As a teenager, the last thing on our mind is to explore career paths. No teenager wants to stress thinking about college, jobs, and work before the time comes. In fact, the majority of teens prefer to enjoy quality time with friends and family before transitioning into a full-time adult. However, there are net gains when thinking of the importance of exploring careers as a teenager or as an early highschool student. We have compiled a list of reasons as to why it is important to start exploring careers as a young teenager rather than at a later age.
Discover Your Passion
When a teen transitions into adulthood and begins exploring the job market, it can be overwhelming. There are a variety of industries and position titles roaming the job market that it can be difficult to choose which one to apply for - especially if you have no prior experience in the area. Thus, by exploring careers early on, teens are able to identify what industries they feel passionate about and which ones they don’t. This simplifies the process later on when deciding on a college major or on a career path. As an adult, you are no longer spending time figuring out what you want to do. Or worst case scenario, you will not be working a job that does not satisfy your interests and passions. (Check out our Pre-University career classes to start exploring various different careers and college majors).
Try New Experiences
Another reason why it is important to explore career options early on is because it gives teens the opportunity to learn and grow through new experiences. You can do this by joining extracurricular activities such as after school clubs, summer camps, and internships that allow for young adults to gain communication, leadership, and teamwork skills by working with others. These are all skills needed in a real job that allow you to thrive in a work environment. More importantly, through new experiences you are learning, learning about world problems, projects, and ideas that make you a more well-rounded individual. New experiences can help lead you to your passion through constant knowledge. (For more tips on how to gain new experiences and prepare for college, check out our How to Prepare for College While in High School blog).
Setting Up for Success
Similarly, through career exploration at a young age, you are setting yourself up for success. Rather than entering the workforce abruptly, by discovering your passion and trying new experiences, you are getting ready to be successful in a job that you love. It avoids confusion and any distress that comes with no prior preparation. You will have the skills, the knowledge, and the passion to deliver results. This can then lead to academic success, job satisfaction, and promotion. Again, you can do this by watching videos online, reading articles, and doing personal research on industries that interest you.
Tips for Career Exploration
As previously mentioned, trying new experiences can allow you to explore different career paths. For example, if you enjoy cooking, seeking an internship at a restaurant or bakery can help you develop your culinary skills. If you enjoy science or STEAM, joining the Robotics club or competing in your local science fair can help you determine what area aligns with your interests. If you enjoy reading and writing, consider competing in the Spelling Bee or joining creative writing and prose clubs. By pursuing your interests, you are helping yourself decide whether that industry is an area worth pursuing in college, as an adult. The idea is to start small and gradually use your knowledge, education, and experiences to obtain a job that fits your needs and wants. (Check out these three additional steps to explore careers as a high school student).
Start now! Don’t wait on exploring your career path options. Begin early to discover your passions. It is equally important to know what you like but also what you don’t like to avoid job dissatisfaction in the future. Invest in your future by joining after school clubs, enrolling in summer camps, and completing summer internships. Experiences like these provide the knowledge needed to succeed in the long-term!