Career exploration is critical to helping your teen prepare for a successful future.

78% of high school students say parents are their biggest career influence.  Therefore, it is important that you are able to draw them into discussions about their future.

These discussions that you initiate can help your teenager to choose a career that matches their interest, their personality, and can increase their chances of financial success, personal fulfillment and happiness

1) Use Dreams as a Starting point

At some point in their life, your teen has dreamed about their future. As a parent it is your job to encourage your teen to think big and express their ideas. Imagining the future is a step to making it a reality.

Some ideas to help you get talking with you teen

• If you could have anyone’s job in the world, what would you choose?

• Would you ever want to work for yourself?

• How much money do you think you will need to support yourself in the future?

• Where would you ideally like to spend your days? On the road, behind a desk, outside?

2) Share your story

Your teen probably doesn’t know much about your work, career path. Tell them about your subject choices you made at school, what tertiary education you might have had and how you got your first job

3) Find interests and strengths

Do a brain storming exercise with your teenager around their strengths getting other family members to contribute to the discussion. Encourage your teen to draw up a list of their top 10 strengths.

4) Research Careers

Encourage your teenager to research a different career every week to share with the family over dinner. They can gather information from the Career finder (www.insidejobs.com/careers) tool. Get your teen to specifically feedback on

• Work activities / environment

• Training and qualifications needed

• Salary

• Job Prospects

5) Job shadow

Schools tend to organize a 2 – 3 day job shadow for the students in Grade 11. This experience is just a starting point as it is often through this initial job shadow experience that the teenager will find out exactly what he / she DOESN’T want to do. It is important to help them set up other job shadows during their school holidays so that they get exposed to a variety of industries and or work environments.