Classroom Activities To Promote Career Planning And Development

These activities can help teachers guide their students in career planning and development.

Schools are no longer restricting themselves to teaching just reading, writing, and arithmetic. They're also preparing their students for careers and teaching them practical knowledge. These activities can help teachers guide their students in career planning.

Faring Well at Career Fairs

Plan and conduct a career fair at your school. If you are a high school instructor, you may want to hook up with other local high schools to get greater coverage. Involve students in the planning, setting up, contacting, and follow up. Explain career fair etiquette to students and have them schedule times to visit specific employers at the fair.

Mining for Strengths

An important part of career planning is determining one's own strengths, weaknesses, values, and interests. Divide students into pairs. Have each student interview the other and then create a list of his or her partner's strengths, interests, and values.

Weaving a Web

Create a class Web page that links to career resources. Have students contribute articles, links, and graphics to make the site attractive and useful. Include links to career resources, corporate information, salary surveys, job listings, and self-assessments.

Associating with Success

Brainstorm with students the types of associations and student groups that they could join to widen their professional contacts. Assign students at least one association each to find phone numbers, contact names, and membership requirements. Have them make a list of the networking opportunities and resources available through that association. Encourage them to also consider online communities that they could join to gain information and contacts.

Critiquing Cover Letters

Visit a local business or employment agency and ask them for copies of cover letters that they have received with resumes. Black out the name and address of the person who wrote the letter and any other identifying information. Then make copies of the letter for your students. Have each student critique the letters, creating a grid that identifies their strengths and weaknesses. Discuss what they have learned from the cover letters: Are there things they would like to emulate? Are there things they would like to avoid?

Network through Interviews

Networking interviews are interviews in which the objective is not to obtain a job, but to obtain information about a career or an industry. Networking interviews helps students determine what they need to learn about job opportunities in a field, what skills and experience they need, whom they should contact about openings, and how to find out about openings.

Divide students into pairs. Have them make a list of questions that they could ask in a networking interview. Then have each student alternate being a ¡§student¡¨ and a "corporate recruiter". Practice participating in networking interviews. Give students feedback as they practice and then ask them what they can do to improve their networking skills.

Practicing Interviews

Develop a series of behavior-based questions such as:

-What are some obstacles you have had to overcome to complete high school and get where you are today? How did you handle them?

-Give an example of a time when you had to achieve consensus in a group disagreement. What was your approach? What was the outcome?

-Describe a situation in which you had the responsibility for completing something but you didn¡¦t want to. What did you do and what was the result?

-How do you prioritize multiple and conflicting demands. Give me a recent example.

-When you come up against a roadblock, what do you do?

-Do people trust you? How do you know?

Divide students into pairs. Have each student select three questions from the list you have created. Each student should then take turns asking the other student their questions and answering the questions put to them.

Salary Survey

Have each student identify a position in a field in which they are interested. Have them conduct a local salary survey for that position. Then have them write a two- to three-page report on their findings.

Rejection Role Play

Ask for three or four students to volunteer to participate in a role play. Explain to them that they have each applied and interviewed for a prestigious public relations position in a local corporation. Send all but one student out of the room. Stand back to back with the student and role play a telephone call in which you, the corporate representative, tell the student that he or she has not been selected for the job. Repeat with each student, varying the manner and tone with which you ¡§reject¡¨ the student. Afterward, ask the observers to analyze how each student handled the rejection and whether they responded professionally.

Laying a Road Map

Tell students to create a career plan for the next 10 years. It should specify where they want to be in one year, five years, and ten years. Have them write specific and measurable career goals and then create an action plan with strategies for reaching each goal in their plan.

© High Speed Ventures 2011