We recently were invited to take part in Sharon Springs School Career Day where we spoke with Juniors & Seniors about our career(s). We aren’t actually even sure what our career is right now, so we asked our Facebook friends, who mostly told us that we’re “entrepreneurs.” (Among many other funny things.)
Sharon Springs is lucky to have a very small student population, which means a much lower student:teacher ratio. And the school is also home to some truly fabulous teachers. The perfect recipe for a bright future.
The students we met had dreams of becoming everything from conservation officials, to pastry chefs, to writers, to CPAs, to sports managers, to auto repair specialists… some of them taught US about career possibilities. Coming from such a great, tight-knit community, these kids have a great shot at becoming anything they want. And we know they will.
Here are a few pointers we shared:
1. Check all the Boxes, plus a few more. Some career paths are well marked…simply get good grades, get admitted to college, and apply for a job. But with job competition greater than ever, it helps to have a few extra boxes checked. Volunteer at charities associated with the industry you eventually would like to work in. Write letters to potential mentors in your chosen career asking for advice. Start blogging about your career dreams and feature interviews from successful people already in the field.
2. First impressions really do matter. We were impressed to see several students dressed in suits and nice professional clothes. They caught our eye…it makes sense to dress nicely for Career Day, and we appreciated it. As will future employers. This is also true for communication skills. If we receive an email from a potential employee or business partner that has multiple spelling or grammatical errors, we’re likely to pass on it in favor of a well-written communication. (Like everyone, we make spelling errors too…but we always do our best to communicate in a manner that’s professional and easy to understand. Why get passed over for something as silly as not spell-checking?)
3. Actively choose your path. Don’t let it choose you. We’re poster boys for career A.D.D. We each have held many kinds of jobs, starting in our early teens. And even though we’ve had what looks like great strokes of luck (getting our own television show, having a first book published, working with Martha Stewart, getting the chance to compete on The Amazing Race) none of these opportunities would’ve happened if we hadn’t both done the legwork, and taken a risk. Each one of these terrific developments came about because we reached out and networked for them. (And made sure we’d earned the credibility to gain someone’s confidence.)
What career tips would you share with the students in Sharon Springs? Leave them in the comment section below. Let’s make this page a resource for Career Days everywhere.