Teaching Employment Life Skills to Your Gifted Teen

The skills required to get and hold a job far exceed mental abilities. Being able to manage a task list, and communicating effectively are often more prevalent in the job front than skills which are attained through vocational education. But when you really look at your gifted teens, are you seeing that they have developed those type of skills? Teaching employment life skills is a must if we want our kids to become successful adults.

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Teaching Employment Life Skills to Your Gifted Teen | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted


► Day 5 – On the Job Front

I’m sure you think your son or daughter is super awesome. I’m sure you like them, and their quirky sense of humor, and style. I’m positive you find their mind and abilities to be fascinating. But, you can’t assume that everyone else will get who they are and what they can do. In fact, due to their obvious differences, they may stand out from the crowd in a way that isn’t attractive. I’m sorry, but, it’s true. 

It’s up to us, mamas. To embrace our child’s differences in love, while also teaching them how to be practical in the world around them. We need to teach them the art of honing their skills and abilities for their own good, rather than, trying to force the larger community to accept their uniqueness. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think their uniqueness is what can blaze a trail in this world. But, we simply can’t force society to envision what we envision. But, we can teach our children how to navigate the world around them, and that includes on the job front.

Employment skills are about more than just ability. Vocational skills are good and necessary and in business are referred to as hard skills. But soft skills, those skills which might be considered elusive, are often more important to the scheme of how business functions. Soft skills are those skills that have more to do with moral character, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. 

Important Soft Skills to Develop

Work Ethic

  • Managing Tasks
  • Helping Out 
  • Seeing What Needs Doing
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Communication Skills

  • Effectively communicate information
  • Active listening skills
  • Communicate information in a way which leads to productivity
  • Work & share with others
  • Positive attitude toward others
  • Job etiquette & respect


But what do we moms do, when we have gifted children who, well, are not quite as adept at social skills as typical learners. Their emotional intensity, their asynchronous development, and their, sensitivities do set them apart from others. And, often, it makes it difficult for them to effectively communicate.

That being said, I do believe we can teach them coping skills, and we can model the type of skills that we want them to develop. I think too, through practice scenarios they can develop techniques for functioning with others in a competent, efficient, way.

Resources for Learning to Navigate Workplace Scenarios

The Introvert’s Guide to Workplace Politics by Career Contessa

■ Problem Solving and Analytical Skills by University of Kent

■ Real-World Problem Solving: Project-Based Solutions by Edutopia

 Active Listening Definition, Skills, and Examples by The Balance

 Active Listening Definition, Skills, and Examples

Conflict Practice Sheets, free download by The Literary Maven at Teachers Pay Teachers

Exercises and Training Activities To Teach Conflict Management by Conflict 911

■ Role Playing, Preparing for Difficult Conversations and Situations by Mind Tools (Actually this website has a lot of information on career readiness).

■ Employability Skills Program – Workplace Scenario Cards by Reality Works ($49)



Working for a Boss

Let’s face it, even if it’s just a summer job your teen will at some point have to work for someone else. Meaning, they’ll have to work under the authority of a boss. Given that our gifted teenagers have a rush ahead life view, a get it done, and work at a much faster rate than is typical, working as an employee might present some difficult challenges.

Teaching Employment Life Skills to Your Gifted Teen | Renée at Great Peace #ihsnet #gifted


Submission is hard for most people but add to that the EO’s and perfectionism tendencies often associated with gifted individuals and you’ll start to see that working for a boss might be one of the hardest things they’ll ever do. Why? Because they’ll need to learn how to temper their own emotions, their own need to be right, with the need to follow someone else’s lead.

Thus, we need to teach them how to have the ability to set aside their own ideas of the best way of doing things, in favor or learning to listen and follow. That doesn’t mean they can’t be themselves. It means they need to learn how to be wise in their choices of when and how to present their own, often better, ideas.

Understanding Workplace Hierarchies and Organization

Entering the workforce means not only working for A BOSS, but rather, and most often, a series of bosses. It can be quite confusing to understand who to answer to. Add to that knowledge of pay structures, benefits, and paying taxes and those first few months in a new job can lead to sensory overload for our gifted loved ones. Help them be prepared by giving them the knowledge they need to understand the workplace environment, and how to navigate, and self-advocate for what they need to know.

  • The differences in job titles; CEO, COO, CFO, President, Vice-President, General Manager, Supervisor, etc.
  • General knowledge of business management
  • Human resource departments
  • Understanding & Managing a paycheck
  • Income taxes
  • Understanding extraneous job benefits, and how to make the most of them 

Keyboarding Skills

Regardless of what career your child plans to go into, keyboarding is a very important skill to learn. From checkout clerk, to waitress, from intern to CEO, utilizing a keyboard efficiently, and effectively is a must-have skill. 


Utilizing Common Programs

While it’s not necessary to learn the ins and outs of every program out there. I do think it’s important to gain at least some working knowledge or commonly used business programs. Here are some examples. 

