Here are simple ways you can help youth explore careers:
- Job Directories. Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook in the library for detailed information on jobs in the United States.
- Career Testing. Several Web sites offer tests to help individuals identify strengths. Taking a career test may help your teen get ideas about jobs he’d like to pursue. Check with the school guidance office, which may offer vocational testing.
- Web Sites. A variety of Web sites now offer help for exploring occupations and finding specific jobs. Exploring Occupations helps your teen identify different careers, and sites like Monster.com allow him to search jobs by industry or location.
- Job Shadowing. Teens can visit an adult at work to see what the daily activities of the job entail.
An internship is special type of job that gives students and recent graduates the chance to gain experience in a particular career. Youth can try out a career, gain real-life experience and decide whether to pursue a certain occupation. Internships can be paid or unpaid, so it’s important for teens to check before taking a position. They’re also a good way to make contacts and develop mentoring relationships.
Getting a Job
Getting a job immediately after high school is a good choice for many teens. Some companies offer employees continuing education or on-the-job training, giving young people a chance to get an education while gaining work experience. Community service organizations like Americorps offer programs that give participants a chance to work in a service field and earn money for college. Here are some practical ways to support your teen’s efforts to find a job:
- Networking. Encourage your teen to talk to family members, friends, neighbors, friends’ parents and teachers to get the word out that he’s looking for a job. Talking with as many people as possible is the best way to find employment.
- Resume. Your teen should have a resume prepared when he goes to job interviews. Make sure he proofreads the final copy.
- Appropriate clothing. Make sure your teen knows to look as professional as possible when talking to prospective employers. Encourage him to avoid jeans or casual clothes he wears with friends and to dress his best.
- Online or in-person? It’s a good idea for your teen to visit Web sites designed to help youth with job hunting, but encourage him also to go directly to the human resources department or manager of stores and businesses.