Do you remember what career you wanted when you were a little kid? Chances are your top choices were fire fighter, musician, dancer, or an astronaut. While those days may feel like a few lifetimes ago, you probably still dream about what you might become. Rocket builder, video game designer, or a personal chef are realistic opportunities for many. Maybe. You may wonder how you can really figure it all out, and where you’re naturally gifted, so your career is something you’ll actually enjoy for the rest of your life. The good news is that there’s a tool for that! In this article we’ll cover the steps to career exploration for high school students, from how to identify skills that are beyond your academic performance, how to research potential careers that match those skills, how to gain experience before college, and then how to make the most of who and what you know so you can start building a successful career while still in high school.
Identifying Interests and Skills
High school is a great time to explore different career paths and discover what interests you. But your potential career path involves more than just your grades or a sport you’re fantastic at. A career in any field involves skill, yes, but also involves natural aptitude, passion, and a particular set of values.
There are many tools available to help you uncover your skillset and mindset as it pertains to career choice. We’ve used a lot of different ones here at Total Development Center and at Crace College Consulting. Including the military’s ASVAB test to Myers-Briggs assessment. The one we appreciate the most for its ease and accuracy is the Career Key assessment.
Built specifically for ease of use and comprehensive results, the Career Key assessment is a research-based platform that gives you an incredible amount of information with only 5 minutes’ input. You’ll learn what skills you already have, your values and personality, and what careers are best. Because the better you fit who you are with what you do, the more you’ll enjoy not just your career, but your life as a whole.
Once you have identified some potential careers, it’s important to do research on each one. Learn about the job duties, educational requirements, salary range, and job outlook for each field of interest. Discover what each job environment is like, and what typical responsibilities you would have. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but this information will help you make an informed decision about which path is right for you. This research will also give you confidence that you’ve made the right choice once you settle in a career direction.
The Career Key assessment provides ample information on all of this to get you started.
Take advantage of opportunities right now while you’re still in high school. Look into internships, volunteer positions, or part-time jobs that can give you hands-on experience in the industry of your choice. If you’re considering becoming a vet tech, see if the local animal shelter needs an extra hand on the weekends. Talk to your local veterinary clinic about your interest and ask if they need help with anything.
Whatever career you’re considering, there’s likely a few opportunities to get your feet wet in the industry before you even attend college. If you’re unsure of what next steps to take in this exploration, talk to your career counselor or have a call with us here at the Total Development Center.
Networking is an important part of any job search process. Don’t overlook it when exploring career options as a high school student. Attend events related to your field of interest. Reach out to professionals who are already working in the industry for advice and mentorship opportunities.
Most professionals would talk with you for 30 minutes over a cup of coffee about what it’s like in the field, where their career in headed, and what they’ve learned along the way. Don’t let your age stop you. Career exploration for high school students has been made easier thanks to research, simple assessments, and a few willing professionals to help guide your way.