Successful careers require knowing what you want and how to get it. But without a lot of experience, how can your son or daughter know either of these things? Discuss things he/she’s done -- exams, jobs, projects -- and ask some good questions. What was satisfying about them? Did he/she prefer work that involved other people or independent projects? How competitive is he/she? These conversations can be most rewarding, but remember: your job is just to ask the questions. And to know, also, when to back off or refer to Career Development!
Experiment: Very few kids really know what they want to do when they graduate, so some spend time trying things. This can be nerve-wracking for parents. One day he’s working in retail and the next day thinking about medical school? Try to be patient; for some, these experiments are the only way to find a true calling.
Make a plan: When your son or daughter has a sense of what s/he wants to do, encourage her/him to make a plan. Who do they know who can help? Where are the key information sources? Do they have the skills they need and, if not, how will they acquire them? Plans can illuminate opportunities as well as providing momentum.
Scrutinize values: Aligning personal values with the values of your workplace may be the single most important component of a satisfying career. If your children want to change the world, ask if s/he should join a conservative institution. If s/he loves order and routine, are startups a good idea?. It isn’t about good and bad careers; it is about finding the right fit.