First, I’d like to wish all the hard-working women out there doing a wonderful job being moms a Happy Mother’s Day! It’s not an easy job and I hope you all get to spend some time today doing the things you enjoy and spending time with those you love!
Throughout the year the New York Times college section, The Choice, runs a checklist for high schools seniors and juniors on what they should be doing each month. The checklists, which are written by college counselors from around the country, genuinely contain helpful advice and I like to share them with my own students. On May’s checklist for juniors, there was one tip in particular that I wanted to talk about today and that’s how to make the most of your summer.
On the checklist it’s referred to as summer jobs and enrichment but I would expand that to include career exploration.
Why? Because it’s never too early to start exploring where your interests and skills may lead you.
Maybe you’re good with numbers but you have no idea what it would be like to be an accountant or an actuary. Maybe you don’t even know what an actuary is.
You’ve thought about physical therapy and athletic training but you really don’t know the difference between the two.
Perhaps, as a young child, you were always building things with your LEGOs but you’re not sure if that interest would translate into a career in engineering or construction management.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ve had a lot of ideas about what you might do with your life but you’ve never taken the time to tell anyone let alone spent time researching them.
Well, if any of this sounds familiar, then your upcoming summer is a great way to get off that proverbial horse and get to work figuring out just who you are going to be and why it’s going to matter.
The checklist talks about getting a part-time job or going away for a couple weeks to a college-sponsored summer program to help enhance your college applications. And while experiences like that can help solidify your profile in the eyes of college admission counselors, there’s also a lot of value in securing a job shadow or informational interview. While either would only last an a couple hours or even just a full day, spending time with someone who does what you think you may want to do is time well spent.
So how do you do this? Well, first start talking to your parents, friends, teachers, and your school counselor about what you’re interested in. Talk to them about some of these ideas you’ve had and that you’d like to explore them further. Find out who they know who might do something similar to what you’re describing. Then, arrange to be introduced to this person even if it’s just over the phone. Be prepared to talk some more about what you’re interested in and that you would appreciate learning more about what they do, how they got around to doing it and what they would recommend to a young, interested person like you.
You may not find what you’re looking for by doing a job shadow or informational interview, but you’ll NEVER find it if you don’t try.
Have questions about doing a job shadow or what to ask on an informational interview? Use the comment box below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.