Going to university has lots of benefits. It can help your child become more independent, develop social skills, expand their knowledge and develop advanced reasoning skills. But it’s also important that attending university helps your child build the career that they want. This means that it’s vital for your child to research careers before making decisions about whether to go to university and which courses to apply for.
Career paths are often far from simple. University or college courses that you might think would help your child reach their desired career could actually turn out not to be the best choice. Plus, there might be other paths that neither of you have thought of. Here’s how to help your child research careers so they end up on a course that will help them achieve their goals.
1. Encourage them to think about what they enjoy
Start by encouraging your child to think about what they enjoy doing. With careers research it’s easy to jump straight to specific careers that you’ve heard of and look into them. While this isn’t the worst approach, it does mean that your child could miss out on finding out about lots of suitable careers that they simply haven’t heard of.
So, prompt them to start by identifying the subjects or work that they enjoy doing and think about why. Do they enjoy English Literature because they like analysing writing? Or do they enjoy a customer service job because they like helping people? Once they’ve identified the key things that they enjoy and want to do more of, they can start to research careers that involve them.
2. Suggest they make the most of their connections
One of the best ways to learn about a career is to talk to people who do them. The chances are that there are several adults in your child’s life who do jobs that they might enjoy.
So, encourage them to get in touch and have a chat to learn about the reality of pursuing a specific career. Finding out about someone’s average working day, the things they enjoy doing and the things they don’t, and the career path they took to get there are all things that will help your child identify their ideal career and the steps they need to take to achieve it.
3. Encourage them to do targeted online research
It might sound obvious, but the internet is a great resource for careers research. It’s easy to get bogged down in lots of information though, so try to help your child do targeted research. Make sure they start off with the list of key things that they enjoy and careers that they’re considering to give their research some direction.
Suggest they note down the things they find out in a way that’s easy to skim read makes different careers easy to compare, so they can use it to make an informed decision.
4. Help them to visit careers fairs and open days
Careers fairs are a great place to learn more about specific careers from professionals with extensive amounts of knowledge and experience. University and college open days can also provide you with lots of information about the jobs that graduates go into after they’ve completed certain courses.
Trekking off to events all around the country can seem a pain, but it’ll only be for a limited time period and your child could benefit significantly. There are also probably lots of local events that you can find with a bit of research.
5. Try MyUniChoices
MyUniChoices is a brilliant tool to use for career research. It’s a specialised online questionnaire that can help your child make the right decision about Higher Education. It features 150 questions that help the user think about their interests, skills and abilities, and provides them with a range of university courses that will suit them. Your child can use the results to select a university course or simply find out more about their interests and the kinds of careers that will suit them.