Although you may think you are too young to worry about your future career, it is important that you start thinking about your life after high school right now so you can take the steps necessary to get into your career. Some of these steps include choosing the right high school, enrolling in the necessary courses, earning good grades, participating in programs, getting work experience and building a resume.
There are lots of different factors that go into choosing a career path. To determine the occupation you want to enter you need to consider your interests, how long you want to be in school, how much money you want to make, the type of work you want to do, the potential for job growth and job trends in the industry. The sooner you begin to think about potential careers, the more chances you will have to explore them before making major decisions. Luckily, there are lots of tools, programs and people available to help decide what you want to do.
Tips on Choosing a Career
The three basic principles of selecting a major or career:
1. Know yourself — your skills, values, and interests.
- Skills: Things you do well (i.e. leadership, communication, teamwork, creativity)
- Values: Things that are important or desirable to you (i.e. salary, helping others, leisure, job security, advancement)
- Interests: Things you enjoy or do for fun (i.e. sports, music, computers, video games, handy work)
2. Know your options and learn about each one.
- Learn about the different occupations. You want to make an informed decision. You want answers to questions like these: What is this job like? What will my co-workers be like? What will the job demand of me? How much will it pay? What kind and how much training are needed?
Here are ten ways to find answers:
- Interview people in the work you are considering. Most people are happy to talk about their work. This is called Information Interviewing, and you want to learn how to do it.
- Read up on the occupation. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, training and education needed, earnings and the occupation outlook for hundreds of occupations at www.bls.gov/OCO/.
- Speak to your school counselor. Your school counselor can help you get started or narrow your search.
- Go to local government agencies for state and local information. O*NET is a continually updated online database with descriptions of occupations at www.onetonline.org.
- Go to the Library. It has excellent print and electronic resources. Ask the librarian for help.
- Volunteer to do work in your area of interest. Most communities have volunteer action centers that will help you. As a starter you can visit www.handsonbroward.net for ideas of volunteer locations. You can also join or start a club at school.
- “Job Shadow.” Follow and observe a person as he or she works. This a valuable way to learn about an occupation.
- Participate in internship or cooperative education programs.
- Take on a part-time or temporary job in your area of interest.
- Explore the Internet. The Florida Choices Planner contains information similar to the OOH and O*NET but also contains additional assessment tools for values, interests and skills at www.flchoices.org. It is also a great idea to search for Professional Associations/Organizations related to your field of interest.
3. Evaluate Options & Make a Decision
With all the information you have gathered about yourself and your options, it is now time to make a decision. This can be a scary step, but you are more likely to make the right choice when you are well informed. While learning about your options make sure to keep great record of your experiences. This will assist you with creating a resume later on. Remember there is an abundant amount of resources to help with your decision.