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If you’re like most teenagers, then you’ll have parents, rellies, carers (and teachers) who’ll have your best interests at heart. In fact, research shows that this ‘older generation’ can have a big impact on the decisions you make, whether you realise it or not.

For example, you may want to chat about career stuff with your parents and let them know what you’re thinking you’ll do when you’ve finished school (ie, TAFE, Uni, 12 months travel). Or if you know your dream job already, you might want to share all the things you love about it, and how you plan to make it happen.

Here’s some tips on how you can start tricky career conversations.

Know yourself and your options

If you’re not sure where to start when making a career decision, don’t worry. Our Career Toolkit can help guide you. To begin with, think about what your interests and skills are, and the things you’re passionate about. Knowing this can provide vital clues on what to look for in a job so that you’re more likely to enjoy it. A big mistake is to blindly pick any options just because your friends are doing it, or because someone else tells you it’s a good idea. If it interests you and if you are willing to pursue it, then go for it (but do it because YOU want to, not someone else).

On the other hand, you might have a whole list of career options to choose from. We recommend you try and bring it down to three or four. Then take a deep dive into each option and get more information to help you make an informed decision. If you’re still confused, then take your time to analyse which one captures your interest more. Also, consider how it lines up with what you want from life in the next few years.  Once you’re sure of what you want to do, then it’s almost time to talk with your parents, or carer. But before you do….

Do your research

Before talking with a parent or a trusted adult, make sure you’re prepared, and that you have an idea of what you’re going to say.  Of course, if you know what your dream job is already (and you’ve done your homework), then tell them why you’re so passionate about it – and the more you know about it the better.  Or, if you plan to pursue further education as part of the journey, try and bring some information along when you have the conversation (parent’s always love a brochure!)

When you talk about the career you want to pursue, remember to back it up with thorough research, and they’ll be more likely to take your plans seriously.

Be open to suggestions and advice 

It’s natural for your parents and the people that care about you to be involved in your future. In fact, they might have their own ideas and suggestions about your potential. Even if you’re not exactly on the same page, try and listen with an open mind. But also make sure to put forward your opinion, backing it up with facts and logic as much as possible. They’ll know you well, so they might surprise you with suggestions you hadn’t thought about.

To share your hopes and dreams with someone you trust is a courageous act. (Well done!). You might also want to get a more objective opinion – so before you go too far, it might be a good time to chat to your school’s Career Advisor about the options you have researched. They can help you take the next steps on your exciting career journey.

Raise doubts and ask for help 

You may feel empowered to plan your career. But don’t feel like you have to figure out everything by yourself. If there’s something you’re unable to solve, it’s OK to ask for help from parents and carers. As the old saying goes, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. What’s more, your olds will appreciate being involved.

Students researching scholarships

Key takeaway

It’s important for you to start building skills for the workforce outside of your school bubble. Developing skills such as communication, decision-making, researching and multitasking can set you up for life.

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