How to choose a career path for your child | 7 professional skills for high school students - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Monday, July 29, 2019

How to choose a career path for your child | 7 professional skills for high school students



One of the most common dilemmas that every child faces in life is whether to pursue his or her dreams or fulfill the unfulfilled dreams of their parents? 
There comes a direct conflict between what is ethical and what is rational and practical.

Ever since the child is born we teach them to be independent. We tell them to make their own decisions. When it comes to choosing a career, parents become very authoritative leaving no room for the child to explore his or her aspiration.

Should a parent choose the career for their child?

I have spoken to many parents and children regarding the same issue. I can understand the point of view from both sides and reached the following conclusion:

First, Parents indeed play a very crucial role in helping to choose a child's career. Their experience and expertise matter a lot in shaping and grooming a child's future. Second, Children, on the other hand, are now more aware and know what they like and dislike. Thanks for the use of the internet! They are keen and passionate to chase after their dream career. Third, when parents come in their way of passion, there the conflict arises. Either they become a 'prodigal son' or daughter or a ‘sacrificing saint’ losing all hope in worldly life.
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How to help your child choose a career path

Therefore I decided to write this article for parents to understand in what ways parents can play the role of a good facilitator in choosing their child's career. Later in this article, I shall share some 7 professional skills that every parent needs to teach their child.

How to choose a Career Path for your child?

Choosing your child's career in the right way and seeing him or her success is a dream of every parent. We as parents are key influencers in shaping or child's career. Here are the ways how:

Ensure Trust and Confidence: 

As parents, it is very important to have trust and confidence in the child. This makes the child confident and self-reliant.

We should not shoot down their opinion and perspective as too naive and shallow. It is necessary to acknowledge their idea and perspective. This way they can make good decisions in life and career path.

Become a Role Model: 

To the children knowingly or unknowingly the parents become the role model. Here it is important to note that children do not go by lectures and moral lessons that you try to convey when by words. They learn from the practical experiences and actions. What they see and understand they adopt. So being a role model for our children we need to help them to choose their right career.

Provide the right Values: 

Children pick up values from parents that influence them in choosing their career. Why do you want to be successful in life? To earn money or to fulfill your dreams? Is it the money or something else apart from money needed to be successful? Are we teaching our kids to be emotionally intelligent?

The little things that we teach them while playing with them or eating and sharing food have a greater influence in choosing their career in life.

For more details, you may check out my article on Emotional intelligence.

Open the right Opportunities: 

In the world of business and job market, every job has the potential to grow up to be something greater. For example, if you are a consultant, you can always learn more skills like marketing, PR, digital media and so on and grow up to come to the next level. Your job would then be more skilled with greater responsibility and a better career.

The same is true for your children. Take time to help your child realize and understand his or her skills and develop them over a period of time.

There might be a time when those skills will be used by them to seize opportunities and grow in their careers.

Positivity and Encouragement: 

Always be positive and praise your child genuinely when you see any commendable achievement actions done by them. This would help them to be more positive choosing confidence and self-worthiness. This would help them in further developing decision-making skills and discover their true talent and potentials.

How do I help my teenager choose a career?” Parents often ask this question as they would like their child to choose the right career path and be successful.

Choosing the right career is an extremely vital decision to make as its impact would affect the entire life of the child. However, it is important to note that as a parent, we should not trust our own decision on our children.
Your child is your responsibility. Not your extension!
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Your child is your responsibility

Remember that your child is a special unique entity entitled to be free to choose his career. He or She has his or her true potential that just needs to be nurtured not doctored. So parents should not have unrealistic expectations and dreams that often creates undue pressure on the child.

My school mate Miranda was horrible in calculations. Mathematics used to give her a headache. When she became a mom, all she wanted is to be make her child become a Chartered Accountant while her daughter was brilliant in literature.

This is the problem that most parents have. As parents, we fail to realize that we as parents should act as more of a facilitator rather than a commander-in-chief. We can be the wind beneath their wings and make them fly high fulfilling their dreams in a career.

The problem is we as parents don’t know how? 

How can we help our children develop professional skills before passing their high school or grade 12?

