At Quackenworth we believe that every school should have a Career Day. It provides students with a road map to a career, motivates them to research employment opportunities, and connects important community members with schools. Over the years we have participate in numerous Career Day events around the country. From these experiences we have compiled a list of five characteristics from successful Career Days we’ve attended:
1) Create a single point of contact – It’s always best to allow one person to be the single point of contact for your Career Day event. Receiving multiple correspondences from multiple people is annoying, especially when you are answering the same questions.
2) Invite professionals with non-traditional jobs– While it is certainly beneficial to invite well-known, traditional professionals such as police officers, doctors, and lawyers, students also need to be exposed to lesser known professional “titles.” This may include individuals in sales, management, politics, etc.
3) Prepare students – It’s always refreshing to see students who have prepared a list of questions. It shows that the teachers and students take Career Day seriously.
4) Appoint the appropriate professions to the right grade level – Make sure that you assign the right person to the appropriate grade level. Some professions are harder to explain at the lower grade levels. Typically, a kindergarten student will have seen a doctor or police officer and thus would be easier to explain. You want to make sure that the Career Day participant feels like it was worth coming to your event. It’s always a good idea to ask the participant if they prefer a specific grade level.
5) Encourage participants to bring props – Props are always a great way to demonstrate a profession. They make presentations more interesting than dialogue-only presentations. Props can not only include the professional devices that are used on the job, but also iPad, computers, and visual presentations (e.g. videos).
6) Make it about the journey and the profession – Encourage the speakers to not only talk about their jobs but also what it took to get there. How were they as students? Did they go to college? What was college like for them? What challenges did they have? Students need to hear stories of individuals overcoming obstacles.
7) Take pictures – Assuming you have clearance from your district to post pictures of the students, it’s a good idea to document a Career Day event with a photo and/or video montage. It provides the students, teachers, and participants with lasting memories and shows that your school is connected with the surrounding community and is an active, progression institution. Post the pictures to your school’s web site or Facebook page.
8) Inquire about Internships – Career Days at the high school level are much more meaningful as the students are closer to entering the workforce. As a Career Day coordinator always ask participants if there are internship opportunities for the students. This further strengthens the bond between the employers and your school.
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