Starting a Career from Secondary School

One of the most challenging decisions anyone can make is a career choice. There are a million and one opportunities and industries to pick from and the decision doesn’t always come easy. In fact, many people end up switching from career to career before they find something they are really good at and are comfortable doing.

As a Secondary School student, you are at one of the best points in your life – career and otherwise. It is okay if you are still unsure about what career path you should take. We are here to get you started on that journey.

Here are four pointers that can help you start a career from secondary school.

1. Your Interests

History proves that the most content career people work in sectors they have always been passionate about. Even Mark Twain advised to “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

What are you passionate about? What do you like doing? What activity gives you so much satisfaction? What do you randomly think about? These interests do not need to have an academic nature. It could be anything from fixing a broken appliance to writing code or even painting.

Now find careers that have your interests as foundational knowledge. Make a list of those careers and look through their course outlines. Find the topics you can learn about at your educational level and start to study in your free time. There are a ton of free online courses available on the internet for starters – you can start with them and build your knowledge. The internet is a very powerful resource tool. Take advantage of it and use it productively.

2. Volunteer Experience

Many people will not tell you this but volunteer experience counts as much as any other kind. What better way to start a career than to actually work?

Look out for opportunities to apply yourself and what you are learning about your chosen career. During breaks and holidays, instead of just waiting for resumption, you can volunteer. Volunteer work is unpaid work but never forget that experience is still experience whether you were remunerated or not.

Start by looking around you. If you have an interest in social change, join an NGO or charity organization. If you like to craft well-worded articles, your school will definitely have a journal or newspaper you can write or edit for.

If you do start to earn from volunteering, find balance and do not prioritize the work over your schoolwork so you can get good grades at the end of your education.

3. Shadowing Professionals

Now there must be at least one person that inspires you to grow in your chosen career field. It could be a family member, an instructor at school, or even a popular person in a far-off country.

The most effective way to learn from someone is to shadow them and you can only do this with people that are in your vicinity (sorry if your role model is only stuck behind a TV screen). Listen to them speak about their careers – the challenges and the rewards they experience from doing their job.

Ask that professional if you could assist them at work for a couple of days. Have them introduce you to their colleagues and politely interview them to debunk all your puzzling concerns. You get to see first-hand what working as a career person in that field feels like. They will also let you know the best places to professionally study and the certifications you would need before and after your higher education. Note that building a network of older professionals always comes in handy for recommendations in the future

4. Motivation

With all the positive steps to starting a career in secondary school listed above, it all comes to naught without motivation. Even the most skilled of professionals have days where they want to throw in the towel but one thing keeps them going – motivation.

Guard your drive and motivation with skills like discipline and resilience. These skills are built, not learned. An action as simple as waking up early to study or complete a task every morning can have a ripple effect on the type of career person you would be. Outside career and studying, build skills like punctuality, integrity, and commitment and apply them to your friendships, relationships with others, and life in general. Build healthy habits like eating right and getting enough sleep for optimal brain and body performance.

In the long run, these skills will create systems that ensure you are consistent at being good at what you do, day in and day out.

You are in your best season! As fun as starting a career can be, we are also aware of the challenges. Never be afraid to learn, grow and gain experience, or even start over if you’ve been doing it wrong all this time.

TertFinder is here to make sure you get it right.

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O. Jasmine-Jade

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