5 steps to finding a career



Academic and career planning.

In school, you’ve probably worked with a guidance counselor to identify areas of interest. This involves answering a few questions about yourself.

You can speak with mentors who will tell you what you need to know about their jobs: how they got there and what they do. You can then decide if that career is realistic for you.


Get exposed to business.

Once you’ve identified an area of work you might pursue, get to know local businesses where you might apply your talents and learn new skills.

Some ways to learn about local employers include participating in tours of businesses, going to career fairs and attending information sessions at school. Recruiters offer mock interviews and speed interviewing to sample a variety of industries.

More involved career experiences might include doing a job shadow, where students can go through a day of work at a business to experience the daily challenges of a role.

Internships or co-ops can offer students real-world experience on the job while going to high school or technical college as part of their schooling.


Students took part in an emergency/trauma nurse experience through a partnership between Beloit Health System and Hendricks CareerTek in November.

Take a class.

If you’ve found a few interest areas you might like to pursue, find a class to hone your skills. A school guidance counselor can help you map your interests to the class offerings in your school district.

Schools try to line up classes with the needs of the economy in which students will work. Working on machines that real factories use means students are prepared for future jobs.

Beloit Health System, in partnership with Hendricks CareerTek, runs monthly hands-on learning academies focused on a variety of aspects related to nursing. They have regular field trips to medical facilities, a six- to eight-week medical science program, and recruit high schoolers interested in pursuing their CNA license.


For the Advanced Construction Academy, Hendricks CareerTek partnered with the City of Beloit and CCI to fully demo and renovate the men’s and women’s locker rooms at the municipal golf course. Students worked for four days alongside professionals from CCI learning about the skills necessary to work in construction.

Join a club.

Project-based, hands-on learning is one of the best ways to find out what you like to do. You never know unless you try! Many groups, at schools and beyond, offer career exposure to tasks one might perform on the job. Challenges often are presented as contests, with prizes awarded.

Many jobs today and in the future will require STEM skills. A need for greater diversity in these fields is drawing businesses to involve young women in these areas.


“The people I worked with at Banker Wire made me feel like I am one of them and they didn’t treat me like a little kid. I felt like I was a regular employee and part of the team,” Faith said. GPS Education Partners works to personalize a program for each student’s individual pathway to success.

Dual enroll.

If you feel like traditional school is not working for you, consider dual enrollment, where students go to school and also work. They earn credits, get experience and are paid. Graduates can use their money toward college, and some even get hired after graduation in a secure job.

School counselors can work with students to personalize a program so every student has a clear pathway to success.

Some kids want something more than the typical teenage job.

Faith Stenson is a student at East Troy High School who graduated in spring 2018 from GPS Education Partners, a program that partners school districts with businesses. She trained as a welder at Banker Wire and plans to attend Gateway Technical College’s welding program.

Most wanted positions

Here are the top jobs companies are hiring for in south central Wisconsin, based on number of employers indicating they hire for such positions on Inspire Madison Region.

Workforce gaps include health sciences, hospitality and tourism, business management, skilled trades and STEM-based careers.

Today’s economy has great need for workers who demonstrate an affinity for science, technology, engineering and math, or like to build, design and create.

Inspire Madison Region is a web-based platform available in public school districts in the region that offers 1,700 career coaches and over 1,300 companies with more than 5,750 experiential learning activities.

  1. Customer service representative
  2. Sales representative
  3. Marketing specialist
  4. Accountant
  5. Manufacturing machine operator
  6. Human resources specialist
  7. Administrative assistant
  8. Technical sales representative
  9. Office manager
  10. Mechanical engineer
  11. Receptionist/information clerk
  12. IT project manager
  13. Custodian
  14. Quality controller
  15. Manufacturing manager
  16. Shipping & receiving clerk
  17. Industrial machinery mechanic
  18. Retail salesperson
  19. Computer network specialist
  20. Cook
  21. Electrical engineer
  22. Computer support person
  23. Nurse
  24. Graphic designer
  25. Construction manager
  26. Welder
  27. Financial manager
  28. Housekeeper
  29. Nursing assistant
  30. Electrician
  31. Industrial engineer
  32. Machinist
  33. Bookkeeper
  34. Construction laborer
  35. Cost estimator
  36. Heavy equipment operator
  37. Mechanical engineering tech
  38. Stock clerk
  39. Carpenter
  40. Computer software engineer
  41. Engineering tech
  42. Industrial engineering tech
  43. Web developer
  44. Chef
  45. Electrical engineering tech
  46. Licensed practical nurse
  47. Medical assistant
  48. Medical lab tech
  49. Truck driver
  50. Automotive service technician

Source: Job data from Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), October 2018.

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