Summer stepping stones – Career Top Tips for Teens


With summer sunshine upon us (at least some of the time), it’s a great time for teens to use it as stepping stones and set themselves up for an exciting future. So, I would love to share some career top tips for teens that will not only make their summer memorable but also pave the way for a promising future. So, let’s get started!

Embrace jobs and volunteer opportunities

Summer holidays are an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience through part-time jobs and volunteering. These experiences will not only boost your teen’s CV but also help them to develop essential life skills like time management, teamwork, and communication. Whether it’s flipping burgers at a local café or helping out at a community event, every experience counts. And you never know who they’ll meet or what conversations they will have that lead to other things too.

Of course, if what they do links to something they are interested in for the future, amazing. But even if not, it will still help them to develop their self-awareness as well as their skills. And it might even earn some extra cash as a bonus.

It is also worth considering that looking for a part-time job in the summer can mean they get ahead of the crowds for autumn. Many young people will start to look for a job once they have started college or uni. And many people leave their part-time jobs in early summer, e.g. at the end of a degree. So if your teen looks now, they could be ahead of the game.

Seize the advantage of less competition for work experience

If your teen has been struggling to get the work experience placement they really wanted during term time, then the holidays can often be a great way to get what they want. As many schools and colleges run their work experience at similar times, usually in the summer term, there is often A LOT of competition. So if your teen really wants to work with the local vet or law firm, it can be worth asking if they can come during the summer holidays. They could have a lot less competition.

However, there is usually still a lot of competition for formal summer schemes, particularly those aimed at university students and those taking a gap year. But in this case, they could use this summer to plan ahead for the next.

And if a more formal work experience of a week or more isn’t an option, it is worth asking about some work shadowing instead. Even a few hours following someone who does what they are interested in can be a great start. And it leaves plenty of time for other holiday activities too.

Start exploring college and apprenticeship options

If they are about to enter year 11, then this is the perfect time to start exploring their post-secondary education options, be it college or apprenticeships. Encourage them to research different courses and make shortlists of the ones they want to find out more about, check for upcoming college open days, research local companies that might offer apprenticeships, and speak to professionals in fields that interest them. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and finding that ideal course or career can start now!

Prepare for results day

If your teen is waiting for their GCSE or college results, it is worth preparing a few things ahead of results day. I wrote a blog about this last year, which you can find here.

Pursue passions

While career exploration is extremely useful, remind them to spend some time on their passions and hobbies. Pursuing activities that genuinely interest them can help build self-confidence and resilience, as well as transferable skills. Besides, employers appreciate candidates who have a well-rounded personality and can bring diverse perspectives to the table.

So even if they, or you, can’t quite see how some of their “fun” interests might link to a future career, they are still an important part of their life and development.

Take time to chill out

With all these tips it could be easy to think I expect your teen to be busy every minute of every day, of course not.

It is important for all of us to have some time to just be. To potter around, have lie-ins, not have anywhere to be or anything to do for a little bit. Although many teenagers find this quite easy and might not need any encouragement at all, some find it actually quite hard to switch off. Encourage them to take at least a little time out from planning, working, or revising for the next academic year. Having downtime is important to recharge and be ready for the new set of challenges and opportunities. And often we get those “bright ideas” when our minds had some time to wander and we aren’t actively trying to do anything.

It’s a journey

Summer is a great time for teenagers to explore and prepare for their future education and careers. By taking advantage of part-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, and work-shadowing during this less competitive season, they can gain invaluable experience that will set them apart from the crowd.

Remember, this journey is not just about reaching a destination but also about enjoying the ride. Encourage them to embrace their passions, develop essential skills, and make genuine connections along the way. Help them not to be afraid of challenges or mistakes – they are the stepping stones to their future success.

So, help them make the most of this summer, and let it be the beginning of a fulfilling and prosperous career journey. With dedication, optimism, and a dash of adventure, they have the potential to create a future they’ll love.

And if you would like some more tips and inspiration, come and join my free group for parents, or find out about the individual careers guidance sessions I offer here.

Hi, I’m Theresa!

I’m here to help you and your teen find their Cheerful Career!

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