For recent high school graduates or those who will be graduating at the end of this next school year, the prospect of planning your career can seem daunting. With college looming overhead, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and pressured into making a choice. Even those that know what they want to go into can feel stressed about the future.
High school is a good time to start planning out your career and thinking about what you want to go into. Many graduates end up unsure or go to college without a plan as to where they want to end up. Whether you plan on heading to college or you’re looking into trade schools and vocational work, planning ahead is always a good idea.
To get you started in the right direction, here are some career planning tips to keep in mind leading up to and after high school graduation.
#1. Explore Your Options
Either you have a few career ideas in mind that interest you, or you only know what careers you don’t want to do. Whatever the case, it’s important to explore different options so that you can feel confident in your future decision. A good way to do this is through online resources.
There are a number of online tests you can take that will present you with a handful of potential career options based on your interests. CareerExplorer by Sokanu is one of the best resources available and offers unlimited possibilities. The test takes 30 minutes to complete and when you’re done, you’ll have a few different choices.
Another good way to explore your options is by evaluating your interests. If you love biology, then you might want to research careers in biology. If you enjoy writing, then you should look up careers in writing. The search results may bring up something that you hadn’t thought of before.
#2. Find a Mentor
Even if you still haven’t made up your mind as to which career path you want to follow, find a mentor. They’ll be able to help you talk through your different options and give advice when you want it.
You mentor doesn’t need to have experience in a field that you’re interested in. They’ll still be able to guide you through the process of finding a career, choosing a training or degree program, and applying. Just being able to rely on their past experiences in finding a career path will help you move forward in the right direction.
To find a mentor, you’ll need to be prepared to ask around. You may be able to find a mentorship program in your city or online, or you may want to choose a mentor that you know well. No matter the case, finding a mentor shouldn’t be too hard.
#3. Update Your Resume
Whatever industry you’re interested in, it’s important to have a strong resume to present when you apply for a job and arrive for an interview. No employers will want to read something that’s several years old. Even if you used a template, your resume may still look bland or resemble other candidates’.
A great resource to look into is executive resume writers. Even for high schoolers, working with a resume writer is a good way to get professional advice and a stellar resume. In most cases, the price for a well-written resume will include professional coaching and consultations.
Executive resume writers use more than just human knowledge to write resumes. They’ll often use machines and resume-scanning software in order to create a resume with all the right keywords to land you a job. With this additional step, your resume is less likely to be rejected or overlooked.
#4. Do a Job Shadow
Job shadowing is a fantastic way to get an in-depth look at a potential career. A wide variety of industries offer job shadow opportunities to their existing staff who want to change positions, but if you’re willing to network and ask around, you’ll find professionals who are willing to let you job shadow them as well.
Some careers will not let you shadow a professional, but many professionals will be more than willing to speak with you personally about the job. Careers in the medical field, for example, do not allow job shadowing for privacy reasons. However, many medical staff are willing to share their experience in the field and answer any questions you may have.
There are many benefits to job shadowing. You’ll gain valuable insight to the career and be able to better determine whether or not it’s a good fit for you. If you decide that it is, you’ll have a way to develop contacts with other professionals and can use their advice when applying for a future career.
#5. Look Into Education Requirements
Every career will have different education requirements, so make sure to look into them before you decide on what to do after graduation.
For some careers, you may not need to attend college and can instead seek out a vocational school or immediate training. Other careers will require several years of college and may have high degree requirements. In some cases, it may not be clear. You may be fine without a degree, but having one may open up more opportunities and allow you to advance faster.
Your best bet when looking into prospective careers is to start early. If you know what you want to go into and can start planning ahead of time, you’ll save yourself from a lot of debt and stress. Rather than pursue a degree that you don’t need or that doesn’t interest you, you’ll know exactly where you want to take your studies and how to get to the career you want.
There are a lot of things to think about in high school and your future career is one of the biggest. By speaking with experienced professionals and keeping an open mind about your future, you’ll be able to move forward more confidently when you finally do make your career decision.