15 Pieces of Career Advice for High School Graduates

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Graduating from high school is a celebratory life event. There are many paths you can pursue after high school, but gaining life and career advice can help you navigate college, a new job or any other aspiration you choose to follow. In this article, we share helpful advice for high school graduates, including different tips for education and work.

15 pieces of advice for high school graduates

Here's some general life and career tips every high school graduate needs to hear:

1. Find a mentor

Consider finding a mentor who's willing to guide you and give you advice. This might be a teacher, coach, manager, family member or friend. Find someone you admire who has a career that interests you and can offer you both general advice and career advice. For example, if you want to pursue biology, then you might ask your high school biology teacher to mentor you.

2. Identify your interests

Identifying your interests can help you discover what career you want to pursue. Try writing a list of all your interests, then research careers that align with them. Researching jobs can help you decide if the typical job duties for these positions interest you. For instance, if you enjoy animals, biology and medicine, you might consider becoming a veterinarian or a veterinary technician.

Read more: 9 Jobs for High School Graduates

3. Choose a job you like

Try to choose a job you like or a job that makes you happy. It's important to choose a desirable career path so you feel satisfied with your work. You can research job positions or consider talking to a career counselor to help you find and pursue a fulfilling career.

4. Pursue your ambitions

Pursuing your ambitions might include choosing what college you want to attend, what degree you want to pursue or where you want to live after graduating from high school. Following your ambitions involves taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals, such as completing educational certifications or internships in your intended field. For example, if you want to become a construction worker, you might try to get an apprenticeship or earn specialty certifications.

Read more: 21 Good-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a High School Diploma

5. Try different things

Trying different things is an essential part of life after graduation because it helps you learn about your likes, dislikes and talents. Consider trying new hobbies, classes, foods or skills. This can be especially valuable if you're unsure of what you want to do after high school. For instance, if you decide to try cooking as a hobby, you might discover you want to pursue a career as a chef.

6. Get involved

Consider volunteering with local organizations, attending community events or participating in clubs. Getting involved in your community can help you experience new things and meet people, which may broaden your experiences and help you find job opportunities. For example, you might connect with someone in your community who informs you about an interesting job listing or internship position. You can also include this volunteer work or a club membership on your resume to potentially make it more attractive to employers.

7. Ask for help

Pursuing a new educational or career path after graduation may be challenging, but asking for support can help you find solutions. You can ask mentors, teachers, professors or family members for career and educational advice or tips. For example, if you're struggling with a class, you might ask your professor for additional help so you can learn study tips and perform better on tests.

8. Work hard

Working hard can show employers you're dedicated. If you go to college, work hard in your classes by completing your assignments on time and studying for tests. If you pursue a career after high school, try to meet your quotas and complete all your weekly tasks. Working hard involves giving yourself goals, breaks and motivation. For example, if you're working on multiple projects at once, it may be beneficial to take breaks to help you stay productive in the long term.

Related: 60 Graduation Quotes To Inspire the Next Generation

9. Form relationships

Try to make relationships with the people you meet after graduating from high school. This could include new coworkers, friends, managers or professors. For example, you might consider meeting with coworkers outside of work to develop your relationships with them. Maintaining these relationships can help you develop interpersonal and communication skills and may lead to new opportunities, such as jobs or internships.

10. Create a schedule

Try to create a schedule for yourself because many careers require consistent work hours. For example, you might manage your time by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Having a schedule can improve your productivity and help you build healthy habits. Schedules can also help you be punctual to work or classes and help you meet important deadlines.

11. Form a budget

Learning how to budget is a valuable skill that can help you make good financial decisions and save money for the future. Some careers might also involve budgeting as a job duty, so it's helpful to know how to manage money. Try to be mindful of how much you make and spend in order to create an effective budget. You can also use a planner or budgeting tool to help track and organize your budget.

12. Make a development plan

Consider making a development plan for yourself to map out your goals and aspirations. You can do this by writing a list of your goals and identifying ways to achieve them. For example, if you want to become a doctor, you could write that you want to attend medical school within the next five years. You can also use a tracking tool to help you see how much progress you've made.

13. Update your resume

Update your resume every few months or once a year with the most recent information about your work history and accomplishments for potential employers to view. You can add new experiences, education, certifications, awards or skills you've gained. If you decide to attend college, try to update your resume to include any new jobs you have or clubs you've joined after your first year of school.

Read more: How To Include Your High School Education on a Resume

14. Compile a professional portfolio

A professional portfolio is a collection of important documents, such as a resume, cover letter, list of awards, reference sheet and proof of certifications. Having a digital or physical portfolio can help you look impressive in the hiring process. To compile your portfolio, collect all the documents you want to include and organize them in a way that highlights your achievements. For example, if you have a strong resume, then you might put that document first. Consider printing several copies of your portfolio so that you can share it with multiple employers.

15. Take opportunities

Try to take as many opportunities as you can after high school. For example, if a college offers you financial aid, you might choose to go there for your undergraduate degree. Taking opportunities like study abroad programs, internships or job openings can help you grow professionally and gain interesting experiences.

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