Career Planning

How To Help Your Student Find A Career

Marc Luber is founder and host of Careers Out There, where he conducts informational interviews with professionals to help viewers find out about a variety of career paths. Marc’s career has taken him from law school to the music industry to the recruiting field and helping young people find their paths.

By Marc Luber

You want your adult children to not only be able to support themselves but also to have a fulfilling career. Your kids, however, might not be thinking about their future yet. Here are five big things you can do to help your students find the right career.

1)    Help your student look in the mirror

Whether taking an official career test or simply taking a personal inventory and committing thoughts to paper, it’s key for career seekers to figure out who they are and what they want. I equate this to determining what type of food you want to eat before choosing a restaurant. If you skip this first step, you will drive around in circles until your blood sugar (and then your car) crashes!

Encourage your student to think about which classes she excels at and enjoys the most, what types of work experiences she’s enjoyed, what she does with her free time, whether she likes working with her hands or mind. Other things to consider are whether she likes to work alone or with others, what type of life she wants, what she values, and what she is willing to sacrifice.

2)    Help them meet people

Informational interviewing is another way of saying “get out and talk to real people about what they do.” Reach out to everyone in your extended network and encourage your student to reach out and find people he can talk to about careers that interest him and how to break in.

3)    Make them work

Encourage your student to work summer jobs – and, if possible, to work during the school year. Even if there’s no financial need to be working, the lessons learned will help shape your student’s future. The experience will help her figure out the type of people she likes to work with, the type of environment she prefers, the type of work she likes to do and more. To this day, I’m thankful that I worked in telemarketing during high school. I learned skills that have been useful throughout my career, including how to pick up the phone and call strangers, and how to handle a wide variety of personalities.

4)    Encourage them to test out a career

Whether internships pay or not, these work experiences are a great way to get real-life experience. They allow students to test out a career path by working for a company of interest for a set period of time – often before being qualified to get a real job there. Internships are also a great way to build a network of people who will help with getting a real job when the time is right.  The experience could even be an entrance into a full-time position. This is how I broke into the music industry with no connections. Having an internship on my resume helped me be taken seriously. A second internship led to the next, then to a job on a Rolling Stones tour, a marketing job at a major record label and multiple jobs in the music licensing world placing music in TV, film and advertisements.

5)    Recommend volunteering

The odds are that your student wants to change some aspect of the world for the better. There’s probably a non-profit nearby where he can volunteer. He’ll naturally be passionate about his work and likely get an opportunity to take on more responsibility than he would at a paying job or internship. This can help him to develop skills, meet new people, and discover the types of work he likes.

The key is to help your student test the waters before diving into the work world after graduation. A little parental encouragement in college can go a long way to helping her find career satisfaction in her twenties and beyond.

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