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6 Things to Know Before Starting Your First Career

August 15th, 2019 by

6 Things to Know Before Starting Your First Career

Whether you’re still in high school, just graduated, or are years removed, starting your first career can be an exciting and scary experience. You want to do well and you want to love what you do, but how can you set yourself up for success? Check out our top 6 things you need to know before starting your career, and how you can get a jump on them while you’re still in high school. Then be sure to take our quiz below to see how you’re doing in learning and establishing these critical skills.

Critical Thinking Is Essential

You’ve probably heard your teachers talk about the importance of critical thinking, and you can see how it’s important in the science classroom or when faced with a challenging math problem. But you may have wondered if it’s actually important in the real world and if the critical thinking skills you’re learning in high school will even apply once you’re engrossed in your first career. The short answer is a big, giant “Yes!” Employers want people who are innovative and creative, who can think outside the box and work outside the confines of what is normal or standard. Essentially, they want problem solvers. They want people who can look at a seemingly impossible problem and come up with a solution. They want people who can think logically but creatively to analyze and interpret an issue, and then create a resolution to fix the issue. Critical thinking is all about looking at something with a new perspective and moving forward in that perspective with confidence and conviction.

Communication Is Key

It’s probably pretty easy to talk to your friends, and you may even find it stress-free to interact with your teachers. But how would you handle meeting face to face with the president of the university you want to go to? How would you handle an interaction with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re asking him or her to do? Communication can be challenging in today’s world, not because we’re lacking in methods of communication, but because the ways in which we communicate are so informal and technology-centered. How would you text a boss to tell them you’re sick? Certainly not the same way you’d text a friend to talk about hanging out this weekend. Can you form a properly written sentence, like one that would be in a professional email, with all the correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling? Do you find it easy to get your ideas across to new people or is it challenging for you to explain yourself or express your thoughts? Good communication is key in the real world. You need to know how to respond appropriately to certain situations, interact with those above and below you in your career, and write a professional-sounding email, text, or memo.

Professionalism Is a Must

It’s usually easy for young people to identify a lack of professionalism, but many recent graduates can struggle with defining professionalism. At its core, professionalism is acting like a responsible and mature adult. It’s about being on time, looking the part, speaking with respect, and doing your job well. It’s about taking your responsibilities seriously and meeting deadlines, all the while treating others with respect and handling any issues in a mature and adult-like manner. Professionalism has to do with respecting the authority placed above you and being kind and equally respectful to your subordinates.

Teamwork Is Vital

Even if your job is primarily a one-man show, you are almost guaranteed to have to participate in some level of collaboration at some point in your career. You absolutely must be able to work well with others and contribute well to a team effort while not overshadowing any other team members. Even when you’re working with individuals who are hard to get along with, in any professional environment, you’ll be expected to treat others with respect and work with your team to accomplish a particular goal. While getting excited about teamwork can be challenging for introverts or those who simply prefer to work alone, it is a vital part of any job and you need to be prepared to work with others respectfully to create a mutually beneficial environment that is able to achieve success.

Teachability Is Crucial

High school students often assume that once they graduate, their educational days are over. That’s simply not the case, however. Employers are looking for individuals who are willing and excited to be lifelong learners. Even if you have secondary and post-secondary education and several years’ worth of experience, you need to be prepared to take continuing education courses, learn new skills, adapt to using new software, and so on. All industries evolve constantly, and especially as technological advances are booming and making their way into just about every part of every field, you need to be as teachable as possible in order to land that first job and thrive in your chosen career. One of the most important components of teachability is not acting like or assuming that you know everything. Understand that everyone in the world can teach you something, and be open to suggestions, ideas, and new lessons, even from the most unsuspecting people or things.

Self-Management Is Non-Negotiable

No employer wants an employee that they have to babysit. It doesn’t matter if you’re flipping burgers or working for a Fortune 500 company. You need to be able to manage your own responsibilities and not be micromanaged. This includes having the self-discipline to work hard when you should be, having the time management to get things done and meet deadlines, and taking responsibility for yourself in all situations. It’s about prioritizing, organizing, and following through. This skill is incredibly challenging for some to master, while for others, it comes quite naturally. If you’re a self-starter and have little to no motivation problems, you’re probably great at self-management. However, most people have to train themselves to improve their self-management skills over time, so the sooner you start doing this, the better prepared you’ll be when it comes time to start your first career.

