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What are some career or leadership experiences that will help me choose my career

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I'm currently interested in business and the STEM world, though I still enjoy playing sports and instrumental music. I would really appreciate any opportunities (online or in-person)!
#careerchoice #highschool #stem #business #career #opportunities #internship #volunteering

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9 answers

Sarah’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

Great question. Finding a career that you love and are passionate about can be challenging and sometimes will take your life pursuing! I have been working for over 10 years now and my career path has taken a few turns, and that's ok! I would start by thinking about how you enjoy spending your time and where do you find fulfillment.

I know you said you enjoy playing an instrument and sports, a great way to gain some leadership experience could be helping others in areas you are passionate it. Maybe you spend some time mentoring people younger than you who share your passion for music and sports. Volunteering is a great way to gain leadership and life experience, even if you don't think it is directly tied to the career you want to pursue. I gained some of my most valuable life experience being of service to other people and dedicating time to help others.

Try and find some organizations/groups you are interested in volunteering at. You can also find someone younger than you who needs some guidance and mentoring, take them out to coffee. You will be surprised how much knowledge you probably already have! I hope this helps!
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Maggie’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

That's wonderful that you're looking for opportunities to help narrow in on your career choice. I think that one of the best ways to figure out what you want to do is to start speaking with parents/aunts/uncles/friends/school alumni in various fields and doing informational interviews to hear what they do and whether or not those careers are something you may be interested in as well. Informational interviews are basically just casual conversations in which you ask someone about their career and learn more about opportunities in that field. The interviews aren't necessarily to try to get an internship or job in their field.

I'd also recommend attending career fairs for business and STEM to speak with people currently in careers to help understand what opportunities are out there.

Once you've decided the industry or career path you'd like to explore, I'd recommend looking into what the entry-level position is in that industry and learn how to get an internship or shadowing experience in that field. Internships are incredibly invaluable because they give you a taste of what a career in that field would be like for a short-term period without the obligation of an acceptance of a full-time position. They can also help you learn whether you do or do not like the industry before you complete a degree in the field.

Good luck, Ella!
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Tim’s Answer

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Easiest is find a mentor to help guide your interest, next would be to Volunteer to get practical experience. Finally talk to someone in a given field you are interested in. People love to help and share their experiences.
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Melisa’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

Thanks for your question. Maggie’s answer is great, so I’ll just add some advice from a general perspective in finding a career path. I also feel it also helps if you’re in a job or career that is also something you are passionate about. It may take some time to find your "dream job" but sometimes, volunteering gives you a chance to try out different types of careers and opportunities.

This is an older article, but one of my favorites. It shares the process of asking yourself three key questions to find your own “Career Sweet Spot.”
1. What brings you joy?
2. What are you great at?
3. What will people pay you, enough, to do? http://developmentcrossroads.com/2012/08/3-questions-to-find-your-career-sweet-spot/

You can start with questions like these and complete research on careers you want to more about.
Best wishes for success in your educational and career goals.

#careerchoice #highschool #stem #business #career #opportunities #internship #volunteering

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

  • As Maggie suggested, set-up informational interview. Look for a mentor in a career that interests you and learn more about their job, what they like, dislike about it. Ask if you can also set-up a job shadow session.
  • Here’s another approach to “Finding your calling.” https://blog.ed.ted.com/2016/05/10/7-ideas-about-finding-the-work-you-were-meant-to-do/
  • Keep asking questions. The more you ask, the more you can receive helpful feedback and suggestions.
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Gabriela’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

This is great that you are looking for advice on finding your career. Let me start off by saying that it is a journey not a destination. You will change your mind about your career through the years. It is okay, remember to be patient with yourself!

My best advice for this, would be to try out your favorite interests. If you like STEM, look for volunteer/internship opportunities in the field. You can even see if you can volunteer in elementary schools who have STEM programs.
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Bill’s Answer

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Ella, your interesrts are broad, and the previous answers offer lots of possibilities. My advice is to not be overwhelmed about what to do next or to second guess if you are making the "right" or "perfect" decisions at this point. This is a "big picture" answer to your question.

