Home > K-12 Students > Prepare > Need to Know > How do you prepare for your future career? How do you prepare for your future career?

Too often, students spend years in college, graduate and start their first job, only to find out that they don’t like it. Don’t let that happen to you. Find out know which careers are a good fit for you now. Learn about the successful habits that will help you in any job, too.

Explore careers online

If you are still deciding between many career choices, taking a career interest inventory may help you narrow your choices. Your skills and interests should match what you want to do. Otherwise, you may not be good at your job or you might not be happy doing it.

Once you have a career in mind, you can use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ A-Z List of Careers to see what a typical day looks like for someone in that career. High school students can get more detailed information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, too.

Explore careers in person

It’s not enough to read about a job online or in a book. You should see if you can visit someone on the job. Talk to your parents, neighbors and family members to find a person that you can job shadow. Job shadowing means you will follow the person for a day (or a morning, or an afternoon) as they complete their normal job duties. You will learn what you like about the job and what you don’t like.

If you’re in high school, you may be able to get an internship for the summer or after school. An internship lets you do real work for an organization. It’s a great way to see if you will like working there.

Commit to your education

Your future career will require you to get some training after high school. Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ A-Z List of Careers or Occupational Outlook Handbook to see educational requirements for different careers. You can also read about your education options.

Commit now to continuing your education so you can have the career you want. You can show your commitment by saving for college and succeeding in school.

Build your teamwork skills

Employers value workers who have good teamwork skills. You can build your teamwork skills now by learning how to get along with people on a sports team, in an afterschool club or on school projects. You can even practice by keeping the peace with your siblings.

Manage your time

Your future boss will want to know that you will be at work on time every day. Start now by going to bed on time so you’re not late for school. Be punctual to other activities, too.

Develop an attitude…a good one!

Across careers, employers prefer to hire people who have a good attitude about their work. In some cases, a person with a good attitude will be hired instead of someone with more experience or skills. You can give a person experience or train them to do new things, but you can’t train them to have a good attitude.

Your attitude about school and other commitments will show what your attitude towards your job will be like. Try to be cheerful and helpful even when you don’t feel like it. If it helps, pretend your teachers or coaches are your boss. How would you act differently?

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