Students are often unaware of the career planning steps they need to take to get the career they want. That’s why it’s so important to proactively stand beside your child and offer support as he or she begins to explore future careers.

Assess: are their goals realistic?

Many children have unrealistic goals, like becoming a professional athlete or rock star, or simply “being rich.”

Granted, some people achieve these dreams, so they shouldn’t be completely discouraged, but parents need to be aware of the fine line between encouraging a child’s aspirations and steering them toward realistic choices.

Realize your child Isn’t you.

Your child may want to follow in your footsteps, or forge a different path, but either way, keep an open mind.

Enjoy this journey together as your child answers the questions, “Who am I? Where am I going? How will I get there?”

Use these 7 steps to support your child’s career development.

Introduce your child to the career planning process developed by Kuder’s Dr. JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey:

1.    Realize career choices must be made. The first step in career planning is to learn that some tentative choices will need to be made.

2.   Learn what you like to do and what you do well. Now is the best time for your child to discover his or her personal interests and skills.

3.   Identify occupations to consider seriously. In today’s world, it’s often best to consider several potential occupations rather than focus on one.

4.   Get detailed information about some occupations. This step is often the most eye-opening. Expect your child to be surprised as he or she uncovers details about an occupation such as average salary, projected growth, and daily tasks that accompany the job.

5.   Choose a short list of occupations. Narrowing down options could be a challenge for your child, so use as many strategies as you can to reduce their amount of options.

6.   Plan for future education. Education and/or training requirements vary widely by occupation, so your child will undoubtedly benefit from research and planning in advance.

7.   Get a Job. Once your child has reached this step, tread lightly, wish them luck, and offer to be there for the inevitable ups and downs.