Planning ahead leads to confidence when facing a challenge, especially in the job world. That’s why thinking about your future career early will only help you in the long run. These career experts and Crown College alumni offered their top tips on career advice.
Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D., President of Career Key:
1. Start young.
From the moment you get to middle school, building the foundation of your future career becomes serious. Don’t limit yourself to your first career choice, because you will go through many career changes throughout your life.
2. Get to know yourself.
In order to pick a career, you need to know both your likes and dislikes. Become acquainted with your personality type and whether or not you thrive working around people. The key here is understanding your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Know that you have many options.
Do some research about the different jobs offered. You might be surprised by how many career options you have. Until you research your options, you won’t know the things you are skilled at and enjoy.
Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., founder of LiveCareer:
1. Choose a challenging high school job.
While you don’t want your high school job to be too stressful, getting a job that is challenging will help stretch you. Networking with people in your field of interest will give you strong connections down the road.
2. Find a way to get experience.
Whatever job you go for, choose the one with the best experience early on. Employers look for applicants with previous job skills. Also, jobs that are challenging and offer good experience are more likely to promote you.
3. Network with adults.
If there’s one thing Gen Z has mastered, it’s social media. But what about networking with the wise? Don’t be afraid to talk to adults about their day jobs. It might even help you get an idea for what you want in a career.
Dana Henn, School Counselor at Waconia High School:
1. Job-shadow professionals in the field.
Sometimes careers aren’t as they seem in the movies. Setting aside a day to job-shadow someone you admire is a great way to see behind the scenes of what the job is actually like.
2. Follow your gut, not just the money.
Money does not guarantee happiness. Think of money as an added bonus when you enjoy what you’re doing with your life. Follow your gut and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
3. Sit in on a college class in the field you’re interested in.
Along with shadowing a professional, visiting a college-level class is practical and easy. Sometimes professors have unique perspectives on the career fields they teach, so talking with them could give you new insights.
Katie Hinkle, B.A. in Communication, Crown College Class of 2017:
1. Don’t limit yourself to your major.
What you choose for a major does not limit your career. Your career can take so many different avenues and could change in an instant. Picking a major does not mean it’s the only thing you will do in life.
2. If you enjoy your field, you will enjoy your career path.
Start with doing what you love, and know your career path will change as life changes. Make sure to learn everything you can about your field and your career will flourish.
3. Don’t settle for just anything.
Really dig deep and go after the things you want to do. Keep in mind that you always have to start somewhere. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of starting at the bottom because that is how you make it to the top.
Hannah Chisham, B.A. in Education, Crown College Class of 2016:
1. Choose something you see yourself doing.
When choosing a career path, make sure you can see yourself doing it five to ten years down the road. It should be something you’re passionate about. If it’s not something you see yourself doing day in and day out, reconsider your major.
2. Ask yourself why you want this career.
You must be able to answer that question head on. Knowing why you want to pursue a career will help you avoid picking one you’re only half-heartedly invested in.
3. Choose a practical degree.
Especially if you still don’t know what career you want, pick a degree that can be used for many things. For example, even if you major in business or communications, remember that you can still use those degrees in ministry down the road.
Caitlin Johnson, B.A. in Education, Crown College Class of 2015:
1. Listen to the people who know you.
Take time to ask the people who know what your strengths are. Don’t overlook the wisdom of the people who know you best when learning about yourself.
2. Choose the job with the best opportunity.
Sometimes it’s good to pick a career based on the opportunities it will give you in the future, rather than the salary it offers you in the present.
3. Don’t be afraid of the future.
Pursue what you like, don’t overthink it, and be open to change. Not knowing the future is okay. People try more challenging things when they don’t stress over failing or the future.
Kaylyn Strange, B.A. in Communication, Crown College Class of 2017:
1. Pick something you’re passionate about.
There’s nothing better than loving what you do, because then it seems less like work.
2. Try to align the things you are passionate about with your skill set.
If you’re good with people, pick a career where customer service is the main focus. If you’re good with design and creativity, pick a career where those skills can shine.
3. Don’t be afraid to start small.
No one starts at the top. Remember that the journey is the exciting part, so starting small gives you the opportunity to grow.