If you’re a teen stressing about your career, you’re not alone. Job search anxiety is creeping up much earlier than it used to and, unfortunately, for good reason. If you’re looking to land a job in a competitive industry after college, sometimes that means you need to apply to pre-internship or internship programs during your senior year of high school or first few years of college — before you’ve even turned 20!
If you’re feeling entirely overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, don’t panic. We’ve written a free career quiz for teens that requires absolutely zero knowledge of different career paths, work environments, or job skills. Once you answer, we’ll give you a place to start researching your potential careers and some advice for what you do — and don’t — need to do for your career journey right now.
Career Quiz for Teens
Are you ready to take a career quiz for teens and learn what careers you’re best suited for? You’ll have to sign up to get your results, but it’s absolutely free. Let’s get started!
Career Advice for Teens: Dos and Don’ts
Now that you’ve taken a career quiz for teens — and know what kinds of careers you might be a good fit for — what steps do you need to take in your career journey right now? Here are some do’s and don’ts.
Do Start Identifying What You Like
Now is the time to start investigating your passions, interests, and skills. A great first step is taking a career quiz for teens, but you can also get introspective. Kraig Kleeman, CEO and founder of The New Workforce, recommends asking yourself questions like: “What do I enjoy doing, and where do my strengths lie? What activities get me excited? What is my magnificent obsession that leads to creativity and joy?”
Don’t worry about whether these questions lead you to specific career paths — your answers don’t need to be that you love programming or people management. Things like having deep conversations with friends or playing word games on your phone count! Focus first on things that make you happy and things you find you’re naturally good at, then try to map them onto career paths — not the other way around.
Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
“Hey, slow your roll on ultra-specializing,” says Lou Reverchuk, co-founder and CEO of EchoGlobal, a tech recruitment and staffing firm.
Specialization is when you become an expert in a particular field — which you don’t need to do just yet, even if you’re interested in a certain industry.
“You might think you need to become a whiz in some niche tech or read every paper in a subfield of psychology,” he says. “Specialization has its place, but it’s often more beneficial in the later years of college or grad school.”
Do Get Experience
It’s never too early to get experience, and it doesn’t have to be professional experience to count.
“Get as much experience as possible in the spaces and industries that you’re interested in,” says Lakia Elam, an HR leader with more than 20 years of experience in recruiting, hiring, and career coaching for young professionals. “On top of providing you with technical skills, this will also help you develop connections with other students, faculty, presenters, and business affiliates within their community. Being active in school activities, programs, and clubs will help teach new skills, develop your network, and help make your resume more well-rounded.”
So, what can you get involved in besides an internship? Extracurricular activities, academic projects, personal projects, volunteering, and part-time work all count.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
We all come into our job search with certain ideas and expectations. Maybe you always thought you were going to be a doctor, so you feel tied to pursuing medicine. Or, maybe your parents think you’d be a great banker, so you feel obligated to ace your economics classes.
While these expectations are something to consider in your job search, you shouldn’t feel boxed in this early in your career journey.
“Don’t stick just to your comfort zone,” Reverchuk says. “College is your sandbox; don’t be afraid to explore different courses and activities.”
Elam agrees, advising students to try things early and often. “Don’t wait until the final years of college to get your professional wheels spinning,” she says. “Move like you have somewhere to go and something positive to do.”
Do Talk to People
One of the best ways to learn about different careers is to talk to people about theirs.
“Networking isn’t just a buzzword; it’s essential,” Reverchuk says. “Connect with professionals on LinkedIn, join career-focused clubs, and never underestimate the power of a casual coffee chat. You’re laying down the foundation here, make it count.”
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It doesn’t need to be the CEO of a company you dream of working for — learning about careers from your aunt, professor, neighbor, or hairdresser’s daughter’s friend are all valuable.
Don’t Force Relationships
“While starting networking early is excellent, don’t come off as too pushy or overly formal in your networking efforts,” Kleeman warns. “Building genuine relationships is the name of the game.”
Instead, focus your initial conversations less on how the person got the job and more on why they chose their role. You don’t want to be transactional; you want to be curious, especially in the initial stages of your career journey.
>>MORE: Learn how to build genuine relationships by conducting informational interviews.
Career Quiz for Teens: The Bottom Line
If you’re a teen thinking about your career, you’re already taking the right first step. At this point in your job search, you don’t need to have a clear idea of what you want to do; instead, you should be exceptionally curious, open, and flexible to what career opportunities you might be a good fit for.
A great place to start is by taking a career quiz for teens to get a sense of what you should try out — then take the leap and do research, get experience, and talk to people in that industry to see if it’s something you might want to pursue.
Explore a day in the life in different career paths and roles with Forage job simulations.