1. Many people try very hard to identify that perfect job/career path right out of high school, and later discover a different one they like even better. That is the effect of experience, which comes only with time. Don't try to secocnd guess yourself.
Example: My brother went through three changes of career in is first ten years out of school before hitting his "perfect" one, dentistry, which he still practices today (he is about 60.) He started studying marine biology, then switched ot medical technology, and finally to dentistry, gathering degrees and jobs along the way. I, on the other hand, decided on electrical engineering in 5th grade, and never wavered. We are both happy with our outcomes and appreciate the real-life lessons learned along the way.

2. Take a path that appeals to you most now and be open to what you can learn about it day by day. Future paths and direction will solidify as you gain experience. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Be open to change. Be a modern explorer like the European sailors of old looking for the riches of Cathay and bumping into North America that was out of sight until they got out there and made their own voyages of discovery.

3. If you are open to new things, who knows but you could end up in a field that touches all your interests: business, STEM, sports, and playing musical instruments. A few that come to mind are that you can explore now are Color Guard, marching bands, Sports Medicine (including prosthetics, robotics, etc.), jobs involving large event venues like concert halls, outdoor music stages, theme park entertainment, and sports stadium design/management/event planning. How about owning a major league team?

4. Even if you end up concentrating in only one of your areas of interest, keep the others alive, because they make you a more well-rounded citizen and they help your brain grow. Example: My career was electrical engineering, very mentally demanding. To take a break from college study and later from work, I rode a bicycle, played tennis, played trumpet in various ensembles, and studied electronic music. Sports and music complement the intense thinking of STEM work and offer mental refreshment.

5. And if you find yourself in a STEM career, watch for good opportunities to improve your personal and organizational management skills to advance your career. I found that my employers were more than willing to allow me to take management courses and seminars (and they paid for the courses). Then, I ended up teaching engineering and management to my peers!

Bill recommends the following next steps:

  • Take a step forward in response to all the answers you have received, with the goal of answering the question, "What am I learning about this field of work? Does it make we want to learn more, or try something else. Why or why not?" Never dwell on "I am not very good at this" but rather ask,"What can I do to get better at this?"
  • Try your best not to be too self-conscious or feel inadequate. We all started with zero knowledge. You will find good mentors who accept you where you are and will be delighted to help you advance.
  • Do at least a monthly Self-check: Am I drawing something from all you areas of interest regularly, even if I am now deep into one area? Do some music. Play a casual sport. Volunteer to lead something; you will get a bunch of management experience in the process.
  • Specific exercise: Visit the website wgi.org - it's a color guard organization. Find multiple critical aspects of STEM ,management, music, and sports within that one organization; all of these must work together to make the organization successful, but look for great areas of importance "behind the scenes."
  • Finally, as you are doing one or more of the above, answer this question for yourself: "Do I see myself as a natural leader or a loyal follower?" The world needs both. Explore in some detail the one you feel more comfortable with, but also take some risks in the other area so you can discover more about your potential.
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Victoria’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

As many have said before me volunteering can be a great way to live out your passion while still maintaining a lucrative career path you are interested in and lots of companies actually offer benefits for employees who work with nonprofits. Volunteering also allows you to change your mind and try new things as often as you want.

I work in the Corporate Social Responsibility department of my company so I help employees utilize those benefits offered by the company. Some examples are paid volunteer time off, a matching program for monetary and volunteer donations, and in office fundraising events.

Good Luck!
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Victoria’s Answer

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Hi Ella,

As many have said before me volunteering can be a great way to live out your passion while still maintaining a lucrative career path you are interested in and lots of companies actually offer benefits for employees who work with nonprofits. Volunteering also allows you to change your mind and try new things as often as you want.

I work in the Corporate Social Responsibility department of my company so I help employees utilize those benefits offered by the company. Some examples are paid volunteer time off, a matching program for monetary and volunteer donations, and in office fundraising events.

Good Luck!
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Fiona’s Answer

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I would recommend finding volunteer/internship opportunities in your area. This can help you build your network to find mentors and opportunities.

Most companies now promote work life balance and could have sports teams you can join, not related to the job but a good way to continue with your interested. I worked at Oracle and they had a World Cup and teams would travel from many countries to compete.
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