  • Working with Microsoft Office Programs
    • Powerpoint
    • Excel
    • Word
    • Outlook
    • Publisher
  • Working with Accounting Programs
    • Quick Books
    • Microsoft Small Business
    • Fresh Books
  • Working with Project Management Programs
    • Asana
    • Trello
    • Freedcamp
  • Working with Design Programs
    • Adobe Photoshop
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • Corel
    • Google Sketchup


How to Find & Get a Job

Teaching your child the ins and outs of a job hunt is important. They may simply think that they’ll just walk into an office one day, introduce themselves and get hired on the spot. But job hunting and getting hired is a process, sometimes a long and tedious process. So be sure to build up their knowledge now while there isn’t the pressure to pay bills. Knowing that practice is key to success, practice scenarios with you child to help them ensure they are confident with each step of the process.

  • Knowing where to search for a job online resources, specific company websites, local resources
  • Knowing how to applying for a Job online or on paper
  • Writing a Resumé
  • Interview Skills



Resources for How to Get a Job

7 Ways to Make a Resumé via Wikihow

→ How To Make A Resume 101  via The Interview Guys

Interview tips: 10 tips to improve interview performance via Monster.com

6 Interview Skills that Will Get You Hired via Business News Daily

Ways to Get Experience for Employment Life Skills

  • Group Collaborative Experiences, such as; First LEGO League 
  • Volunteer
  • Internships
  • Apprenticeship
  • Homeschool Co-ops, perhaps suggest or volunteer to lead a career development course.
  • Homeschool Gyms


Get Lesson Plans for Teaching Employment Readiness

• 9 Awesome Classroom Activities That Teach Job Readiness Skills from We Are Teachers.com.

• Classroom Activities & Worksheets: Find a Job from MN Programs of Study

• Free Job Readiness Curriculum from Ready Job


5 Online Career Interest Assessments

→ Career One Stop

Career Zone

Education Planner, Career Match

Colleges & Careers, Career Interest Questionnaire

UC Berkeley Career Self-Assessment

Online Courses for Learning Employment Life Skills


600+ courses on Coursera are FREE, it’s a great way to develop needful skills without the cost and pressure of college. Allowing our teens to take these courses, even if their plan is to later go to college, is just one more step in helping them develop employment life skills. 

Some of the Coursera Courses of Note for Employment Life Skills

Lynda.com, from LinkedIn

LinkedIn has developed online courses designed to help train managers and leaders by providing access to thousands of business, creative, and technology skills, and are taught by industry experts. This is a paid service, with a basic plan starting at $19.99 a month, and a premium plan $29.99 per month. You get access to all of the courses during your service plan. There is a 30 Free Trial with registration.

Some of the Lynda.com Topics, but these are just a small amount there are over 6,000 courses.

  • Leadership Management
  • Professional Development
  • Marketing
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Project Management
  • Digital Game Development


With courses at just $10, you can choose the topics you want your teens to learn. Whether it’s focusing on building software usage skills or developing their own business. There are 

  • Web Development
  • Business
  • IT & Software
  • Office Productivity
  • Personal Development
  • Design
  • Marketing

Open Course Ware Education Programs from Top Schools

OpenCourseWare programs are available online for free. The online access to courses that are the same as the materials being used in university classrooms all across the country. In 2001 Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) began the program. And many other colleges followed suit.

Here’s how it works. Colleges post their entire course online. Users then can simply follow the materials on their own for self-education. The upside of this is that students learn at their own pace, free of charge and registration is not required. The downside is credit hours are not rewarded for completed courses, and they are on their own, there is no teacher or professor interaction. It’s truly a self-education, learn as you go type of study. 

Now, let me just say, this is an awesome idea for gifted teens. They can explore collegiate level courses with zero pressure. It allows them to fulfill their ever growing need for more without fear of failure which is often a struggle for gifted individuals. 

It also gives them a chance to peek into a wide variety of degree and career choices to see which they might and might not have an affinity.


Blog Posts to Read for Teaching Employment Skills 

Whether their goal is to be an entrepreneur, a CEO, or even a designer. These skills will serve them well throughout the job market. Learning how to follow, allows them to grow leadership skills. Learning how to navigate an interview in search of a job, will also help them to navigate an interview from an employer standpoint. Employment can be scary for the uninitiated. But by practicing these skills you can help your gifted teens develop the confidence to face the job market. 

Be sure to follow along all week for this 5 Day Hopscotch.
Practical Life Skills that Your Gifted Teen Needs to Know How To Do

► Day 1 – Cooking 101

► Day 2 – Finance Management

► Day 3 – Household Management

► Day 4 – Personal Care Skills

► Day 5 – On the Job Front

Peacefully Homeschooling, 



This post is part of the iHomeschool Network’s 5 Day Hopscotch..

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