Employers and Universities: Work with us?

Careers Advice for Teenagers

If you’re currently studying for your GCSEs or A-Levels, then the chances are that you’ve started thinking about what your career options might be for the future. The trouble is, that with so many options out there, how do you know what career will be right for you? We’ve put together this blog post to provide teenagers with a structured process for choosing a career. The three stages in this process are:

  • Reflecting
  • Researching
  • Planning

By following our three step structure, you’ll have a better understanding of what career options you have as a teenager, how to explore them further and how to make an actionable plan to pursue your chosen career.

‘If you’re studying for GCSEs or A-Levels, then you should start thinking about your career options now’

Tweet this to your followers

It’s often said that there’s a need for better careers advice for teenagers and according to a recent survey, 4 in 10 people end up working in an unfulfilling job because they didn’t know what else to do.

At Success at School, we want to change this by providing quality careers advice for teenagers that will empower them to make their own decisions and take action on their goals.

Reflect – what type of career would suit you?

Girl thinking outside with books

'The first step to career planning is reflecting on your options'

The first step towards finding a fulfilling career is to think about the type of career that you’d enjoy doing. It’s also important to consider what you think a ‘good’ career for you actually means. For some people, a fulfilling career might mean one that pays well, whereas others might see a good career as one that allows you to manage your own workload.


To help you determine what a fulfilling career looks like to you, try arranging the following statements in order of how important they are to you.

  • A job with a high paying salary is important to me
  • I value having the freedom to work using my own initiative
  • I enjoy being part of a team and working with other people towards a common goal
  • I take direction well and I prefer to follow instructions from others
  • I want to be my own boss

Consider the order in which you’ve placed these statements. The ones that you’ve placed at the top of your list are most likely the ones that you value the most when thinking about careers. Try to bear values in mind when carrying out your research as they can impact what type of career you might want to pursue.


How do you spend your time after school and at the weekends? Do you have a particular hobby that you enjoy? Do you play any sports? Do you spend most of your time with friends on in your own company?

Your personal interests can be a good starting point for reflecting on possible career options. One of the things that the survey we mentioned earlier found was that people 40% of people end up leaving their job because they don’t want to regret spending their career working in the wrong industry for them.

If you’re able to find a career working in an industry that you have a genuine passion for, then you’ll get more job satisfaction and will generally be happier with your career choices.


What are you good at? Do you have a talent for writing? Are you good with numbers? Maybe you can play a mean guitar solo or have an artistic flair?

Whereas every skill can be developed, most of us have one or two that just seem to come naturally to us. When it comes to reflecting on your career options, it can help to think about what skills you already have.

If you’re a people person and are good at talking people round then perhaps a career in sales or PR would be good for you? Or if you work well with numbers, then perhaps you should look at a career in finance or management?


Are you a naturally outgoing person, or are you more reserved? Do you prefer to think things through logically or trust your instincts?

Taking the time to think about your personal qualities can help ensure that you choose a career that’s suited to your personality. For example, some careers are known for being high-pressured and busy, whereas others are known for being more creative, requiring you to think on your feet.

Research – explore what career options are out there

Studying at a desk

‘Looking into specific industries can be a good starting point for your career research’

Make a list of all the careers that you thought about when reflecting on your options. The next step is to dig a little deeper into each of these career areas and find out what qualifications and experience you’ll need to gain in order to work in these areas.

A good place to start researching specific careers is the Career Zone on the Success at School website. We have a list of the main career areas that people generally work in and we provide practical advice on how to get started in each.

When exploring specific careers as a teenager, there are some essential pieces of information that you need to know. Use the following list as a checklist for your research to make sure that you’ve fully explored what each specific career requires:

  • What qualifications do I need for this type of career?
  • Do I need any particular skills to work in this industry?
  • What personal qualities would this job require me to have?
  • What is a typical salary in this career?
  • Is this a popular industry/is competition for jobs high?
  • Is there a specific location for this career (some jobs are more in demand in certain areas)

Plan – mapping out your career path

Notebooks and pens

‘The path to a successful career starts with a plan’

Once you have the lowdown on your career options, the next step is to create a plan outlining how you’ll pursue your chosen path. At this stage, you may want to consider keeping your options open (as much as possible) as even the best laid plans sometimes take a different turn.

First steps after school

Are you able to apply for jobs straight after school or do you need more qualifications and training? Planning what you need to do ahead of time will help you prepare for making the transition from leaving school to actively pursuing your career.

Further training and qualifications

Does your career require you to have further qualifications or training? If you’ve just completed your GCSEs and the jobs that you’re interested in require you to have A-Levels, then you know that you should be looking into what A-Levels will be the most useful for you in the future.

If the careers that you’re considering need you to have a degree, then the A-Levels that you choose will impact what university courses you’re able to apply for, so you should start to looking into your A-Level options as early as possible.

You should also consider alternative routes into your career. For example, can you secure a job that typically requires a degree by any other means? Like an apprenticeship or school leaver programme, for example? Knowing what your alternatives are can help you keep your options open when pursuing your chosen career path.

Gaining experience

Depending on what type of jobs you’re considering, some employers value experience more than qualifications. If the job that you’re looking at doesn’t have a set path to entry, then you may want to consider gaining experience in your chosen field. Careers like journalism, photography and media don’t always require you to have specific qualifications, so taking on some work experience placements may be the best route for you to go down.

What stage are you at in your career planning? Do you have any questions on any of these stages above? Do you have any of your own careers advice for teenagers that you’d like to share? Sign up to Success at School and let us know in the comments below.

Related posts:

How Parents Can Help Their Teenagers Prepare for Summer Work

What Employment Rights do I Have as a Secondary School Student?

Image URLs: