How to go about finding the right career
Discovering career options is an important step on the road to adulthood. There is no better time to begin thinking about careers than the early teen years. As teens enter high school, they will be faced with choices in which classes they take. The classes they take in high school affect the choices they have when applying for college, which affects which careers they can go on board on. While there is no reason for teenagers to lock themselves into one specific career path, having an idea of where they want to be in the next five to 10 years will get them started in the right direction.
Asking what you want to be when you grow up is fine for young children, but it's hardly a helpful question for teenagers looking at a career. They should focus on their likes and dislikes. If they like working with others or they do things better when left to their own devices? Comparing classes a teen enjoys with those she doesn't can be a good guide to exploring career paths. What may be an obvious example is a teen who excels in math and science looking at a career in those fields. What may not be so obvious is to explore the subjects within a class that a teen thrives on while not particularly enjoying the class. For example, a teen may be bored by the dates or political aspects of history, but completely intrigued by the personalities behind those events, leading to careers ranging anywhere from psychology to journalism.
Coming to terms with what you want to do with what you're prepared to do is a major factor in weeding out inappropriate career choices. A teen with stage-fright, for example, will have some challenges to explore before seriously going on to become an actress or musician. A teen who consistently gets D's in math may have to reconsider a career in science or medicine. Parents should be realistic too by considering their children's interests and aptitudes before trying to push one career path over another or encouraging them to proceed on a difficult path. Some careers may seem attractive while in school, but making a living as a painter or a writer is easier dreamt of than done. For such difficult careers, having a backup plan is a good idea.
Once a teen begins to favor a career path, volunteering and other extracurricular activities can give her a taste for that career while giving her valuable hands-on experience. For example, working at a pet store or volunteering at a local animal shelter gives you first-hand experience working with animals and can be used on college applications when trying to get into a relevant program. Researching careers online and talking to people who work in that field can also help a young teen making the transition toward adulthood. School guidance teachers are also a valuable resource for exploring careers, as are career aptitude tests offered by schools and colleges.