Posted December 12, 2017 by Mark Perna
When it comes to educational choices and career direction, young people today don’t know what they don’t know. It’s not their fault; many times, they just haven’t encountered the full range of possibilities available to them. As parents, educators, and workforce development professionals, we have the opportunity to open their eyes to the many diverse and rewarding pathways in today’s new economy.
Once young people do become aware of the possibilities in their fields of interest, it’s time to fuel their career passion—by blazing what I like to call “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
There’s no better moment than now for students to discover their future. Here are some first steps.
A career is so much more than its title. We should spur young people to find out as much as they can about the positions that catch their eye. One tool to do this in the classroom is the Career Tree. The goal is to start asking questions like:
These questions, and many others like them, can help young people get a true feel for what a potential career is like—and how it could fit them. Whenever possible, students should be encouraged to discover these answers for themselves.
To help make this an empowering experience, my team and I have put together a quick list of the top free career resource websites. This is not a comprehensive list, nor are we affiliated with these sites in any way. We’ve just found them to be helpful for our Career Tree clients and wanted to share them with the broader community.
“Welcome to your tool for career exploration and job analysis! O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!”
My Next Move
This career database, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, is designed to be student focused and includes a career assessment tool, along with details on more than 900 occupations.
“Get in-depth details about nearly 900 occupations. A career profile is a great place to start your career research. The detailed information can help you get a good idea of an occupation. That’s often enough to determine whether you want to learn more or realize it’s not for you.”
“Search, browse or query through over 900 different careers. Read career profiles, job descriptions, educational requirements, and career outlook information. Find out what kind of salary to expect, watch short videos, and even learn about the types of people that typically go into each career. If it’s not in here, it’s probably illegal.”
“Get expert guidance on all stages of the Job Search process.”
The Balance Careers
“Whatever field you’re trying to pursue, we’ll help you achieve your dreams, with advice on education, training, important job decisions, career changes, and more.”
U.S. Bureau of Labor
“Find careers that relate to your interests and learn fun facts about the economy and jobs.”
Mapping Your Future
“Mapping Your Future provides programs and initiatives to help people achieve financial wellness and lead successful lives.”
“Find a career that makes you happy every morning you wake up.”
Jumpstart’s Reality Check
“Students, imagine you’ve just graduated from high school or college, and you’re about to embark on your life as an independent, adult consumer. Answer these simple questions about what you think your lifestyle will be.”
Learn How To Become
“A career is a commitment; a career is hard work; a career is your passion. Are you ready to find yours?”
“Our mission is to help everyone fulfill their potential in a changing world and explore which new job could be the right fit for them.”
Confident career direction comes from knowledge and passion, working together to propel the young person forward to pursue their dreams. When we equip our students and trainees with not just information, but also the ability to uncover the answers themselves, we’ve changed their world. I hope you are able to share these tools and others like them with the young people in your sphere of influence — so they can know what they know and take action on that knowledge.
Resources for Parents
Insights for how parents can support their child’s career journey, with the top seven ways to open—and deepen—the career conversation with your student.
Answering Why Book Free Resources
Including a book discussion guide, two 30-second action guides, and a condensed career conversation starter for parents to supplement the insights from the award-winning bestseller, Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance for Younger Generations.
The Perna Syndicate Micro-Podcast
Every weekday, I host a 90-second show to help you make a bigger difference—in education, workforce development, and the new multigenerational workplace. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Amazon Alexa.
Mark Perna’s Forbes.com Channel
Check out my latest pieces at Forbes.com, where I write weekly on unleashing young people’s top performance in the new multigenerational workplace.
Paradigm Shift Newsletter
Get the latest insights and tools to shift the paradigm in education, careers, and economic development, delivered straight to your inbox.
If you believe that every career opportunity should be on the table for every student, join us for the groundbreaking Education with Purpose: Call to Action livestream experience on October 21, 2021. It’s time to drive home the power of purposeful education—and make students career ready, period.