For Parents/Guardians & Educators
You're here because you're helping your child or student make decisions on their career and employment future. Click through the resources on this page to learn why you should and how you can help.
Learn what your role is in your child’s career planning and how you can help.
As an adult and a parent/guardian, you can describe how you made the choices you did on your employment and career path. You know what influenced you and what motivated you. Your child will be facing some big decisions on what they will do once they enter the world of work. Your support and encouragement will be incredibly important and influential, regardless of whether or not your child is ready to begin thinking about career options.

A good starting point is to share your advice and experiences. Your child may not be that interested in your story, or they might think that you can’t relate to their situation. But it’s important to get the conversation going, and don’t stop there. It’s also important to learn about career opportunities as your child learns. Your child likely has different interests, and different experiences, that might lead them in a direction you’re not familiar with. It’s also important to be aware of what your child is or will be going through as they make decisions related to their professional future.

Use this website, and this section specifically, to learn what career exploration will mean for your child. Talk about your child’s interests and future goals and participate in their exploration. You directly influence your child’s work values and attitudes. By encouraging and supporting your child’s career exploration, you will help them prepare for the next step, set goals, reach milestones, and ultimately experience career success.
Start early.
Career planning is a process that is unique to each person. Career awareness should ultimately start at a young age, while your child is in elementary school or middle school. This probably seems really early! This doesn’t mean your child needs to know what they will do. But, learning about jobs in the community and understanding that they will enter the workforce one day are the first steps in being prepared.

Explore, even if your child’s interests change.
In middle school, your child should start exploring their interests and abilities and begin thinking about how they connect to careers. Of course we all know that your child’s interests will change over time—sometimes drastically. But, this is a good starting place, and is actually an activity your child will continue through high school and the entire career planning process. We also know that youth may have ideas of what they want to do that are improbable—professional athlete is a perfect example. Kids can and should dream about what to do when they get older and strive to reach any goals they have. But we know that it’s likely they will end up doing something else. What all of this tells us is that children are uninformed on careers, and it points to why career exploration is so important.

Learn about occupations with your child.
In high school, your child will start taking interest and career assessments. These assessments will help them learn about different career options based on their interests, values, and personality. They will also start to learn more about occupations. (Note that a job is different than an occupation, and both are different than a career. Make sure to take a look at the information in this section on the difference between these three terms.) Your child will learn about wages, education requirements, skills, and other occupation details and match those details with their interests and goals.

Be involved as your child plans for and takes action for the future.
As your child identifies occupations they are interested in, it will be time to start thinking about how to get the education and qualifications needed to work in that occupation. Your child will start to plan what to do after graduation, whether it be continuing their education, entering the workforce immediately, or choosing a different path. This is a critical time to support your child. They may need guidance and help in making choices, setting goals, and preparing a plan of action. You may need to assist and encourage your child in:

Creating a timeline for high school
Selecting high school coursework
Being involved in activities or employment outside of school
Understanding graduation requirements
Being aware of college admissions requirements
Learning about other options such as apprenticeship, the military, or service-related programs

This is also a great time to start talking to your child about budgeting and finances and long-term career success. Career decisions ultimately involve evaluating three things—job satisfaction, lifestyle, and money. Your child doesn’t have experience that helps them understand this, but you probably do. Talk with your child about how these three things work together to determine satisfaction in career choices.

One thing to remember is that career planning is a process that takes time and effort. It can also be stressful if your child is unsure what they want to do or is reluctant to make such big decisions. Two of the most important ways you can support your child is by talking with them about interests, goals, and dreams and how they connect to careers and by discussing the importance of planning for the future.
  1. Learn about careers with them. Use this site to learn about career options with your child. Go through the tools with them and talk about the results. It’s important that your child has as much information as possible on occupations they might be interested in.
  2. Talk about your child’s interests, likes, dislikes, and values. Many people don’t realize it, but one of the biggest parts of career exploration and planning is self-evaluation. Get your child to think about what inspires them, what they’re good at, and what they want by asking them. As you listen, realize that your child is listening to and learning also.
  3. Let your child dream. We all know that dreams aren’t always as realistic as we would like, but letting your child think big about what they want will ultimately help them narrow their interests down to something attainable. If your child can start from a point of excitement they are going to be more motivated about the future and its possibilities.
  4. Help them set goals and take action. Encourage your child to write down goals to help them turn broad dreams into practical action.
  5. Help them create and follow a plan. Children can be distracted by what’s going on in life now and struggle to stay focused on what they need to do for the future. They often don’t have the experience to see how important planning can be for their ultimate success. Create a plan with your child and remind and encourage them to stick to it. Revisit the plan with your child as their interests change.
Learn how to navigate this site and get the most out of its tools and resources.
This site has four main sections—Build Your Path, Career Exploration, Education and Training, and The Job Search. The first time your student or child visits the site, they should begin by going into Build Your Path or Career Exploration.

