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Career Prep & Exploration for Kids

Career exploration can be a ton of fun! Here’s how to get started as a kid.

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Preparation for a job does not only apply to grown-ups. Kids may consider preparing themselves for a satisfying career, regardless of their age. If you’re a kid who wants to start a career that will lead to success, this article is for you. We will share steps on how to prepare yourself for a career as a kid, how your parents can help, career definitions, and some great resources to help you get there!

Why Career Exploration Is Important at a Young Age

Sitting in the window, you watch the big red truck and listen to the loud sirens driving by. Early on, you learned that it was a firetruck. You and your friends play and pretend to be firefighters; maybe you even have the costume. The firetruck is the beginning of career exploration!

Career exploration is a way for kids to learn more about career options. Kids who explore their career options are more likely to go to college after finishing high school.

Also, career exploration can assist you with improving your overall learning about the different career options available out there to consider. This will encourage you to define career goals and work towards reaching them. 

When you have a solid understanding of the working world, you will be able to easily envision how well you would fit into the world as well. Then you can define real goals and continue with pursuing them.

Did you know that kids who actively engage with career exploration are more likely to plan high school courses? That’s because you know what you need to do to get into your future career.

How to Explore Different Career Options as a Kid

The best way to start exploring your career options as a kid is by conducting research. There are multiple methods available for you to explore different career options as a kid. Let’s look at some of the most effective ways out of them.

Read and Learn More About Different Careers

Reading is the best method available for you to proceed with exploring different career options as a kid. You can find useful information available on the internet and in your local library. Ask your parents to help you so you will have access to the right resources and read them.

Talk to People From Different Occupations

You can also get in touch with people who work in different occupations and learn more about what they do. This will help you to understand the career options with a practical viewpoint. For example, you can figure out what they are training for and how they secured those job options. Then, with your parent’s help, think about asking teachers at your school or librarians what their job is like.

Network!

Networking might be a new term for kids. Networking means building relationships with individuals who can help you reach your goals. If you ask if your friend can come over to play, that’s networking.

As a kid, you will be able to network with people around you, such as parents, friends, and family members. With their help, you better understand the different career options available for you to consider. Then you can get exposed to other careers based on their experiences. But, of course, you will also need to learn what to ask to get helpful information.

How Your Parents Can Help You With Career Exploration

Your parents can play a significant role in your career exploration and research. That’s because they will be able to provide you with resources and guidance. Your parents can help you by:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses
  • Motivating you towards pursuing your goals
  • Helping you to connect with individuals who work in different occupations
  • Encouraging you to network with people who can help you reach your goals

Talk to your parents and let them know that you are want to learn more about the different career opportunities. Then you can let them know about your interests as well. Based on this, your parents or guardians can guide you on the various career opportunities that match your interest. 

For example, your parent can take you to their office for a day. This will be a helpful way to learn about different occupations. In addition, this is a perfect time to talk to their co-workers and supervisors about their jobs. Also, consider visiting the offices of your relatives and parents’ friends. Exploring different workplace environments can help you gather more ideas about jobs you like.

Career Definitions

Career definitions help you understand what careers are about. They give you a general idea of the work done in different professions. Let’s look at some of the most common career terms for kids to know. We put them in alphabetical order.

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is training future members in a workplace for a specific industry. It includes both studying as well as on-the-job training.

Career Paths

Career paths are the different stages you will go through in your career. Therefore, it is a way of planning your career journey.

The starting stage is when you are just starting your career. This is when you are exploring different career options and trying to find the right fit for you. It’s important to take your time at this stage and not rush into anything.

College Major

Choosing a college major is an important decision. That’s because it will determine the career you can pursue after completing your studies.

Internship

An internship is a type of job taken up by people who want to gain work experience in a particular field. It is mainly done by people who are still studying.

Paid Work

Paid work is the type of work that you are paid for. This can be either full-time or part-time work. It is also known as employment.

Profession

A profession is an occupation that requires you to have specialized knowledge and skills. It is a career that you can pursue after completing your studies. For example, being a lawyer is a profession.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are directly related to the behavior of employees. Therefore, all employees need to be equipped with excellent soft skills, as they can be used to develop strong relationships with others in the workplace.

Trade

A trade is an occupation that involves using your hands to create or fix things. Tradespeople are also known as skilled workers. For example, being a carpenter is a trade.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work is unpaid work that is done for a cause or an organization. It is a great way to gain work experience.

Now that you know some of the most common career definitions, you can start thinking about your career goals. First, talk to your parents and other adults in your life about the different types of careers that interest you.

Books and YouTube Channels to Learn About Careers

There are multiple books and YouTube channels available for students to learn more about careers. Let’s explore some of the most well-known options. See if you can find a free copy at your local library. If not the library, then try your bookstore. Ask your parent or an adult to navigate you to the YouTube channels below too. For more great reads, check out our entire list of career exploration books for kids!

What Can I Be?

What Can I Be? Stem Careers from A-Z is a colorful and inspiring picture book that teaches our next generation about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations. It helps children 5-8 years to vision themselves in these future roles.

What’s My Superpower

What’s My Superpower is a book about “finding your thing.” It encourages children to think about their passions and what they might want to do when they grow up. The book is for children ages 5-18 and uses superheroes as an analogy to help children understand that everyone has unique talents.

Molly Wright

Ted by Molly Wright, how every child can thrive by five features Molly Wright a youth TED speaker on Youtube, who shares stories on how childhood games can develop career curiosity. It will help children link connections between their everyday play and future occupations.

Highlights Kids

Highlights Kids (titled: Jobs I Can Have When I Grow Up) is another YouTube channel that shares a fun guessing game about finding out what they want to be when they grow up and what it takes for specific careers. It will help you to learn about the fast-paced career world interactively.

Now you have a better understanding of the different career options available to consider. Exploring career options is exciting and full of possibilities. Remember your parents and adults in your life are a great resource to help guide you through this process. Use the resources we provided to understand your career choices better. Stay curious, keep exploring, and enjoy the voyage!

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About the Author

Simone Feagen

Simone is a career coach whose clients have included Fortune 500 companies, healthcare industry professionals, and many more. She is a mother and has Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional (LBBP) and Six Sigma Champion Certified (SSCC) certifications from the Management and Strategy Institute.

Last updated on: May 3, 2022