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
- What do I like to do?
- What am I good at doing?
- In what sort of setting would I like to work?
- What or whom do I want to work with?
- Do I want to be very involved in my career, or do I want to work 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Do I want to make a lot of money or just enough to pay my bills and live comfortably?
- What financial obligations will I have? Do I need to provide only for myself or for a family, too?
Do some prep work in school
School is a great place to discover and further develop your talents and interests—and a high-quality virtual school will usually offer students a wide range of courses and electives. Many students become passionate about a specific subject or occupation through school courses and activities. Make sure to take advantage of all the choices and opportunities available to you. For instance, if you have an interest in science, sign up for several science electives and clubs. High school students enrolled in a Connections Academy® public school have a few science electives to choose from, such as earth, space, and environmental science, and they can apply to join the Science and Technology Talent Network as well. You can also ask your teachers or school counselor about potential internships or volunteering that could help you learn more about your preferred career.
Just as you need to do research to write a paper for school, you should carefully research career options before making a career choice. A specific career could sound great to you, but you may realize it’s not what you expected after looking into the details. The more information you have, the more confident you’ll feel about making a decision. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource for career research. You should also consider talking to an adult about his or her career to get some tips and advice. Here are some questions you can ask:
- What do you do?
- Why and when did you choose your field?
- Where did you start?
- How has it worked for you?
- What are your daily responsibilities?
Make plans that are flexible and realistic
Choosing a career is a big decision, but the choice that you make doesn’t necessarily have to be a permanent one. It can sometimes take a few tries before you find something that is satisfying and rewarding. This is a normal part of the learning process! As you grow and learn, you will probably find that your interests begin to change and evolve. That’s why it’s important to get a well-rounded education and varied experiences along the way, so you can take advantage of exciting new possibilities and opportunities as they come along.
Choosing a career is an important step toward adulthood, but your student can make a stress-free decision by being proactive and efficient. What are some ways your student has prepared to choose a career? We want to hear from you—share your story in the comments!