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Attention parents: did you know you're probably the biggest influence on your child's future career choices?

Students are often unaware of the career planning steps they need to take to get the career they want. That's why it's so important to proactively stand beside your child and offer support as he or she begins to explore future careers.


Many Children have Unrealistic Goals

Many children have unrealistic goals, like becoming a professional athlete or rock star, or simply “being rich.”

Granted, some people achieve these dreams, so they shouldn't be completely discouraged, but parents need to be aware of the fine line between encouraging a child's aspirations and steering them toward realistic choices.


Your Child Isn’t You

Your child may want to follow in your footsteps, or forge a different path, but either way, keep an open mind.

Enjoy this journey together as your child answers the questions, “Who am I? Where am I going? How will I get there?”


7 steps to Supporting Your Child’s Career Development

Get started by introducing your child to the Career Planning Process developed by Dr. JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey:

1.    Realize career choices must be made. The first step in career planning is to learn that some tentative choices will need to be made.

  • Praise your child for good work or behavior.
  • Remind your child that all kinds of work are needed and are honorable.
  • Teach how to make effective decisions by using examples.
  • Discuss how careers relate to school subjects.

2.   Learn what you like to do and what you do well. Now is the best time for your child to discover his or her personal interests and skills.

  • Expose your child to a wide variety of activities.
  • When helping with homework, discuss how tasks may be used in a job.
  • Encourage your child to take the Kuder Career Interests Assessment® (KCIA), which measures interests, and the Kuder Skills Confidence Assessment® (KSCA), a self-rating of skills. Both assessments are available in Kuder Navigator® (kudernavigator.com) or the custom Kuder system at your child's school.
  • Talk with your child about his or her talents and strengths.

3.   Identify occupations to consider seriously. In today's world, it's often best to consider several potential occupations rather than focus on one.

  • Make sure your child is exploring occupations.
  • Remind your child that you can't “cram” for a career, and discourage postponing a career decision until their senior year in high school.
  • Review your child's Navigator assessment results.

4.   Get detailed information about some occupations. This step is often the most eye-opening. Expect your child to be surprised as he or she uncovers details about an occupation such as average salary, projected growth, and daily tasks that accompany the job.

  • Encourage your child to interview, job shadow, or participate in an internship.
  • Sit down with your child and read about occupations suggested by his or her Navigator assessment results.

5.   Choose a short list of occupations. Narrowing down options could be a challenge for your child, so use as many strategies as you can to reduce their amount of options.

  •  Explain your own (or your spouse's) occupation.
  •  Review the list of suggested occupations listed with your child's Navigator assessment results.

6.   Plan for future education. Education and/or training requirements vary widely by occupation, so your child will undoubtedly benefit from research and planning in advance.

  • Discuss education and training options after high school and how to get there.
  • Research suggested high school plans of study as they relate to particular career clusters.
  • Explore specific education, licensure, and certification requirements for occupations of interest.

7.   Get a Job. Once your child has reached this step, tread lightly, wish them luck, and offer to be there for the inevitable ups and downs.

  • Help your child understand what companies expect of their future employees.
  • Discuss the steps that a person needs to take in order to prepare for a job.
  • Remind your child to utilize Navigator when reviewing interviewing skills, building a resume, and writing a cover letter.

Additional Resources

  1. career assessments
  2. college and career readiness