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Helping your child into work - Careers

If you are a parent of a child leaving school or college this year, you may have noticed that job choices have changed significantly since you were considering your career options.

There are many more digital and IT related jobs available today…some of these, such as web developer or social media manager would not have existed 30 years ago. More children are going on to university when they are 18 instead of straight into work and student apprenticeships are more readily available. It can feel very confusing for parents trying to guide their child into the world of work. Here are our tips on how you can help them to realise their career goals:

1.  Be open to their ideas and listen. Try to remain impartial and don’t pressure them into a particular career path because it’s something you would have liked to do yourself, because it’s well paid, or because it’s considered a “stable career” – it won’t be stable if they hate it and have to resign!

2. Encourage them to think big, but be realistic about their skills and potential. Seeing a careers adviser can help – they will advise how to set goals and provide information and advice on how to achieve them

3. Encourage them to volunteer or do work experience. This could be part of a work experience programme at school, or as part of a scheme such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award or National Citizenship Scheme (NCS). Getting some experience in a real work environment will help them understand what they enjoy (and what they don’t enjoy!) and to gain skills that they will find useful in any workplace

4.  Think about the contacts you have in your family or circle of friends who might be useful in terms of offering work experience, an apprenticeship or even just advice about the job they do

5. Help them to prepare a CV and covering letter to include with job applications. If you feel you can’t help with this yourself, make sure they are being assisted with it at school or college, or through a careers adviser

6.  Be ahead of the game. Advance planning is really important as there may be deadlines that you need to stick to for applications etc

7. Take advantage of all of the online resources at your fingertips. There are so many websites that can be used to help search for jobs, apprenticeships and courses or to look at job profiles, case studies and make action plans. Our top four are: The National Careers Service, Not Going to Uni, Rate My Apprenticeship and Career Coach.

8. Get them to use social media to their advantage. You are probably always nagging your child about their phone usage, but they can be very useful when it comes to job searching. If your child is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook then it’s a good idea for them to follow the accounts of companies they are interested in working for. Companies often use social media to advertise opportunities for work experience or actual vacancies

9.  This works two ways though…if they are looking for work using social media, they need to make sure their own accounts are not going to let them down should a prospective employer look at their profiles. Make them aware that anything they post in their name could potentially be seen by a future employer – if they would not be happy with that, then they should consider removing any inappropriate content or photos

10.  Parents are the number one influence when it comes to young adults choosing their career – make sure your influence is a positive one. Be an inspiration!


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