Build Your Path
Use Build Your Path with your student or child to introduce them to Career Planning

Build Your Path is designed to get kids thinking about their career path. They’ll learn what it takes to explore careers and what their path might look like if they decide to continue their education after high school, enter the workforce, or select another path. Build Your Path summarizes the different sections of the website in a way that shows them how they can navigate through the career planning process.

Career Exploration
Use Career Exploration to get your student or child started on their career planning.

Career Exploration is the jumping-off-point for all kids and is where they will actually start exploring careers. It includes tools they can use to assess interests, explore career options, and plan next steps.

Education and Training
Use Education and Training to show your student or child how to make decisions on their education and prepare for education after high school.

Education and Training provides information and tools to help them make a decision on the education they want or need after high school. The section also has great information on what to expect when preparing and applying for colleges and training programs and how to budget and finance education.

The Job Search
Use The Job Search to educate your student or child on how to successfully look for and apply for jobs.

The Job Search gives easy access to tips, tools, and information on the job search process and how to get hired. They will learn what they need to do to apply for a job, sell their abilities, and navigate the application process.
The student account:
  1. Allows your student or child to access some of the tools and features that are unique to each user.
  2. Lets your student or child save information specific to them, such as assessment results, answers to interview questions, résumés, and much more! They can access their saved results in the Career Solutions Toolbox.
  3. Allows your student or child to save occupations to their Occupation Library. They can revisit those occupations at any time, see detailed information on their occupations, star their favorite occupations, and compare their occupations.
  4. Is completely private. Your student’s or child’s information is protected and not shared with anyone. The account simply allows them to save their inputs on tools and information so they can easily revisit the information later on.
  5. Is a great resource to help your student or child with their career planning. With their information saved, you can work with them side-by-side within some of the tools and provide advice, support, and help as you go along.
The Occupation Library
One of the best resources of the Career Solutions website is the ability for your student/child to save occupations they're interested in as they learn more and more about career options. Saved occupations are listed within the Occupation Library and can be accessed at any time after they log into their account. In the Occupation Library, they can choose to see more information on each occupation, star those they're most interested in or want to revisit, or remove occupations they are no longer considering.

As your student/child gets further along in their career planning, they will narrow down their list of saved occupations so that they can begin planning their next steps. The Occupation Library can help them easily keep track of their occupations and where they're at in the planning process.

Career Solutions Toolbox
There are many tools and resources for your student or child in Career Solutions. As they explore careers and build their path, they can save the results/products of certain tools and resources. They should revisit information to help inform their career planning process and use documents, such as their résumé and cover letter, when applying for schools or jobs.
The Career Solutions site is designed to guide youth through the process of career exploration, the job search, and getting education and training. Tools and resources typically fall within step-by-step instructions. If you or your student/child don’t want to navigate through these steps, you can access tools and resources through “resource libraries.” There are two resource libraries in Career Solutions—the Job Search Library and the Education and Training Library. The Job Search Library is within the Job Search menu, while the Education and Training Library is within the Education and Training menu.

And don’t forget that you can access many of the tools through the Career Solutions Toolbox!
See other resources for you and your child or student on career planning.
Internships | Students Work is the central online hub linking students and job seekers to employers offering career experience opportunities, including internships. Students can use Internships | Students Work to browse opportunities, prepare application materials, apply for internships, and connect with employers. Visit Internship | Students Work today!