Career Decisions for Teenagers and Young People

Teenager making career decisions

Career Decisions for Teenagers and Young People

A career is not a decision you make once that becomes a choice for life. It has been engrained in society that we need to choose a career wisely because that’s what we’re investing in for the rest of our life, but it’s simply not true.

Your work, your job, your career (call it what you will) is fluid and as your desires, needs and circumstances change, so will your choices around further education and work. As a wrap up to this blog mini-series I want to pull together a summary of thoughts and questions around career decisions for teenagers and young people that will act as a guide for you to explore further.


“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”
Sheryl Sandberg


Remember that you are in control

Right now, you might be waiting for exam results, sampling the responsibility of working in a part-time role, volunteering or considering further education to build your knowledge in preparation for a specific career path. Perhaps you are even exploring a gap year, an apprenticeship programme or launching your own business.

Wherever you are on your journey, it may well be a time of uncertainty. There are many elements out of your control, such as the types of jobs available, the companies looking to hire, the salary, hours offered, benefits, location, and the qualifications and skills required.

The one thing you are always in control of though, are your own thoughts, feelings and actions. You know who you are, and you know when something feels right or wrong.

Remember Bob? If you’re unsure about Bob, visit him again here and make sure you fully comprehend what is in your power. You have the power to internalise positive and negative thoughts and the behavioural outcome of those thoughts. You are in complete control of this, and your choices, so use that power to go for a career that is truly aligned with your passion and purpose.


“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”
Anna Freud

Fresh graduate undecided about career

Remember who you are

That said, it’s easy for young people to feel overwhelmed when it comes to career decision-making, so let me help you to remember who you really are.

Repeat after me:

I am alive.
I am unique.
I am magnificent in my very own ways.
I am gifted and talented.
I am here for a purpose.
I am passionate.
I am willing to remember that all things change, and I can change at any time.
I am flexible, curious and in charge of my life.

Now smile 🙂
Have you got a big smiley face beaming?

Did you say the mantra out loud? If you didn’t scroll back up a little and repeat it again, out loud. When you do this, you will feel more alive and certain words and/or phrases will resonate with you and the meaning will embed a little deeper.

Here it is again:

I am alive.
I am unique.
I am magnificent in my very own ways.
I am gifted and talented.
I am here for a purpose.
I am passionate.
I am willing to remember that all things change, and I can change at any time.
I am flexible, curious and in charge of my life.

Think about the message you’ve just read out loud.

Yes, you are alive. Take a deep breath, inhale all the way and hold it … exhale and repeat. Really feel the aliveness and how your breath draws life into your body. Feel how your exhale exuberates energy so that you’re vibrating with joy and happiness.

You are unique and there is nobody else like you on Earth – how cool is that?

Sit with this for a moment and think about what makes you different. What is the thing that makes you special, unique, individual? Is it something quirky, caring, intuitive, creative, strategic? There could be many combinations of natural gifts, talents and attributes that make you incredible. Take your time and write down what you know to be true. You’ll feel it inside. Your superpower!

Everyone has their own unique superpower, but we often take them for granted and don’t appreciate their value. What is easy and magical for you might be super hard for someone else. Have a think about the following ‘I am’ statement and choose what feels aligned for you:

• I am caring
• I am creative
• I am imaginative
• I am friendly
• I am a great people person
• I am a planner
• I am a negotiator
• I am approachable
• I am good at making things fair
• I am fabulous at taking care of the detail
• I am organised
• I am structured

If you’re struggling, discovering what sparks the feeling of being in flow will help. Take the Ignition Programme free Spark Test here to learn more about the ‘Fuels’ that use your natural gifts and talents. Once you have your results, digest the overview and re-read this blog, jotting down any thoughts you have around what you love doing – and what you don’t. The test will take less than a minute and you’ll find answers highlighting your natural gifts and talents.

If you found the Spark Test informative and intriguing, you can gain more clarity on your strengths and positive attributes by learning about the Travellers – the Ignition Programme profiles. These profiles help you understand what careers are best suited to your passion, purpose and personality. You can contact me by email here or reach out to me on our social, listed below to find out more information about the profiles and the Ignition Programme for teenagers and young people.

Understanding your purpose

You are here on this planet for a reason. It was no accident that you’re here and you have a purpose. That purpose might be to teach, lead, care, create, invent, fix, match, protect, deliver, negotiate … whatever it is, you will have a life purpose.

Knowing who you are is key and you must shout out about your uniqueness and natural gifts and talents on your CV, job applications, in covering letters and interviews because these are the things that set you apart from everyone else. These are the attributes that make you unique. Highlighting your understanding of profiles and personality types in a job application shows that you are emotionally and behaviourally intelligent – this is a big tick for a young person in the eyes of a future boss!

Finding your passion

Even if you don’t recognise it yet, you do have a passion.

It’ll be that one thing that is a driver to stepping up onto your soapbox. It’ll be the thing that you feel a strong desire to speak out about or act on. It will be something that you have an intense feeling about, that compels you to do something, say something or be a part of something that makes a difference and it’s likely linked with your purpose.

Combining all these elements, will enable you to seek out the perfect industry to work in and achieve a role within that industry that has your name on it!

Be fluid with your career decisions as a teenager

I mentioned this point at the start of the blog article but it’s important, so I’ll repeat it. Your career decision now is not a decision for life. You will always be changing, learning and growing. The world around you will always be changing as will industries, marketplaces and job roles. Opportunities are endless, forever evolving, and skills and traits are adaptable and transferable.

There is no such thing as a job for life, or even a business for life. But there is adaptability and flexibility and knowing who you are, and what you love, helps you to adapt and flex on your terms.


“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Nelson Mandela 


What you focus on is what you get

Remember, you are in control of your thoughts, feelings and subsequent actions. Career decisions for teenagers can appear complex but they can be simplified by knowing who you are, staying in flow and focusing on what you want.

Don’t get sucked into the media’s doom and gloom. There will always be redundancies, business closures, changes in education, differences in exam results and fluctuations in wages and job prospects. Stay in control of what you want and choose to go after your passion. There will always be another side to every story. That other side to the doom and gloom is that many businesses are booming. Lots of start-up businesses are flourishing because of innovation and determination and new jobs, roles and opportunities are always emerging.

Turn off the TV. Stop listening to the radio news and switch off to negative gossip. Instead, start looking for the goodness and magnificence around you. If you have a burning desire in your heart that your head has been trying to talk you out of and yet the spark still burns brightly, pursue it. Go in the pursuit of your happiness – yours, not other people’s opinions of your happiness.


“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”
Les Brown

Choose the life you want to lead

If you don’t follow your dreams, I guarantee that someone else will follow them and when you see them doing it and loving it, you’ll wish you’d done it. And that hurts like heck!

Look out for career coaching, career-ready workshops and online programmes to support you in your career and business choices. Try the exercises suggested in this mini-series and take the Spark Test. Be empowered to be the best you in the best role or business that you can possibly be and love what you do!

I’d love to hear your thoughts around your current career prospects. Please send me a message and connect on social media:


If you know anyone who wants to learn more about the types of industries and roles that match their unique skills, please share this blog article with them.

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