My 16-year-old has asked me for career advice. What do I tell them?

You might not know what to say, but here’s a list of the best free places online that can help…

First of all, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Most kids are met with a blank stare or a splutter of generic nonsense when they ask their parents for career help.

And that’s because no one has trained parents to be career advisors to a teen. There are tens of thousands of books about the early years. The internet is piled with blog posts about what it’s like to have growing kids. Social media is awash with support groups for new parents.

But it gets a lot quieter when your teen starts transitioning into a young adult. So there’s next-to-nothing available to assist parents give good career guidance to their own kids.

But teens do turn to their parents for career advice. And they actually listen to their advice (for once, am I right parents?! Lol). In a recent survey, 48% of people said their parents/guardians had a strong impact on their career path.

Putting your child’s career in your own uninformed hands could jeopardise their future significantly. So if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you need to either educate yourself or point your child in the direction of someone who is educated about career options. So here are our top resources (there’s 7 of them) for you and your teen to explore together:

GENERAL OVERVIEW OF ALL INDUSTRIES & JOBS

Prospects — www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree

If your teen has absolutely no idea what direction to go in, firstly you should know that THAT’S ABSOLUTELY FINE. They, along with the other 90% of the population who are still in education who also have no idea, can work it out as they go along. The beginning of their career is likely to be all meandering trial and error anyway, so having a set idea of what you want to do is often pointless. But in order to work it out, you have to start somewhere and a generalist career hub is a good place to compare the huge breadth of industry options that exist without having a million different websites open on different tabs.

N.B. Although this URL says “what can I do with my degree”, this section can be used for people that don’t choose to go to university too (like myself). So please ignore this annoyingly discriminative title, you can still use it without a degree. Most of the jobs they have listed don’t need a degree.

FOR VIDEO INTERVIEWS

iCould — https://icould.com/explore

For the more visual teens who want to see the people who work in a variety of industries and jobs. There are a number of great things about this resource hub:

  • The breadth of industries and jobs.
  • The length of the videos.
  • The diversity of people from all walks of life and different career levels.
  • The fact that some of the videos are literally decades old and are surely of great historical significance now.

So many career education video hubs prioritise video quality over quantity. And sure, having 15 blockbuster-quality, beautifully shot videos is visually fantastic. But when you’re a young person, panicking about their career options and fretting about not having a single idea about what to do with the rest of their lives so just want a quick overview of loads of different jobs and industries, quantity is much more important and useful.

FOR CREATIVE & DIGITAL CAREERS

The ERIC App — https://www.meet-eric.com/

Ah, The ERIC App. An INCREDIBLE breakthrough in career education. It’s basically an amazing online library of career content about the creative & digital industries. ERIC haven’t made any of the content themselves, they’ve simply collected the best career advice about the creative & digital careers from across the internet, brought it all onto their app and categorised everything so young people can find the career advice they need, quickly and easily.

There are 16 Creative Industries (including advertising, gaming, marketing and other huge money-making industries) and a whole world of creative/digital hybrid roles, so don’t think this is just about painting and acting. This is the perfect free resource for teens who:

  • Have any kind of creative skill
  • Aren’t actually creative but would thrive in a creative environment
  • Love the more creative side of digital (e.g. social media or graphic design)

Plus it looks soooo good. When you use the app you really begin to clock onto how many career resources are designed by old people for young people…

FOR THE CORPORATE CAREERS

eFinancial — https://www.efinancialcareers.com/news/student

Accountancy, banking, management consultancy, venture capital… if your teen is driven by making money, this is the resource hub for them. It’s a little less intuitive than the other hubs (you can tell by the design and UX that this was created by corporates), but it has all the important information spread across the site — you just might have to click on a few more links than the other sites.

FOR TECH CAREERS

Thinkful — https://www.thinkful.com/blog/tech-career-quiz/

I mentioned earlier that 90% of people in education don’t know what they want to do as a career. The other 10% are vocational. They have a calling in life. A career itch that they just must and will scratch. I believe these vocations to be; singer, dancer, vet and techy.

So if your teen fits into the last category, this is the only website they will ever need. Because it is their destiny to be one of the roles listed. You’re in luck as a parent too — this list is only going to expand as the years go on and your teen is going to be in a very desirable cohort and will be able to command exceptional amounts of money. 80% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet and the prediction is that most of them will be in tech. So the earlier they start a career, the more they’ll be earning as demand for experienced tech experts grows.

FOR ALL OTHER CAREERS

Milkround — https://www.milkround.com/advice/career-advice

For the roles that fall outside of the creative & digital, corporate and tech sectors (such as hospitality, medicine, civil service, etc), advice is available on specialised websites. But as with Prospects, Milkround is great for a more general exploration. It goes into a little more depth about specific jobs, so it’s good if you want to get a taster for something that isn’t covered in the previous resources listed. And if you can’t find it on Milkround maybe it’s time to google.

TO FIND OUT WHAT THE JOB IS REALLY LIKE

Tik Tok — https://www.tiktok.com/

This is the last stop on the career advice tour. Why? Because it’s the final step to find out whether an industry or job is really worth pursuing. Tik Tok is the window into an employees honest reality of their working life.

The beauty of Tik Tok, is that it encourages an authentic promotion of what it’s like to be you. And that includes what your working day is like and how you feel about your job, company and industry. Type in a job title or ‘careers in’ + [industry] and you’ll be met with hundreds, if not thousands, of people sharing their personal takes on the perks, pitfalls, opinions, horror stories, uplifting tales, tips, tricks and advice for anyone looking to follow their career path. It’s the ultimate career insights platform.

Sam is CEO & Co-Founder of ERIC.

Sam runs ERIC with her best friend of 22 years and business partner of 7 years, Mae.

Sam & Mae are obsessed with ‘entertainment-first’ education (why can’t learning be fun, right?) and they are on a mission to empower students, schools & career advisors by making career advice hyper-effective with their new free-to-use app, ERIC.

How does the app work? The ERIC team search the internet for the most helpful career-related articles, videos, podcasts & events on the web and embed it on the app so young people can find the career advice they need, super fast.

ERIC is available on the app store & the play store now.

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Samantha Hornsby

Co-founder of ERIC. Likes writing, loves listening. Immersive experience obsessive.