… Advise her to set up a LinkedIn profile today. Begin following careers, professionals, and companies of interest. The more, the better. Explore all options. Research opens eyes and minds. Maybe hers.
… Recommend she stalk the social media accounts of those organizations. Attempt to determine what it feels like to be an employee for that organization. Find companies that captivate and inspire. Seek out organizations that care for those that build them, both staff and customers. Be mindful of their job postings. What are qualities and titles are they looking for?
… Urge her to identify her ideal roles within the organization of interest. Who fills those shoes now? Virtually walk in those shoes. Eventually introduce yourself as a student of that career. The ambition will be remembered.
… Advise her to practice networking, sales, and public speaking as often as possible. Take a public speaking class. Attend local networking events in industries that make her curious. Spend some time cultivating her own sales pitch. Make headway by listening and then presenting thoughtful negotiations.
… Caution her to not follow in my footsteps. Don’t drop out. There’s a dirt path and a paved path to six figures. The destination will be the same but the journeys couldn’t be more different. One will require more grit and resourcefulness, the other is more obvious. With a degree, you can walk in the front door. Without it, you’ll have to sneak into an open side door or learn to jimmy windows.
… However, I also recommend she “interview” and “practice” her major. Test drive that financial investment early and often. Call the top employers in the area for that field. Ask for a tour of organization. The best employers will gladly show off their talent and facility to an interested young lady.
… Teach her how to package herself, verbally and written. Always submit a resume and cover letter. Even if it’s a part-time waitress gig. Crafting a stand-out resume and cover letter will serve you well for a lifetime. Remember there will be a slew of applicants also applying for her first job. She must get comfortable with selling and packaging herself.
…Coach her on tenacity and resilience. The first comes naturally to me, the second I’m still cultivating. Both skills will be required to shatter ceilings.
…Help her find her own unique professional voice and comfortability in her skin. Women find these two traits develop with experience. I vow to give her preview to their importance.
…Remind her that you want better for her than you had. My parents wanted the same. (I didn’t see it at her age but I do now. She will too. )
If I could mentor your teenage daughter, I would.
Pink Mentor Network is a career awareness project for teenage girls and young women. We develop curriculum and programs that give her career a head start.