I am participating in a Super Success Skills Seminar (S4) with a local school district next week. The week long program provides direct interaction with a professional in the business world and high school students from the local area through a series of preset email questions, mock interviews, and a capstone lunch.
The email questions start off with a description of the career and education required, best things/worst things about the job, and the importance of math and communication skills. The final two two questions are: what are three pieces of advice you can give someone preparing for future employment and what do you wish you would have known about the world of work when you were in high school?
My quick answers are below and I'd love to hear what advice you have for these high school students.
What are three pieces of advice you can give someone preparing for future employment?
- Take time to discover what types of things you like to do – solve problems, build things, work with children, work outside, work in an office, sell things – and then seek out opportunities that let you do that.
- Don’t be afraid – or opposed – to entry level positions, starting at the bottom and working your way up. There is gold in knowing exactly how things work and giving people the opportunity to see you in action. You are applying for your next job every day so be professional, no matter how menial a task seems to be to you.
- Volunteer and network with others and be prepared to let them know who you are and what you have to offer – friends, family, neighbors, hiring managers, school officials, etc.
What do you wish you would have known about the world of work when you were in high school?
- It’s tough to get a job and companies are generally not there to help you find a job with them – they are looking for the candidates that can do the job.
- It is your responsibility to be prepared to interview, to come to work when expected and to be professional at all times. Your career is your responsibility - no one else’s – and sometimes it’s just not fair when someone gets hired and you don’t. Get over it quickly, figure out what you can do better next time and get back out there.
What do you think? What would you tell these very interested and eager high school students?