Here is a list of some professional skills that every parent must teach their child to help them choose their career.

7 professional skills for making the right career choices for high school students


How should I choose a career?” This is a very common dilemma. I have tried to research the following skills given below that would surely help every child to grow, develop and prosper in whatever fields that would like to pursue further. It would also help them to make informed decisions and choose the right career path based on their interests.

#1. Communication Skill

In today’s digital world of global competition, the ability to communicate functionally and productively is an absolute necessity. It could be a colleague, a business partner, staff or clients, one needs to know how to communicate and convey the right message effectively.

Good communication skills indeed help one to easily get noticed, receive an acknowledgment, get hired and even get promotions and hike.
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Communication Skill

As parents, we can help our children choose the right career path by helping them to learn and develop good communication skills. The communication skill mainly comprises of the following expertise:

  • To be a Good Listener
  • Right body language/Non-verbal communication
  • Clarity of Speech
  • Build self-confidence
  • Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
  • Respect for others
  • Able to give and receive feedback


There are a whole lot of free online tutorials and lessons in youtube available for free which we can make use of to train our kids effectively before they pass high school. It would surely give a great boost in their career path.

#2. Sales Skill

Be it a businessman or a job seeker, ultimately everyone is a SALESMAN. We can sell our skills, talent or services that ultimately makes us get hired or approved by the interviewers, clients or customers.

Example: When we face job interviews, it is our capacity or capability to convince the interviewer that makes us get hired.

We try to load our kids with a whole lot of data and information without helping them to know the trick of making them marketable and sellable in the global market of competition. That is one of the major reasons for unemployment or underemployment in many countries.
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Sales Skill

As a guide to parents to help them develop the professional skills for their high school kids, I have listed the following key areas of Sales Skill that they need to develop. Some of them are as follows:

  • Communication Skill
  • Presentation Skill
  • To be a good listener
  • Ability to comprehend and act accordingly
  • Thinking Smart
  • Rapport building with clients or business partner or colleagues
  • Time management
  • Objection Handling


As parents, if we can allot some time to train our children daily or weekly or perhaps arrange for people who can help them get trained, our kids would grow up to be smart, confident, productive, value-packed candidates who can handle any challenging situation.

As already states, these skills do not grow and develop overnight just after passing their high school. It needs to be nurtured and developed over a period of time. It is always better to start as early as Grade 3 or 4 when they are ready to listen and learn without any objections. This is because mostly when children are at their teens or high school grades they like to rebel more than to accept things easily.

Moreover, as parents, we need to have patience and consistency to help our children learn the skills. In today's digital age, getting free learning videos on skill development is not difficult. We need to make the right effort to make things possible and available for our children to learn and grow without pushing them too much. We need to remember that our role is majorly a facilitator, not a dictator. We do not own them. Our kids have their minds to think and own taste to like or dislike something. We need to have respect for that too!

#3. Basic Office Skill

Every student before passing out high school need to have sound knowledge to use MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Access, etc.
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Microsoft Office Skill

In MS Word, for example, knowledge in the following areas are very essential:

  • How to set the page size and the orientation
  • How to set the margins,
  • How to insert page numbers at the foot of the page,
  • How to set line spacing, use page number, section, and column breaks, to adjust pagination, etc.
  • How to avoid widows and orphans,
  • How to create a new style.
  • How to Mail merge, type in different languages like Spanish, French, Arabic, etc.


Similarly, in MS Excel any high school pass out needs to have complete knowledge in the following areas:

  • How to create a Pivot table
  • How to Apply Conditional Formatting
  • How and when to use formula & functions like:
  • sum, average, maximum, minimum, integer, rounding, counting, subtotal, averageif, vlookup, hlookup,match, countif, countifs, sumif, if and nested If, etc.


The basic knowledge of the operation of MS PowerPoint would be as follows:

  • How to use the master slide to place objects properly and set suitable styles,
  • How to use suitable software tools to create presentation slides to meet the needs of the Audience and so on.


MS Access the basic skill for a high school student are as follows:

  • How to create user-friendly interactive forms
  • How to create a query
  • How to create a label
  • How to create a report.


