There is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you’re about to finish high school and you’re still unclear about a career choice. It’s a tough decision – especially with the constant changes in the world. Will a steady job in a particular industry be a sure thing 15, 10 or even five years down the road?
Mostly, we’re looking for someone who’s already doing what we’re thinking of becoming. The solution for some clarity is to find someone who can help you connect the dots. They’re called mentors and they can help you match up skills and passions with career choices.
What’s a Mentor?
The dictionary will tell you that a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. That might make you think of a high school guidance counselor. And, it’s often a good place to start. They can point you in the direction to help you with your search.
A mentor is a person who does what you would like to do for a living and who can help you with guidance and perspective about a possible career choice. It involves friendship, meaning that you’ll get to know this person – but it also involves listening, learning, asking questions and realizing that this is a person who can offer input about a job or career from an “I’ve been there” perspective.
More Than Teachers
Many people agree that their first mentor was often a teacher. This person went beyond just sticking to a lesson plan. They took the time – before or after class – to talk about your interests and how you might apply what you’re being taught to a career choice.
If a teacher doesn’t end up as a mentor, they’re often excellent sources to help you find someone. In many cases – besides parents – teachers are our first connection to a network of adults. While most teachers are already looking out for ways they can help students learn more about career opportunities, they’re able to make introductions to people they know who can help answer your questions.
How a Mentor Can Help You
You already know this. The world outside high school – and even college – is very different from what you’re used to. A mentor can help you transition into this world. Finding a mentor while you’re still in high school allows you to:
- Improve your social skills: The workplace has little in common with school life. A mentor can help you understand how to make your way in this environment. They can give you specific tips on what’s expected in the career you are thinking of pursuing.
- Grow your self-esteem: Few of us are sure of our first steps after high school. A mentor is someone you can go to for advice when you’re unsure of your decisions. They’ll help you think it through.
- Specific and relevant career advice: Remember that a mentor is chosen because he or she has spent his or her career in the industry you’re thinking about following. They can help you understand how to choose and measure what will be important to you.
We can help you find a mentor if you’re interested in a career in the trades as a plumber, an electrician, or an HVAC technician. Learn more about our personal guide program.