By Faye Katz
I’ve been a Resume Writer working in a professional career coaching environment for over a decade.
It is ironic, then, that when my daughter came to me last year and asked me to help her choose her high school senior year college electives, I wasn’t much help.
My daughter is a hard worker and a solid student who has many skills and strengths. With so many choices, how do we narrow down the options for her? How do we, as parents, guide our children to make a strategic career choice that will be financially as well as personally rewarding?
I decided to turn to my co-workers at the JCS Career Center for help. Together, we’ve come up with advice for parents to help their high schoolers make smart career choices:
- Career Exploration: Junior and senior year of high school are great times for career soul searching and web surfing. During this research phase, create a list of five career options to investigate the following:
- Educational requirements
- Industry / professional growth potential
- Day-to-day job tasks
- Personality traits that are a good fit
- Salary expectations
- Entry-level job options
- Job Shadowing/Informational Interviewing: After narrowing down the options to 2-3 careers, suggest that your son or daughter reach out to professionals in each field and request a phone conversation, a meeting or the chance to shadow them during their day. During the conversation, ask the professional all about their job, career path and industry.
- Volunteer Positions/Internships: To get more of a feel of day-to-day life in the field, encourage your senior to take volunteer/internship positions. Firsthand experience will add another dimension to the options.
- Career Assessments: At any time in the process, if your high schooler feels completely at a loss for which direction to choose, a career assessment, such as the WOWI or the Strong Interest Inventory, (which can be administered through an agency like the JCS Career Center) can provide valuable insight into how to choose a career based on personal interests, aptitude and skills, while taking into account educational and salary requirements.
One more bit of advice: don’t delay. Start the process early. Guide your child to listen carefully to what is in their heart. Ultimately, the career they choose should be a combination of their skills, strengths, passion and personality, while providing them with long-term income potential.
Faye Katz is the resume writer for the JCS Career Center.
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.