Youth leadership roles can be good career preparation

Michigan 4-H provides a foundation for youth to develop leadership skills and assist in career preparation.

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As a youth development organization, Michigan 4-H provides opportunities for youth to learn skills that will help them throughout their whole lives. In particular, many youth develop leadership skills through their 4-H activities. Leadership skills and practice can benefit youth in many ways; one of these advantages is career preparation.

Leadership in 4-H can take many forms, from club officers to teen leaders to the simple act of mentoring younger members. Even small roles can give teens skills they can utilize later on in their careers. Leadership skills include communication, conflict resolution, teamwork and team-building, learning how to use resources wisely, planning and organizing, problem solving, goal-setting and making decisions.

Employers are looking for potential job candidates who can demonstrate skills such as these. Michigan State University Extension recommends 4-H members think about using their club experiences as evidence of skills, even before they have had a paying job. Youth can take on responsibility for specific projects, like a club community service project or can help to teach project skills to younger members of their group. Taking on a formal leadership role such as president, treasurer or other club officer is also a good way to cultivate skills.

Getting experience with leadership skills in a 4-H club is an excellent way to prepare for a career, no matter what career path youth choose. Not only will youth have a chance to learn skills they can use for the rest of their lives, but they will be able to practice these skills in a safe environment. Practicing leadership and learning from each experience will result in increased confidence.

The best way to showcase leadership skills to a potential employer is through the functional resume, available on the Michigan 4-H website. This resume allows a candidate to group their experiences based on the skills they have gained. It doesn’t matter if the experiences were in paid positions, volunteer positions, or extra-curricular activities, so this is a perfect way to highlight leadership and life skills learned in 4-H!

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

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