You’ve got the job - now what?

Help youth understand that professional development and skill-building takes place even after they have landed the job of their dreams!

Congratulations! You have a job! But getting the job is not the end of the career preparation work that you will do. Helping youth explore the idea that personal development does not end with a paycheck is an important concept that will support them in their future success to not only maintain their job, but also to advance.

Activities to explore this topic can be found in the 4-H curriculum, Build Your Future: Choices, Connections, Careers (written by Michigan 4-H staff). Activity 9, Pathways to Success, looks at the many areas that one can continue to grow in while at a job or career. In this activity, learners discuss issues related to career maintenance and development. Professional development, time management, stress management, teamwork, business etiquette, and communication skills are discussed in a scenario format. Learners use problem-solving skills to address career-maintenance challenges faced by fictitious characters in either group settings with scenario cards or with an online game activity.

For instance, business etiquette refers to acceptable behaviors and expectations for an individual at work.  These behaviors and expectations might refer to things such as appropriate dress, timeliness, work ethics, courtesy, commitment, responsibility and integrity. A workplace setting also involves consideration and respect for others to create a pleasant and productive work environment. Youth may forget the importance of these soft skills once they are past the formal interview setting. 

Sometimes, when discussing professionalism, business etiquette and other career growth topics, it helps to have youth gain ideas from current professionals on what they have learned in the field. Invite a panel of young adults who have just completed the first year of their career to speak to your group. Ask them to discuss their successes and challenges. Allow the youth to brainstorm ideas for career maintenance and development in response to the panel’s real-world situations.

Discussing continued career development is an important activity that can easily, and quickly, be added into a club, after-school or in-school program. The key is to help youth understand that personal growth continues throughout life.

There are many articles on professionalism provided by Michigan State University Extension.  Read more about how attitude matters at work.  You can also explore more on the topic about how to be the best you can be at work in an article by MSU Extension. More information on career preparation can also be found on the MSU Extension website.

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