Encouraging Career Exploration: How Parents Can Help

By Inland Empire Success | June 19, 2024

College opens doors to exciting careers, but choosing a career can feel overwhelming. That’s especially true for many first-generation college students.

The good news is that you don’t need to have it all figured out right now. Follow this guide with your parents to discover the perfect career fit!

Focus on Your Skills and Interests

Still wondering what you want to do for work? Figuring out your future career can feel overwhelming. The first step is understanding YOU.  

Think about the things you enjoy most in school. What subjects were your favorites? Was anything “too easy” for you? If something comes easy, you might have a talent!

What kind of impact do you want to make? Do you want to solve problems, work with people, or create something new? Do you care deeply about helping others or protecting the environment? 

Your parents can be a huge help in your self-discovery! They recognized your skills and talents long before you did!

Ask them what they see in you. Are you naturally good at problem-solving or writing?  Do you have a knack for making friends or fixing things? What skills and talents they’ve identified in themselves?

Finally, ask them about the kind of work environment you might thrive in. Do you work independently or as part of a team? Would you enjoy a fast-paced office or a more hands-on job outdoors?  

Exploring these questions with your parents will help you get a clear picture of the careers that might be right for you.

Explore the World of Career Options

After you learn more about yourself, explore career options. To get started, research different careers online. Websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics can show you what each job involves, the education and training needed, and typical salary ranges. 

Visit different work environments and check out career fairs at local colleges or community centers. You can talk to professionals from different fields or have an informational interview – a chat with someone working in your dream job to learn firsthand about their day-to-day life. 

Consider job shadowing, where you follow a professional for a day to see what they really do. Volunteering in a related field is another way to gain experience and see if a career path is a good fit. 

Parents can be your guides in this process, pointing you toward people and resources that can help you.

College Is Your Launchpad to Success 

College equips you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to thrive in any field.

General education courses will develop essential skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These are all valuable tools no matter what career you choose. 

You might discover a major, an area of study that perfectly aligns with your interests. Majors provide in-depth knowledge and skills needed for specific fields, like engineering or psychology. 

Many colleges also offer minors, allowing you to explore another area of interest alongside your major. 

Explore college websites with your parents. Look for information about majors offered, and career services available to help you land your dream job after graduation. Alumni success stories will show you where previous graduates have gone!

Building Your Cheer Squad: A Strong Support System 

Exploring careers and navigating college applications is easier with a support system! Your parents are your biggest cheerleaders, but don’t hesitate to reach out to others for help.

School counselors and college advisors are experts at answering all your college and career questions. Mentors can be adults in your community or family friends who can offer valuable insights and advice based on their own experiences. 

Build a strong support system and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your college and career goals!

Chart Your Course and Begin Your Adventure! 

Choosing a career path is an exciting adventure of self-discovery and exploration! You and your parents are a dynamic team on this journey. Work together, brainstorm ideas, and don’t be afraid to dream big!

Remember, there’s no single “right” answer. The world of careers is full of possibilities waiting to be explored. With the support of your parents, school counselor, mentors, and college advisors, you’ll be well on your way to charting a course toward a fulfilling and successful future. IESuccess is your go-to resource for all your college questions, including applying for college, finding financial aid, and selecting a major. We’re here to help you get started on your college adventure!