26 Middle school is not too early for students to begin exploring their career and educational options. Identify abilities and interests As a parent, you know your child better than anyone. You can, therefore, be an invaluable resource in helping your child identify his/her interests, talents, strengths, and values. Try to help your child see how his/her personality traits and abilities can be valuable assets in the right career. Remember, there are many talents that aren’t measured in school (the ability to work with people, leadership abilities, creativity, etc.). Explore future career options Take some time to help your child explore his/her career options, and encourage your child to do the following. u Read and do research To help your child explore and learn about specific careers, visit www. bls.gov/ooh. This government website provides accurate, up-to-date information on hundreds of careers. u Talk to people / Job Shadow Encourage your child to ask the adults he/she knows about their job. If possible, see if you can arrange for your child to job shadow someone for a day. u Get some firsthand experience The best way for students to learn about a career is to get some related experience. Try to find after-school activities to support and expand your child’s interests. For information on how to help your child plan and prepare for a career, go to www.mappingyourfuture.org. Career and Education Options