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What are some ways I can get early experience in a career that I am interested in doing in the future?

I am a High School student. high-school-students careers

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Subject: Career question for you

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Bridget’s Answer

Hi Kayla! Depending on what future careers you may be interested in there are a few options. My first suggestion is to have a few informational interviews with people who have careers that you admire or are interested in. Having a 15-20 minute phone call is COVID safe and an easy way to get a feel for what different jobs entail. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding people working in industries you may be interested in, but if you don't have or don't want LinkedIn yet, ask parents, relatives, friends, guidance counselors, or teachers if they can put you in touch with people who can talk to you. Informational interviews are low stakes, and if you prepare correctly you can get a lot of valuable information. Just be sure to have a list of questions prepared beforehand so you can get the most out of those conversations! In non-COVID times I would also suggest seeing if you can shadow someone at their job to see what it's like to actually be at that person's place of work. For now though I think your best course of action is to do research on the industries you're considering (read articles, watch YouTube videos, etc.) to see which ones stand out to you and seem like they may be a good fit. At the end of the day, it's important to remember that the future is wide open and you have a lot of possibilities ahead of you!
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Sarah’s Answer

I agree with Lauren – it's all about building your network. I wish I would have realized that earlier!

LinkedIn is a great place to start, but also networking within young professional circles, volunteering for organizations you are passionate about, and even re-connecting with classmates from middle school and elementary school can help propel you in the future.

Another way to get a leg up is through certifications. I would research the industry you are interested in and see if you can obtain certifications. This way, when that perfect dream job lands in your lap, you have all the credentials you need.

Lastly, I'd recommend thinking about your brand and start building it through your social platforms and through your resume. If you want to be known as an expert in a certain field, start thinking about how you can tell that story.

Good luck!!
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Kayla,
Great question! I think one of the most important things to do would be to join LinkedIn, start early growing your network. The connections you begin to maintain now will definitely help you in the future when looking for jobs. I think it can also help you connect with others in similar fields who you can reach out to for mentorship.

I would recommend looking into job shadowing, case study competitions, getting involved in professional organizations related to your desired career as a student-member, and even internships paid or unpaid. The experience and insights you are able to get from these opportunities will help you build on your skillset while boosting your resume. If your school hosts career and/or job fairs that's also another great way to find opportunities related to your desired career path.
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Alice’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

One of the best ways that has worked for me is to try different things out in anything you're interested in. You never know where that road will take you and what it can evolve into. Spending time on doing things you enjoy is never a bad idea. Finding the path to what you want to do is also never a straight path, but thats the best part about it.

Reaching out to professionals or anyone in the career you're interested in is always a good starting point. Even contacting schools and scheduling informational interviews with teachers/professors are also great avenues to find information. And of course the internet is a great source too.

Good luck!
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Lindsay’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

I can't stress this enough--shadow! You can shadow almost any type of professional and at your shadowing event, you are always expected to ask questions. So, you can go prepared with specific questions that you have about the field. Sometimes thinking about a career sounds great, but when you actually see what a day in the life of a professional looks like, it may not seem all like you hyped it up to be. It's important to get past the surface level understanding of different careers and when you shadow, you basically get to spend half or the entire day with the person you're shadowing. You get to see the cool stuff and the boring stuff and see if it's really right for you.
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Kayla. Shadowing is a good way to determine if you really want to do that. Most professionals would be happy to speak with you about the field, but even let you spend part of a day with them to see what it's about . My son thought he wanted to be a physical trainer and one morning session with a college football team ended that pretty quickly! Use your network: parents, friends, teachers all would be happy to refer you--you just need to ask.

Another way is volunteering in the community at school. If you have an interest in a topic or area, that's a good way to see if it is really a fit and you really enjoy it. If your interest is accounting or finance, become a volunteer treasurer. If you are into computers and websites, see if there's a local organization that needs help with their website. Most organizations can always use the help.

But the key to either of those is being able to network and speak for yourself. That experience will help you no matte the career choice. Good luck!
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Simeon’s Answer

Aside from doing an internship, you could ask around what opportunities there are to do job shadowing. Build connections with people in the industry when you get the chance, whether at one of the aforementioned opportunities or at a job fair or competition.
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