As your children grow up, it’s important to expose them to a wide range of job experiences so they can start to get an idea of what passion they want to pursue in a career. If you start this process earlier, your child may find industries or jobs that they don’t like, enabling them to focus on what they do like. Ultimately this can lead to a better chance of lifelong career fulfillment!1. Think of Their Personal Interests
Most kids have a range of personal interests that can directly correspond to a career. If they’re interested in dolphins, talk to them about marine biology, take them to zoos or show them Youtube videos regarding animal care. If they’re passionate about trucks and construction equipment, take them with you to the mechanic’s shop and ask if they can watch your car being worked on. Or, next time you see a large construction project, explain what’s happening and tell them a bit about the different roles on a construction site. If they’re showing a talent for reorganizing and decorating their room, show them portfolios from design experts like Key Interiors so they can see how the small things they enjoy can equal big-time work opportunities. Google is truly your best friend here!
2. Talk to Friends
You likely have a network of personal and professional connections that you can tap for this purpose. Reach out via email or LinkedIn to professional connections that have a job your child is interested in pursuing. Take a friend out to lunch with your child to talk about their role and responsibilities. If you have a close friend, you can even ask if your child can accompany them to work for a day or a few hours in order to learn more about their job.
3. Start Internships Young
Internships are a great way to experience a job without long-term commitment. If your child is showing interest in journalism, see if a local paper would take them in as an intern. If your child is showing interest in marketing, call a few agencies around town and see if anyone is accepting summer internships. Look at Indeed or school boards for internship opportunities as well.
As your children get older, these internships should ideally be paid internships to reward your child for their hard work. For younger children (14+), they may be able to do part-time internships or unpaid internships to get their feet wet. You may even see if a business your child really wants to work in would take them in for a week and put them to good use around the company.
If your child is lucky enough to know what they want to be early on (I didn’t till I was late-thirties!), get them in on the process as well. While a well-meaning plea from mom or dad can take you far, a letter, an email, a call, or a video from your child may open more opportunities for them. And if it doesn’t lead to career opportunities, it will at least show them hands-on how life works, and help create empathy for those who have jobs many of us take for granted!