High school students often tire of being asked, “What are your career plans?” Some students have no idea how to answer the question. Others may give a rote answer just to stop the questions. There are actually so many career choices available that high school students can pursue that they need direction in order to discover their own interests and skills. They may discover that opportunities are available they never even thought of before. Here are just a few suggestions that may help in career research for high school students.
This may seem like a simple suggestion, but it is a good first step. Students should make a list of things they like and do not like to do and classes they like and do not like. For example, do they like history class but hate math class or vice versa? Do they like to work in groups or do they prefer to work alone? Do they like to work indoors or outdoors?
There a variety of assessment tests that may be administered at high schools. If not, they can be found online. Some examples are:
Assessment tests are just stepping stones to identifying potential careers. Results should not be used to direct a person to or away from a specific career but should be used only as tools to help identify career choices.
A few specific careers can be identified in order to pursue career research for high school students. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes an Occupational Outlook Handbook which provides detailed information for every possible job including:
Students may know or can be introduced to someone who works in a job the student is interested in pursuing as a career. Guiding the student to develop interview questions of the professional person can be helpful. Students can get real answers to their career questions from people who actually work every day in the career of interest. Students can be guided to ask questions such as:
Some schools have job shadowing programs that give students the opportunity of actually working with a professional in the career of the student’s choice. The student arranges to spend several hours with the professional to “shadow” them and see exactly what they do on a daily basis.
If the school does not have a shadowing program established students can contact the local Chamber of Commerce for business directories and suggestions of professionals who may be contacted. Students can then set up individual job shadowing experiences.