What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens, 2nd Edition: Discovering Yourself, Defining Your Future

What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens, 2nd Edition: Discovering Yourself, Defining Your Future

by Carol Christen, Richard N. Bolles


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In today's über-competitive climate, you can't just wing it when you graduate and count on finding a great job (or a great job finding you). It pays to figure out your interests early, so you can decide what additional schooling—and tuition debt—makes sense for your chosen field. In What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens, career authorities Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles not only help you plan for these decisions, but also help you define the unique passions that will lead you to your dream job. With new chapters on social media and sustainable jobs—along with all-new profiles of twentysomethings who've found work in solar energy, magazine writing, and more—this new edition has all the nitty-gritty details you need to get started now. Most importantly, it's packed with the big-picture advice that will set you up to land the job that's perfect for who you are—and who you want to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580081412
Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

CAROL CHRISTEN is a career strategist who has provided life/work planning since 1979. Specializing in working with teenagers, Carol lives along California’s Central Coast.

RICHARD N. BOLLES has been a leader in the job-hunting field for more than thirty-five years. Author of the best-selling career book What Color Is Your Parachute?, Bolles lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit www.jobhuntersbible.com.

JEAN M. BLOMQUIST is a freelance editor and writer with experience as a college admissions counselor.

Read an Excerpt

Preface to the Second Edition, Or How Can This Book Help Me?

Welcome to the adventure of your life.
   Wait, isn’t this book about choosing a career? Yes, but before you can start making decisions about careers, you really need to think out the life you want and what work will help you get that life. What purpose do you want your life to serve? What purpose does work serve in your life? 
   This book can help you answer those questions.  By reading this book and doing the exercises, you will learn how to describe the life you want as a young adult (or beyond), what you want in a dream job, and how to use that information to help you identify the training, education, and jobs that will help you get the experience and skills you need to qualify for your dream job.
   Work you will enjoy grows out of your values—that is, what is important to you. This book has been written to help you learn, step by step, what values are important to you and what kind of a life you want. That way, you’ll be able to describe what makes up a job that is good for you and how to go about getting hired to do work you want to do.
   We know you don’t really want to read a book. You’re asking, “Isn’t there some quicker method of learning what kind of career is right for me?” It would be so much easier if there were a foolproof method for helping each teen discover their perfect job. It would be lovely if there were a “sorting hat” for careers. Put it on your head and instead of saying which Hogwarts house you belong to, it would tell you what job was perfect for you. But there really isn’t one perfect job that, if you’re lucky enough to guess right, you’ll have forever. What’s perfect for you will change with age, experience, and the economy. 
   Like the Knights of the Round Table, you have a quest. Except, instead of finding the holy grail, your quest is to find your place in the world, what kind of a life you want, and how you are going to earn a living in ways you can enjoy. Most teens want their adult years to be fun and fulfilling—which is hard to achieve if you hate your job. 
   As fascinating as you are, it can take a while to get to know yourself and to pull information about you and the world of work together. In studying young adult success in transitioning from school to work, it’s surprising to find that it takes about ten years to get from no clue, to a detailed plan, to well-employed. So if you hope to spend your quarterlife birthday celebrating your personal and professional success, plan on beginning your career exploration about age fifteen.
   Why fifteen? There are lots of reasons, but the most compelling is that you’ve still got plenty of time to become aware of dozens of careers, check them out, toss some out, find some more to explore, and eventually find several options that really interest you. In addition, planning ahead gives you time to take classes that will improve your employment skills or let you go deeper into subjects you like.
   If you’re just fifteen, you can skip the first four chapters (for now). Read them when you’re seventeen or eighteen. Those chapters are for older teens with some work experience, and teach you how to find your favorite interests, skills, and goals to create a description of what you want in a job. We suggest you start reading this book at the end. Chapter 12 is about the life you want as a twentysomething, which is a good goal to start thinking about now!  You might also want to check out How to Find What You Love to Do: Naming Your Interests (chapter 1, page 10) and the Party exercise (chapter 2, page 23) to get ideas about career fields to explore. 
   Fifteen is a good age to ask yourself the following question: “Is it important to me to be able to choose and shape the life and work I do, or am I willing to take what’s available?” If you want to choose and shape your life, you’ll have a great adventure. But first you’ll have to learn some new skills for making decisions.  This book will introduce you to those skills. Like learning any new set of skills, you’ll get better at them the more you use them.
   If having the life you want or working at a particular job is your definition of the good life, we recommend that by the time you reach age seventeen you read this book—and do the exercises—from cover to cover. By your senior year (or before, if you’re the plan-way-ahead type), you should have come up with well-researched strategies for achieving your work and personal goals.  What’s important is not the job you pick—it’s learning the process of how to pick one.  After all, most adults have quite a few jobs before they find their dream job.  
   Jobs are like clothing; you have to try on a lot of them before you begin to find your style and outfits that fit you well. And, like the world of fashion, the job market is constantly changing. Some jobs that were in “fashion” a decade ago may not even exist today. Jobs you’ll love in your thirties and forties may not exist today. Many students pick a dream job and as they work toward it, they find jobs they like even better. No wonder you want to start this process now, in high school. It takes young people about a decade to wrestle with these issues, make some initial decisions, and find where they fit in the world of work. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get the life you want.
   Older than fifteen and you haven’t done any career exploration or planning? Don’t despair. Just read this book and catch up. Learning what you want and designing a career plan will help you no matter what your age.
   We’re delighted to have had a chance to update this book. The economy has changed, and so has the job market. Finding a job is tougher than ever—according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, just 20 percent of last year’s college grads have found full-time jobs. But if you know what fascinates you, and you continue to develop and revise your career plans, you’ll be better prepared than other job applicants when the time comes to get hired! In addition, we wanted to offer you the very latest in ideas, tools, statistics, and resources that can help you discover the life you want and great jobs to fund that life.