How An Apprenticeship Can Help You Improve All These Skills and More

Most high schools will touch on all of these skills, and students who attend a virtual school during middle school and high school are far more likely to acquire these skills than students at traditional schools. However, you want firsthand experience in your chosen career field to get a leg up, and you also want to be sure you’ve got a good grasp on each of these skills so that you can walk into your first job prepared to be absolutely amazing. One of the best ways to get real-world skills and be as prepared as possible for your first career is to complete an apprenticeship during high school. Here are a few ways an apprenticeship will help you be best prepared for the start of your first job.

You’ll Have a Mentor

Having a mentor can be absolutely life-changing in a number of ways, but one primary way is through career preparation. When you’re doing an apprenticeship, you won’t be watched like a hawk to where you have no opportunity to learn, but you’ll be helped along by an expert in the field. They can help you avoid costly mistakes, understand more efficient ways of doing things, and even improve personal skills that are vital to your success as an employee.

You’ll Start Making an Impact Now

High school students sometimes struggle to feel significant. They’re not quite adults but no longer kids, and they can look for satisfaction and fulfillment in a variety of areas, only to be left disappointed. Not only will students find fulfillment and satisfaction by completing an apprenticeship at an early age, but they will also be able to begin making an impact on their industry of choice sooner rather than later. This can include bringing innovative ideas to the table as well as making a good impression on some experts in the field. Building these important skills and displaying them at a young age will set you apart from your peers in a huge way, and you’ll have an even greater opportunity waiting for you after graduation when you make a positive impact in a career field you hope to work in.

You’ll Learn So Much

Simply put, when you take on an apprenticeship, you’re going to learn so much. Not only will your academic knowledge increase, but your personal and professional skills will be strengthened and you’ll get a great deal of workplace experience that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. You’ll learn about all the important things listed above that are crucial to your success in starting your first career, and you’ll gain tangible skills that you can utilize in a job after you graduate.

 


Tips to Successfully Transition from High School to a Career

July 29th, 2019 by

Tips to Successfully Transition from High School to a Career

Some previous generations have sent the majority of their high school graduates straight to the career field while others have sent most of their grads to college. Nowadays, the status quo is shifting a great deal as students and parents alike are seeing the value in open-ended options and making decisions based on an individual rather than the trends. For a while, it was thought that college was the only way to get a job that paid well and be able to provide for a family one day. Many students and adults alike have slowly realized that isn’t always the case. While college graduates, in general, do tend to make more than those without college degrees, there’s no guarantee that a college education will give you a higher income or more job security.

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How to Use Social Media Responsibly

July 25th, 2019 by

How to Use Social Media Responsibly

 

Social media has absolutely revolutionized our world. It’s crazy to think that Facebook has been around for less than 20 years and has been accessible to everyone for even less time than that. After the introduction of Facebook, it began a snowball effect of social media platforms. From Instagram to snapchat and from LinkedIn to Alignable, social media sites are everywhere and serve just about every purpose possible when it comes to connecting individuals.

Teens have a not-so-great reputation when it comes to knowing how to use social media responsibly, but it’s incredibly important that adults everywhere teach younger generations how to be wise about their social media usage and general internet behavior. Not only does the world need good online citizens, but irresponsibility in social media use can bring about serious and significant damage to an individual’s reputation and can even ruin their chances of getting into their dream school or landing that perfect job. Whether you’re just entering the world of social media or you’re just looking to brush up on some tips on how to use social media responsibly, here are the best pieces of advice we’ve found to make social media benefit you rather than harm you.

