Career Tips For Teens 1: Choosing The Right Career

Dear Teen,

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 secondary school right now so that you can take the steps necessary to excel in any career you may choose. Some of these steps include choosing the right higher institution to attend , enrolling in the necessary course(s), earning good grades, participating in programs, getting work experience and building a resume.

It can seem overwhelming trying to choose a career before you leave secondary school, but always keep in mind that it is never too late to change your career path and no one says you MUST decide right now.

There are several factors that go into choosing a career path. To determine the occupation you want to practice, 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 – sounds like a lot, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. However 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 you to help decide what you want to do.

Why you need to start Planning for your Career in Secondary School

The career planning needs of secondary school students differ from those of other students. During these school years, you should get to know yourself. Now is the time to learn about who you are, and what you are good at. How can you do that? Below are some activities that will help:

• Take lots of classes to learn subjects, strengths and interests.

• Learn to develop new skills through classes, clubs and activities.

• Begin to explore career options. Talk to advisors, counselors, teachers, parents, and friends. Do some research into careers that interest you.

Discover and Learn About Yourself
What do you like doing?
What do you want to do?
When you think ahead ten years, what do you see yourself doing?

Now as a teenager / student, it may be hard to get a handle on those questions. Each day you make many decisions – what to wear, who to hang out with, how to spend your time after school. Some of the decisions you make today can affect you for the rest of your life. That’s why it is important to learn how to make good decisions.
You want to choose an occupation that fits your unique qualities — your abilities, talents, needs, values, and interests — and the life-style you want to live.

Knowing your “unique qualities” is not easy. Learning about you is a challenge for everyone- many adults are still struggling with this!  But the clearer the picture you have, the more likely you are to choose a satisfying career.
It is important to write your ideas down. You may find this difficult to do, many do. But, it will make a big difference in your self-understanding. Write down your thoughts and feelings as you do the exercises below. Make a folder to keep your notes and writings- and keep it somewhere safe!


Here are eight strategies you will find helpful:

1. Take tests or inventories that measure your abilities, interests, values, and personality. Write out your reactions to the results.

Click on this sentence to take a simple personality test for teens (It’s interesting!)

2. Look carefully at your achievements in school or at work to identify your abilities. If you are a student, for example, which subjects have you done well in, or not so well in? What does this tell you about your abilities- mechanical, verbal, numerical, artistic, and people skills? Be careful not to overlook, or leave out, your abilities.

3. Examine how you use your leisure time- your hobbies, community projects, activities with social, political, or religious organizations. For each one, write down three headings: Abilities, Interests, and Values and under each heading write down your thoughts.

4. Talk with a friend or family member who is a good listener.

5. Talk with a professional counselor (your school may have one- find out) or a teacher you really trust.

6. Identify Your Skills. There you will learn what the different types of skills are and how to identify those you have. The activities that are described are powerful; they are used by the top consulting firms in the country. You will find them well worth the effort.

7. Write an autobiography and identify the themes that represent who you are.

8. Write a personal mission statement. How? In it write: what you want to be, what you want to accomplish in life, and what values or principles you want to guide you.


Wow. We’ve touched on quite a few things today, right? I’d strongly recommend that you don’t just read these tips but take out some time to actually DO them- that’s the only way to get the best out of the process.

In my next blog, I’ll be sharing on Exploring Your Interests. You don’t want to miss it! But before then, I’d love to hear from you: If all careers held EXACTLY the same financial reward (i.e they all paid THE SAME salary/earnings), which would you settle for? Share your choice as a comment below. Catch ya!


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