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Pick Your Path: Online Resources for Career Mapping

Recognizing that it takes more than a few hours with a guidance counselor to determine one’s career path, professional networking site LinkedIn recently announced that it will drop its minimum age to 14 and shift its focus towards helping teens find their path in life. No, not in the “what do I want to be what I grow up” sort of way but rather by helping the next generation of workforce leaders “get a head start on career mapping.”

As the economic doldrums of the late aughts continues to plague the workplace, even summer jobs are tough to get nowadays. Given the high cost and high value of a college education, LinkedIn will target high school and college students with their new product “University Pages” to show teens what’s out there. What’s out there is well, a lot.

Taking a page out of history, here’s a look at ways online careers services can help teens form a plan: 

  • Future Research – How exactly does a 17-year-old decide where to apply to school? Which school to go to? Which program will offer the best career prep? University and College pages offer a glimpse into the facts and figures of programs both near and far. Thinking ahead can help eliminate the undesirable and illuminate the unforeseen. Keep it all organized with online planning tools like Evernote.
  • Start a Network – Not every high school student aims to be a hyper-connected overachiever. Luckily, by starting small and connecting with friends and family, teens will be able to find the people who can help them along the way – advisors, career services representatives, professors, managers, and so on.
  • Try and Try Again – After researching and networking online, teens will be ready for a test run. This can mean spending a weekend at a college, signing up for classes a local culinary school, volunteering, or even interning in their desired field. Using online learning tools like Coursera can help teens understand the workload of college courses. 

It’s a mighty big world out there and heading back to school or off to work requires thought. Take a look online to see what’s out there before you buy. After all, the path is yours and yours alone.