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9 Summer Activities for Students That Can Boost Your College Resume

July 18th, 2019 by

9 Summer Activities for Students That Can Boost Your College Resume

Colleges love to admit well-rounded students who are involved in different extracurricular activities during the school year. It proves they can manage and balance school as well as other important things, which is an important skill for college students to have. But if you really want to impress a college and further boost your college resume and application, getting involved in some summer activities will help significantly. Not only are you a driven and purposeful individual, but spending your valuable free time during the summer to better yourself and further yourself personally, academically, or otherwise is sure to impress college admissions boards.

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6 Reasons Why an Apprenticeship Can be a Great Option for High School Students

July 11th, 2019 by

6 Reasons Why an Apprenticeship Can be a Great Option for High School Students

Apprenticeships gained their popularity in America during the Depression when labor shortages led to more standards and formalized training for a number of jobs in several industries. Despite their importance when first introduced, apprenticeships have not taken hold in the United States quite as much as they have in other countries. Additionally, only certain industries tend to offer apprenticeships, despite the vast advantages they’ve brought to the various job fields and the employees. More and more people are seeing the benefits of apprenticeships and other on-the-job training programs, and there has recently been a push in the US to increase apprenticeships to encourage more job training to happen on the actual job rather than in classrooms alone. While the increase has not been as substantial as many hoped, in 2016, there were about 500,000 apprenticeships listed with the Department of Labor, which is a significant jump from the previous year.

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How to Land an Internship: A Guide for High School Students

June 20th, 2019 by

High school students are often looking for summer jobs to make some extra cash or give them something to do over the summer. While most people think of college students or recent college graduates when they think about internships, high school students can benefit a great deal from taking on a summer internship and employers are also experiencing advantages by hiring high school students as interns. Rather than spend a summer flipping burgers or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, high school students can and should look for an internship that will benefit them both now and in the future.

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Top 7 Benefits for Students Who Decide to Take Summer Classes

June 12th, 2019 by

Top 7 Benefits for Students Who Decide to Take Summer Classes

Summer school is usually associated with students who are behind or struggled to pass all their classes through the regular school year. However, more and more students are choosing to take summer classes not out of necessity but rather as a way to get ahead and take advantage of the many benefits that these summer classes offer. While one of the main benefits for students who take summer classes is related to catching up or reestablishing a good GPA, there are a number of other significant reasons why middle school and high school students may elect to take summer classes.

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A Student’s Guide to Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs

May 7th, 2019 by

A Student’s Guide to Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs

If you’re a middle school or high school student, a college student, a teacher, or involved in education in any way, you’ve likely heard about career technical education. Not only are educators and students seeing the many benefits of CTE programs, but employers see the various advantages of hiring students who have gone through CTE coursework. With technological changes occurring constantly and the job market rapidly growing and evolving, students today are being prepared to take on jobs that don’t even exist yet, which makes real-world skills and practical application of knowledge absolutely vital. Continue reading our comprehensive guide to career technical education to learn all about it, including available programs, the benefits of these programs, and how to make the most of your educational time with hands-on career technical education.

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Can Studying Outside Help You Retain More Information?

April 25th, 2019 by

It has long been suggested to students that study time should take place in a quiet, clean area, tucked away from noise and distractions. However, scientists and psychologists alike are finding that all the tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years on how to maximize studying and retain more information may not be all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, some methods that teachers and parents have been utilizing for decades are actually proving to be unhelpful and not at all beneficial.

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How to Successfully Balance High School and a Part-Time Job

April 23rd, 2019 by

How to Successfully Balance High School and a Part-Time Job

High school students who work a part-time job are often more equipped and better prepared to handle future responsibilities both in college and in the real world. Many high school students want a part-time job because it can give them some extra money, a leg up on college applications, and real-world experience that may serve them in the future. Some students don’t have a choice but to work, as they may need to help support their families, which can add even more pressure to their already busy and demanding schedule. Whether it’s a job in a career field that interests the student or a food service or retail job, balancing high school and a part-time job can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. In addition to making some money, working part-time jobs can help high school students learn valuable skills, such as time management, commitment, responsibility, respect, and more. No matter what reason a student has for working during high school, here are a handful of tips to successfully balance both high school and a part-time job.

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