Parents send their kids to school to learn. At least, that used to be the reason to send your kids to school. Nowadays, since the Great Recession, parents are sending their kids to school in order to get the best opportunities, to find the best jobs possible upon graduation.
Most kids, teens, and young adults want a job. Video games, vehicles, clothes, and the like don’t come cheap.
And, the days of finding a part-time gig to pay for rent, car payments, and insurance (plus parties), are kind of non-existent.
So, what can students do now to prepare for a job after graduation?
Here are some tips based off of each grade level:
It seems extreme to start looking for a job, once in middle or secondary school.Going to school is the full-time job. But, students enrolled in magnet programs or special classes that accelerate students to the next level, may be encouraged to consider their career options now.
- Find out what hobbies interest the student (reading, math, technology) this will be a nice foundation for high school but don’t pigeon-hole them.
- Find out if the school offers advanced, high school courses, or AP courses.
- Ask the guidance counselors about programs, clubs, and potential scholarship opportunities that can help students meet up with members of their community go mentoring.
Freshmen year is tough with a capital “T”. But as long as students stay motivated. They should be able to survive their first year, and hopefully, snag a job by graduation.
- Keep grades and GPA’s high. This is important for many reasons, but mainly because certain schools have strict criteria for their students because of the competitive nature of their environment. Future seniors do not need undue stress because their grades were poor three years prior (trust me, it’s stressful).
- Look for summer jobs or internships as soon as the student reaches legal age.
- Practice creating a curriculum vitae or resume find out how through CollegeBoard.
- Find out more about free college courses, dual-enrollment, and/or early college in your region, these programs should be FREE to high school students, but check with the guidance counselor or school board, first.
Sophomore year is a slippery ride. Between driving courses, socializing, and PSATs. This year disappears in a blur and is treated like the invisible middle child. But, the goal at the end of this year is to secure a career or at least an idea of a career.
- Volunteer – Work at an animal shelter, a local hospice center or nursing home, or team up with fellow students and clean the local beaches/neighborhoods.
- Work on getting a driver’s license.
- What are the student’s interests now? It must’ve changed or at least the idea is starting to shape out since middle school and freshman year. For example, there’s going to be students who excel at English and love writing, so their career is pretty much mapped out for them. And, then there’re students that loathe chemistry class, excels at English, but loves astrophysics and writing anime blog posts; not so easy mapping a career now.
- Because of the above example consider a career aptitude test, just to gauge where the student’s career options are leaning towards. More options are better than none.
11th & 12th Grade:
These two years are the most tedious, trying, and exciting of times in any student’s high school career. Juniors and seniors have responsibilities that will feel insurmountable, but once it’s over, the real work begins.
- Look for jobs that suit the student’s interests – Do they like marine biology? Then a summer gig at the aquarium may be suitable.
- Do not focus on salaries just, yet. Demographics, regions, and type of work determines the salary of most employees. And most graduates will start from the bottom and work their way up anyway, through entry-level positions (there are outliers, though).
- Students should look for opportunities to focus on gathering experience, education, networking skills and negotiation skills, before entering the job force.
- Find out if a dream job or passion can become a side gig. Following one’s dreams or passion is a great starting point, but can it be sustained? A dream or passion needs to be planned out the same way one would plan out a business. Because one day it may be a business.
undergraduates and/or The Undecided:
In this section, I’m going to be more personal and switch over my POV.
I hopped off the college train after receiving my A.A. I worked a day-job and pursued writing during the early mornings and late nights I had free.
Students may not have a clue what they’d like to do, plans can change, they may become undecided, or finding a job is just difficult, especially thanks to competition.
But, don’t give up.
- Vocational schools
- Free online courses through various websites, like MIT OpenCourseWare.
- Paid online courses through subscription-based classes, like Skillshare.
- Pursue additional schooling (with caution due to loans and financial aid packages), especially if your dream includes being an engineer, doctor, or highly skilled professional.
- Take a gap year to pursue different things such as travel, job-hopping, or a start-up
You’re not a failure if you don’t get a job the minute you graduate from high school or college. And, even those individuals who found a great career or job of their own may have trouble loving it. It’s not a bad thing.
Just consider finding a job as trying a new dish. Don’t like it? Toss it and try something else. Just keep going. And, don’t allow life to get in the way of living it to the fullest.
Finding a job is tough regardless of education or age group. But I hope this post helps future students (and former students) that are going to enter the job market.