Getting a Head Start on Your Future Career
The concept of career planning can send some students into nervous fits, rocking in the corner, curled into the fetal position. It isn’t pretty. For others, it means spending countless happy hours on the Internet, excitedly researching every job they’ve ever been interested in. Regardless of which category you fall under, it’s always a good idea to weigh your options early. Getting a head start will not only help you build experience, but it’ll help you make a solid decision when it comes to planning your career.
1. Make a list of potential career options. Base them on things that you’re already good at and enjoy. Do you like to write? You could consider journalism or creative writing. Are you good at math? You could investigate engineering or maybe finance. Do you love sports? Think about coaching or even teaching physical education. Don’t limit yourself to one “type” of job; keep the ideas flowing and options open.
2. Investigate your options. Google is your friend; a wealth of information is literally at your fingertips. Research job descriptions to get a general idea of what your career options involve. Do they still appeal to you? Take a look at job postings. Do the lists of responsibilities make you excited or do they make you cringe?
3. Work on your skills. If writing is your objective, work on it. If math is your goal, work on it. If sports are your aim – you guessed it – work on it. Now is the time to hone your skills so that later you’ll be that much farther ahead in the race for professional positions.
4. Test the waters. If you still aren’t sure what you’d like to do, try a few different things. Start volunteering or even working part-time. If you volunteer for just one hour each week, you can try several different things without eating up too much of your time. This will help you to decide which options to eliminate and which you should explore further.
5. Try new things. Don’t limit yourself to one particular career option, especially if you aren’t sure what you’d like to do. Get involved in a few different areas – for example, you could volunteer at an animal shelter, an environmental non-profit organization and a municipal government office at the same time. The best part about volunteering is that you aren’t signed up for life; you’re free to explore and find out what working feels like.
Don’t feel pressured to pick a career right away; instead, think of high school as an opportunity to explore your options. Without the obligations of a full-time job, you have time to try different “jobs” in a relaxed and fun way.