This book is about you—and your future—which is, of course, a very fascinating subject! We want to explore who you are, what’s important to you, and what you like to do. Why? We believe life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and we want to give you the tools to create the kind of life you want. We want to help you discover what you’d love to do with your life, especially work that you will love. 
   “But I’m only fourteen [or fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen],” you say. “I’m too young to be thinking about my life’s work!” We agree. We don’t expect you to plan out your whole career in high school, or even in college. This book is to help you create your first career path. Your first career path is simply how you want to earn a living as a young adult when you leave school, at whatever level that is. The sooner you start thinking about your future, the more time you have to explore all your options. 
   We think your teen years are a great time to be thinking about your life’s work. For many, high school may be the only time you have enough time to check out all the jobs that match your interests. Although this can be done when you are living on your own, it’s so much easier to do while your parents are paying your bills! As a young adult, you’re beginning to discover what’s important to you—how you like to spend your time, who you like to be with, which classes interest you (and which ones don’t). And most likely, you’re becoming aware that some adults you know—teachers, parents, coaches, and others—really enjoy what they’re doing, and others don’t. We want to help you find work that you’ll enjoy—work that’s fun, satisfying, and challenging, all rolled into one.

Who Should Read This Book?

Whether college-bound or work-bound after high school, this book is for you if any of the following describe you:
•  You care about how you’ll earn a living.
•  You have career goals but may not know how to reach them.
•  You want to find a college major that’s right for you.
•  You want to take as much control over your life as possible.
•  You hope to become financially independent as soon as possible.
•  You hope to find a fun job to finance your life while you figure out what you really want to do for work, what kind of a life you want to have and how you can get that life, and who, as a person, you really want to be.
   In short, if you want work that you love, enjoy, or feel is the right fit for you, and if you’re willing to spend some time learning about yourself and about the world of work, this book is for you.

Why Do I Need This Book?

Finding a job you’ll love takes not only time and energy but also awareness of many kinds of careers, plus career-choice and job-search skills. Chances are, even if you feel like you’re quite busy now, you have time and energy you can devote to increasing your awareness of what kind of work is good for you, and gaining skills that will help you find that kind of work. When we talked with young adults engaged in their own job hunt, they often told us that if they had only known how to use their time in school to make themselves more employable in the future, they would have made better use of that time. 
   Both authors of this book have websites through which they hear from job hunters around the world. They often receive letters from people who say they have been surprised by how hard it has been to find a job, or how long it has taken them.Too many young people use techniques they’ve heard mentioned over the years.  Unfortunately, today’s economy is too tricky to rely on hearsay techniques. Getting a challenging job that pays well and interests you isn’t easy. Studying the effective job-search and career development techniques outlined in this book will greatly improve your chances of getting hired for jobs you really want.
   We want you to be prepared, not surprised. We want to help you to work smart, which means developing job-search savvy that will help you now and throughout your adult life. If you use your time now to do some planning for how you want to earn a living, you stand a good chance of achieving your career goals. Even if you’re not sure what you want to do—and you’re not alone there (many adults feel that way too)—we’ll help you discover just what kind of job will be a good and satisfying one for you. You’ll learn what you need to know about yourself and about the world of work so that you can make good choices about how you want to live and work.

Why Did We Write This Book?

