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1. The challenges teens face preparing for future careers

As teenagers start to think about majors, careers, and their place in a future workforce, it can be hard to come up with a concrete picture for themselves so far in advance. Particular industries or jobs may come and go over time. New technologies will fade and emerge with innovation. Yet as future professionals are tasked with solving ever more complex and urgent societal challenges, the demand for people with advanced interpersonal and organizational skills – now called “durable skills” – is gaining strength.

durable skills

Without these skills, job seekers find themselves at a disadvantage when entering the workforce. According to a 2019 LinkedIn study, 92% of hiring managers consider durable skills to be just as important as technical skills when evaluating candidates for a job. While specific technical skills are considered “perishable” because of advances in automation and AI, durable skills remain relevant regardless of changes in technology, the job market, or industry. Employees and job seekers who possess them command higher salaries. And as the World Economic Forum reports, durable skills are becoming “a kind of career insurance.”

While there are many durable skills, we’ve chosen to focus on the ability to be a self-starter, solve problems, and communicate clearly as some of the most important qualities that will set your teen apart from the crowd. By developing durable skills, your teen will be well-equipped to face the challenges of an ever-evolving job market.

teen speaker

2. How being a self-starter, problem solver, and good communicator can help your teen be better prepared for the future professional world

Being a self-starter is an invaluable asset in any workplace. It can give your teen the edge they need to stand out from the competition. A self-starter is someone who takes initiative and finds ways to get projects done without needing to be prompted or directed. Self-starters are able to prioritize their tasks and take ownership of their responsibilities.

Problem-solving skills are also essential for career development and success. Employers look for people who can think critically and come up with creative solutions to problems without needing to be told what to do. Problem solving involves analytical thinking, breaking down complex tasks, staying calm under pressure, and adapting to new conditions.

The ability to communicate effectively is a key component in any job, especially if your teen is looking to enter a leadership position. Being able to express oneself clearly, listen actively, and engage with others can make all the difference when it comes to collaboration and problem-solving.

3. How to help teens develop durable skills

When it comes to helping your teen develop their self-starter skills, you can encourage them to take on new tasks that require independence and initiative. Give them the freedom to make small decisions and be open to feedback. This will help them develop their skills in a safe environment where they can practice and learn from mistakes.


You can also help your teen think critically by having them take on tasks that involve problem-solving. Having conversations about current events, breaking down complex projects into smaller steps, or reading books and articles are all methods of helping them hone their problem-solving skills.

Finally, communication is best learned through practice. Encourage your teen to talk openly and engage in meaningful conversations with you, as well as other adults and peers. Have them join a mock trial or drama club to help further develop their public speaking abilities.

4. Practical activities to develop durable skills

Fortunately, there are many practical activities and experiences that your teen can do now to develop the skills they will need later. For instance, problem-solving skills can be developed through tasks such as participating in debate clubs or engaging in intellectual games like chess.

Volunteering and internships are excellent ways for teens to make a positive impact on their community while developing self-starter and communications skills. These activities also offer unique opportunities to work with different people and organize meaningful projects.

Taking on extra responsibilities at home is another great way for teens to develop essential skills such as time management and organization. Teens can help with household chores, engage in hobbies or activities that teach them a new skill set, or even take up a part-time job to gain financial literacy. These experiences give teens the necessary practical experience and skills to face the challenges of being career-ready.


5. Ways to stay motivated while learning lifelong, durable skills

It is essential for teens to stay focused, motivated, and dedicated in order to learn these lifelong skills effectively. One way to stay motivated is for teens to break their goals into small, achievable tasks. This helps them focus on the short-term goals necessary for reaching the larger goal. Teens can also set rewards or incentives for themselves for when they reach a certain milestone. This will give them something to look forward to, as well as offer an extra boost of motivation.

Finally, having a supportive network is also key in learning and maintaining these skills. Teens can seek support from family members and friends who are willing to listen and help guide them through the process. It is also helpful to surround themselves with like-minded individuals who have similar goals, as this can help build positive motivation and camaraderie.

6. The importance of preparing your teen now for a successful career in adulthood

It’s never too early to start preparing your teen for a successful career in adulthood. With the right motivation and guidance from parents and other supportive adults in their lives, teens today have an excellent chance of mastering lifelong skills that will give them an edge in the future job market. By focusing on developing a teen’s durable skills, you’ll not only better prepare them for the job market, but – first and foremost – you’ll help them stand out to colleges as candidates ready for the challenges of the future professional world.

lifting weights

At Blue Stars, we believe that personal growth leads the way to success in college admissions and beyond. Our expert team can provide guidance and support as your child navigates this process. We are here to partner with you to help them grow and achieve their goals.

Investing in your child now will pay off in the long run.

Don’t wait – start building your child’s durable skills today with Blue Stars!

About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

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