Tools to help your teen build their career

So your teen has made the big decision about what they want to do after school. Now they need to put a plan in action to make it happen. How they set goals and plan for their future will depend on whether they’ve decided to get a job straight out of school, get into a trade or do tertiary study. There are lots of things to consider, so we’ve got tips, advice and tools to help them get on track.

Setting career goals

Before they start researching work or study options, it’s a really good idea to encourage your teen to set some goals and write them down. This will help them create small, achievable tasks and stay focused.

How to achieve career goals – tips to share with your teen

  1. Write them down – be specific and keep it simple!
  2. Research – find out what you need to do to achieve your goals.
  3. Identify the obstacles – for example, do you need to gain new skills to get a certain job?
  4. Ask for support from friends, whānau or teachers – they can help to keep you motivated and on track.

An example of goal setting


  • I want to become a horse trainer

Steps I'll take to achieve this goal:

  • I'll do a National Certificate in Equine at the local polytech, which I will apply for in November.
  • I'll try to find a part-time job next month as a stablehand, so I'm getting experience in the industry.

Always strive for long-term goals and make little goals first. For instance, if you want to be a world-class restaurant manager, start at the bottom and be a kitchen hand. Then take a night course on being a waiter while you are working as a kitchen hand. That way you can slowly work up the ladder.

Jay Dunlop, mature student and part-time call centre worker

Pick your career planning tool kit


Get in touch

We’re here to help. If you would like some more advice on how to transition from school to work or study, contact one of our experienced career advisers. Phone us free, even from a mobile, or chat online for expert advice.

Updated 26 Jan 2018