A few months ago I met an old client that I hadn’t seen in 10 years for a coffee.

We spoke about where our career opportunities had taken us and life changes.

What was really interesting though was discussing the life changes that my client’s son was starting to make.

As a sixteen-year-old, he is studying his A-Levels and has an interest in tech.

My old client wanted to see what advice if any I could give in able to prepare him for work.

Take advantage of work experience opportunities to explore your options

So I suggested that he initially has an open mind rather than simply going headlong into one career at 16.  Using all his connections they should get his son work experience in accounting, sales, coding, reception, and even pot wash!

As much as finding out what he loves to do.  He really needs to find out what he doesn’t want to do.

With that breadth of work experience, he will be in a much better place to make career decisions. He will impress any employer with a career decision that is he has really thought about. Most importantly in my opinion that he has TAKEN ACTION on his career over the last few years.

The breadth of knowledge that he would pick up you never know might prove to be useful in a startup. For example when everyone just needs to roll their sleeves up and take action! Even more exciting if he runs his own company and needs to be able to empathise with his employees.

Take action to inform your career choice

In my day job, I work with young people and businesses every day.  If young people applied to roles with this kind of experience it would be fantastic! All too often I meet young people who have just gone to work with a parent. The parent is an accountant and every holiday they complete the same work experience.  Guess what?  They want to be an accountant!

Now I am not saying that accountancy isn’t the best profession.  And I’m not criticising the best intentions of the parents, but where is the breadth or context for that decision?

There are so many work experience opportunities out there why not give other careers or type of companies a go?

The young person will then be able to make an informed decision. Yes, they might choose accountancy.  But at least it is a decision rather than a series of expectations resulting in that career.

Have you any advice for a young person trying to figure out their career?  What work experience have you done?  Could you offer a young person some work experience at your company to help them choose a career?

James O'Donnell
James O'Donnell

James is on a mission to put the Social back into Social Media!