Deanna Hartley, CareerBuilder writer
Many of today’s youth watch their favourite celebrities or professional athletes on TV and think, “I want to do that when I grow up.” And while there are a select few who may go on to achieve fame and fortune, the vast majority need a reality check — and some help from those around them.
Whether you’re confused about which career paths to pursue or what’s even available, you don’t have to go at it alone. Connecting with the right people can provide some insight and set you up for long-term professional success.
Start with your parents. Sure, you can talk to your parents any time, but make it a point to carve out some distraction-free time with them to talk about your career. This way, you will have their undivided attention where you can ask questions and simply listen to their perspective.
Ask them questions such as: “How did you find a career you were passionate about?” “What first steps did you take to make it happen?” “What inspired you to be an accountant?” and “What makes you feel fulfilled in your job?”
Take it one step further and ask to shadow them at work. Ask questions and make observations on what you would want in a career down the road.
Schedule meetings with your guidance counsellor. Not only are guidance counsellors there to offer academic support and help steer you in the right direction, most “are therapeutically trained to counsel individuals,” according to U.S. News & World Report. ”
These are trained experts — don’t hesitate to tap into their knowledge and expertise. Set up appointments and talk through your aspirations, challenges and frustrations.
Talk to your teachers. This should be an obvious one, but few people know your strengths, weaknesses, aptitude and inherent potential like your teachers do. In fact, many successful professionals attribute part of their success to teachers who have encouraged and guided them along their career journeys.
Instead of trying to grab a few minutes with them between classes, schedule appointments with teachers you trust and talk about possible career paths you might want to pursue based on your interests and skills.
Ask them questions such as: “What are some lucrative career options given my areas of interest?” “What college classes/majors or training courses can help me achieve this?” and “Which schools do you recommend looking at?”
Reach out to alumni. Make it a priority to start or grow your network of professional contacts by connecting with alumni. Even if they aren’t headed down the same career path, they can offer advice on next steps and what you should be looking for.
Ask them questions such as: “How did you identify something you’re passionate about?” “How did you narrow down possible career paths?” “How did you decide which major to pursue?” and “What recommendations do you have for how I can set myself up for long-term success?”