#4. Graphics & Design Skill

Now, what exactly is Graphic design? Graphic design is the art or skill to create visual content for the audience to communicate relevant information. In this digital age, some basic knowledge of practical operations of visual graphics is very essential no matter which field a high school student chooses to take in their career path.
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Graphics & Design Skill

Photo Editing: 

As parents, we can train our children to learn basic software of photo editing like Adobe Photoshop, Capture One, Corel Paint Shop Pro, etc.
Logo designing: Students should be skilled in design a typical logo for a company or website using software like Coral draw, Abode Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc.

Infographic Design: 

What is the infographic design? 

It is a kind of visual presentation of data or any kind of information in a graphical format to make the information more easily understandable. There are plenty of software available for the same like Canva, Piktochart, etc.

Web & Mobile Design: 

In the digital age, every business needs a website that should be responsive and user-friendly. Basic knowledge of web designing is a must for high school students to kick start of their career. Some of the helpful web designing softwares which I found easy to use would be as follows:

  • Wordpress
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Adobe Dreamweaver


#5. Digital Marketing Skill

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the most upcoming trend in today’s world of business & IT. It is not simply a buzz word trying to create a hype in the market. It requires great skill to promote your product or services using digital media like Smartphones, emails, websites, and many more.

Digital marketing devices numerous ways or channels to reach potential clients to market various products or services.
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Digital Marketing Skill

Some of the important methods of digital marketing which every high school student needs to know & learn would be - Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), etc.

#6. Writing & Translation Skill

Content is the mother of all information. One must know how to pen down words systematically, contextually and clearly to communicate the right information to the receiver.

As the famous Canadian philosopher, Marshall McLuhan once said, “We live in a global village.” We cannot live in islands and think to grow and develop unless we try to communicate the right information to the right public. We need to teach our children basic writing skills to communicate effectively through written communication. Knowing an additional language is another plus point here as nowadays there is a huge demand of bilingual people who can communicate through written and oral means and translate valuable information for the business or company that they are in.
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Writing & Translation skill

Some of the basic writing skills are as follows:

  • How to write an Article/Blog Post or Journals
  • Technical Writing
  • Website Content Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Translation
  • Proofreading & Editing, etc.

Read my article on "How to Start Blogging (In Hindi)" for basic knowledge to startup a Blogging career.

#7. Video & Animation Skill

Making a video presentation of information is a very important means in digital business. Whether you want to start a new business or add value to your company by making a good video presentation, some basic video and animation skill is very essential.
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Video & Animation Skill

Some of the key areas for knowledge and practical use are as follows:

  •  Youtube video making
  •  Video Editing
  •  Character Animation
  •  Whiteboard Animation
  •  Visual Effects
  •  Intros & Outros
  •  After Effects
  •  Product Photography, etc.


I have tried to highlight the present day’s need-to-know skills that every individual must possess to add more value to their work. Today companies need people who are capable to add more value to their organization. No matter which field your high school child chooses to be, he or she would be a great asset to the company, organization or business set-up.

As already mentioned these skills needs time and consistency to learn and master them. A lot depends on individual interest and aptitude. As parents, we need to be a good facilitator making sure we make all the avenues clear and available to them and leave the matter of choice to them. Once we start teaching our children these skills right from their budding age like grade 3 and 4, by the time the child matures in high school he or she will be well-groomed and skilled in these essential practical professional skills. They, in turn, would be able to make the right career choice after passing high school. No matter what fields they choose, these skills will be greatly and effectively be used in any set-up.

The problem that we are facing today is majorly underemployment. Students after getting their degrees are not able to get themselves hired in their field of study and interest. One of the major reasons is the lack of proper skills. The lack of skill exists because of the gap that exists between what students are taught in school and what they need to know while on the job.

Read the Indian Education System article for more details.

I hope that my article would give some insight and some new dimension to parents as well as students who would like to have a successful career path. If you have any more suggestions that could be included in professional skills, you may share them in the comment box.

Read, Share, and Comment to Support.

Cheers
Happy Parenting.

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