Discover Career Interests

compassWhile it is very common and perfectly normal for teenagers to not know what they would like to do for a career, it can be worthwhile to begin career exploration during high school. Learning about careers helps students get to know themselves better and begin to identify a range of choices that will help them feel motivated and excited about the future. If you would like to engage your homeschool teen in exploring careers, one great place to start is with free online career testing.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Like it or not, your teen will be asked this question frequently as they head toward adulthood. Friends and family are likely to bring up this topic as your student begins to visit and apply to colleges. While some kids may have always known the answer to this question and seem destined for a career in law, engineering, or medicine, others simply have no idea at all. While career exploration may not result in finding a lifelong career, it can be a piece of the puzzle.

Holland Career Code Test
One popular career test your homeschooler may like to try is the Holland Code Career Test. The Holland test is available free on many online websites including The U.S. Department of Labor’s  O*Net site. The Holland test has been around since the 1950s and is rooted in the idea that people seek out careers that are a good match for their personality traits. When the career matches the personality it is more likely that a person will enjoy and stick with their chosen career.

The Holland Test identifies six personality types:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional

Each of these types involves different personal characteristics and suggests potential clusters of occupations that may be of interest. For example, those with Realistic traits tend to be practical and down to earth. Realists tend to enjoy things over people and may be good with hands-on work with machines and tools. People with realistic  traits may enjoy occupations such as EMT, chef, computer engineer, plumber or mechanic. A very different personality type would be that of the Enterprising personality. This group is adventurous, assertive, extroverted, and persuasive. People who test as having Enterprising personalities may enjoy occupations such as business, fundraising, journalism, or real estate.

career ideas graphicDo we really need to this?
As a parent who has spent years homeschooling your child and knows them very well, it may seem silly to use an Internet tool like this. However, teenagers aren’t always the most self-aware group of individuals. This quiz can be a good conversation starter and a nice neutral way to encourage your teen to begin to think about and talk about careers. Sometimes it is easier for information to come from an outside source rather than a parent.  If students don’t find the suggestions they receive to be meaningful, that may also be helpful. Even disagreeing with the quiz can be a good starting point for talking about careers.

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