In this era of change, new technologies are being developed quickly and occupations are increasingly specialised. As parents, we may question our ability to support young people as they start out on their career paths. Now, more than ever it is necessary for us to support our children by helping children view their career options from a better angle. Therefore realising the possibilities of finding a fulfilling career.
Here’s how we still have an important role to play.
Helping children get valuable work experience
Young people today have a huge selection of career options to choose from. We may see this as a blessing, but they tend to feel overwhelmed and confused.
Be curious about your teen’s career ideas. What’s most important to them? Travel, challenging work, a high salary, people contact? Encourage your child to get experience through volunteering and help set up informational interviews or internships with people you know.
Helping children prepare for interviews
Never fill out applications for your child, and please don’t accompany them to a job interview (yes it does happen!). Your support is far more valuable in sharing knowledge such as appropriate interview attire, the importance of punctuality, and what kinds of questions to expect. Interview questions haven’t changed hugely over the years, but there are lots of online resources to guide you if you need them. Remember, hiring managers are likely to be closer to your age than theirs, so your ‘old fashioned’ perspective will be just what’s needed.
Sharing your experiences
You want to help your children to find work that is satisfying, and at the same time, you want them to realise that they will probably not find their ‘dream job’ immediately. After all, in most cases, they will start in an entry-level job. Being honest with them about the highs and lows you have experienced will help them develop a realistic career perspective. Even better, have them talk with your friends and work colleagues too, they’re more likely to believe them than you!
Encouraging them to think outside the box
Although many jobs that exist today will still be needed in the future, new technologies will create jobs that we find difficult to imagine today. Futurist Thomas Frey envisages roles such as Nano-Medics (who design health remedies on a microscopic scale), Memory Augmentation Therapists (much needed to help ageing populations get more out of life!) and Urban Agriculturists (growing food underground in cities). Young people who can envision novel and creative solutions are likely to be in high demand.
Remembering that an entrepreneurial attitude is key
As parents, we tend to focus on the importance of qualifications. But just like Darwin’s theory of evolution, the modern job market is about the survival of the fittest. Contract work and part-time work is increasingly prevalent, and a degree won’t be enough, only those with an entrepreneurial attitude will thrive. So encourage your teen to investigate their skills and strengths – what makes them stand out from the crowd?
Nicola Tanner is the founder of Career Change Solutions and has been helping ambitious working parents find career success and satisfaction on their terms for nearly 20 years.
Helping children find a fulfilling career
Also, make sure to visit our career guide page for more on this important subject.