We want you to find work that you love or build a life you love through work you enjoy. We want to give you the skills necessary to find out what it is you love to do, and to find a job where you can do just that. 
   In our work, we meet thousands of adults who don’t know how to find work they love. When they were in high school, very few of them learned effective job-search skills—usually because classes in job-search skills weren’t even offered. Even though adults are expected to work, few have been taught how to discover what they most wanted out of work and life, or what employers wanted and expected of them. Of those students planning on college, many don’t receive guidance on selecting a major, even though finding the right major is an important step toward finding a great job. 
   We want your life to be different. We want you to have both the skills and the knowledge necessary to find good and rewarding work throughout your life. 
   The world of work changes constantly. Some jobs disappear, while new ones appear; others change significantly because of scientific advances, new technology, or the needs and expectations of society. The strength or weakness of the economy also affects the number and types of jobs available. If you have solid job-search skills and know what you really want to do, you can thrive—or, like a cat, always land on your feet—even when the work world changes.
   Perhaps you’ve had a few part-time jobs already. Maybe you liked your work, maybe you didn’t. More likely, you liked some parts of your work but not others. Those work experiences—and all your life experiences—are valuable because they can tell you important things about yourself and about the work you want to do.
   Are you ready for an adventure? Great! That’s what this book can offer you—an adventure in discovering more about you and what’s most important to you. So let’s get started by looking at your life and discovering your answer to this question: How do I find work I will love?

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Preface to the Second Edition x

Introduction 1

Part 1 Discovering Your Dream Job 5

1 What You Love to Do: Your Favorite Interests and Best Skills 8

2 Who You Love to Work With: Your Favorite Types of People 22

3 Where You Love to Be: Your Ideal Work Environment 28

4 Putting the Pieces Together: Identifying Your Potential Dream Jobs 37

Part 2 On The Way to Your Future 55

5 What Do I Do Now? Making the Most of High School 57

6 What Do I Do Next? Making the Most of College 80

7 Goal Setting: A Tool to Shape Your Future 94

8 Social Networking: Using Social Media to Boost Your Career 99

Part 3 Landing Your Dream Job … and More 109

9 How to Search for—and Find—Your Dream Job 111

10 The Top 10 Mistakes Job Hunters Make—and How You Can Avoid Them 141

11 Tracking Emerging Career Trends: Green Careers and Sustainability— 147

12 Beyond Your Dream Job: Creating the Life You Want 152

Appendix A What Everyone Wants to Know: Where Are the Jobs? 159

Appendix B Considering College? 162

Appendix C More Information Interviews 164

About the Authors 174

Index 175

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“You won’t generally find ‘How to choose a career’ among high school or college classes. Young people still have to figure it out on their own. This updated career guide for teenagers, a spinoff of the original What Color Is Your Parachute?, seeks to fill that gap in an easy-to-digest way.”
—Associated Press’s Finance Bookshelf, 5/14/10

“If you’re ready to take ownership of who you are and how you live, this book will take you, step by step, through the process of creating the life you want financed by work you enjoy.”  
—Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist
“Out of all the methods I have ever used to find a career that interests me, this book is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and informative of them all.” 
—Chris Mitchelitis, high school senior

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What Color Is Your Parachute?: For Teens - Discovering Yourself, Defining Your Future 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
CarolChristen More than 1 year ago
Season's greetings to those thinking about buying this book for a teen or young adult. I hope you will! Winter breaks from school bring lots of downtime, car time, plane time and waiting around time. And, please, don't just buy this book for a teen, help them work through it. Or, help them find a career mentor within their extended family or friends. A career mentor should be someone they like, know and trust who can be positive and affirming but won't feed them any BS. Start with the last chapter and read over the Discovery Exercise "Creating a Picture of Your Ideal Life." The life a teen or young adult wants is financed by the work they do. Career mentors can help youth do this Discovery Exercise or talk them through it during that downtime I mentioned earlier. Parents and teens will be interested in the chapters Getting the Most Out of High School and College. Young adult readers can make good use of the information on using social networking for career information and job search and sustainable jobs. My learnings from years of running employment programs was distilled into chapters 9 & 10. As 87% of the participants of these programs got hired within 10 weeks, in an area with 12%+ unemployment, these techniques are proven job-getters. These days, career choice without a way to get a job in that field or career is pretty useless! Employers are completely frustrated by what they see as no bridge between school and the world of work. When they interface with young job hunters, it's usually after these young want-to-be workers have tumbled out of formal education--at whatever level that happens to be. Former students were most often completely immersed in their academic studies and have little understanding of what they can do for an employer or how employers will judge them in interview situations. Don't let a teen or young adult you know and love become one of the unemployed or under-employed. The pool of jobs that earn $11.00 an hour, or less, is the fastest growing employment pool in the US and most other Western countries! Qualifying for good jobs doesn't just happen in one way. Most high-skill, high-pay jobs need training, but not necessarily an academic degree. To learn more about the issues affecting young workers, please visit the book's blog [...]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am really enjoying the book, I'm going through it myself before I start referring the young adults I work with to it. I love that you point out that research and planning is what's important, not necessarily going to college. I realized that I have been ripping myself off because I failed to finish college, expecting less because that's what I had been programmed to believe (don't go to college = don't earn good money). Thank you.
armygreenEP More than 1 year ago
Within two days of receiving this book, my grandson had figured out what he was interested in doing and started making plans along with the appropriate actions!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me the sample stopped at the 21 page when it showed the sample went up to page 54. I was disapointed because this sounded like a good book and i wanted to get a feell for it.