Career Day is an outstanding opportunity to get students excited about their futures. From elementary school to high school, there are many opportunities you can provide for your learners. Below, you’ll find activities to do before Career Day, the day of, and those teachers can use to follow up after the big day.
Elementary School Career Day Ideas
Elementary school is ideal for introducing careers and the many pathways kids can take. Here are some ideas to get you on your way to igniting students’ career interests.
Pre-Career Day Activities
- Tools and Vehicles: Have students read books about the different tools, vehicles, and gear people in various professions use.
- Career Collage: Your learners can cut out pictures or print images from the Internet to create a collage of careers they may like to have, and teachers can post them around the room.
- Dress Up Day: Students can find a uniform or create simple decorations they can add to their clothing that demonstrates what people wear in specific careers.
- Online Scavenger Hunt: Assign careers for kids to research. Have them create posters showing details about the profession and post them around the classroom or school.
- Mapmaking and Careers: Tell students their town is full of people in different careers. Have them make a map, labeling various stores, fire and police stations, offices, and places where people work.
Activities for the Day and Beyond
- Badges and Interests: Have students create badges with their names and a career they find interesting. Presenters can call on them, ask them questions, and answer student inquiries.
- Guided Grab Bag Activity: To help presenters engage students, they can pull a random paper out of a bag, each with a unique character trait. For each one, speakers can relay why that attribute is essential to their job.
- 3 Pros and a Con: Every job has its perks and drawbacks. Before each presenter, have students guess three perks and one challenge and see how they did after each speech.
- Career ABCs: While speakers are setting up and during other transitions on Career Day, let students work in pairs to think of careers that begin with A, B, C, D, etc., through the alphabet, and fill in charts.
- Training and Traits: To give kids practice in targeted note-taking, have them jot down the education and character traits they need to succeed in each career presented.
- What Does Their Workplace Look Like? Ask students to draw the work environment as speakers describe it. Start with a sketch after the speech and give students time to finish later.
- Bulletin Board Collaboration: As students process the last speaker, have them create mini-posters of each. You can put them together later to create a bulletin board creation displaying the many jobs at Career Day.
- Fill In The Resume: Give students a resume outline before the presentations. As speakers describe certain traits and educational requirements, kids fill them into the appropriate sections.
- Career Writing: Have students write a brief essay summarizing their favorite career of the day. They can use the Internet to explore more details if needed.
- Student Ambassadors: Before the day, assign students to be ambassadors who guide presenters to refreshments and point out restrooms. They can monitor the time and even conduct Q & A sessions.
Middle and High School Career Day Ideas
Your older students will get so much out of Career Day. Be sure to keep them fully engaged with the event with these activities.
Pre-Career Day Activities
- Create a Resume: Students create a functional resume and have it ready before Career Day. They can add information into categories as the day approaches.
- Research PowerPoint: Have students choose a career (ideally, guide them to one that speakers will cover on Career Day) and create a PowerPoint or Google Slide presentation.
- Picture My Future Self: Students create a poster of themselves in ten years, including a drawing, salary, cars, housing situation, and more – based on their career data.
- Hot-Seat Interview Practice: Split students into pairs and have them practice the 1-minute interview on each other, rotating quickly around the room.
- Career Interest Inventory: Teachers can find many resources that categorize student interest and traits, so they can narrow down potential career choices.
Activities for the Day and Beyond
- Pre-Load the Questions: Students prepare questions in advance for speakers. They put them into a box, and presenters grab random ones: they will appreciate knowing the questions in advance and students feel empowered with their questions.
- Career Day Bingo: Teachers set up a Bingo card with specific tasks like, “Find out the highest education requirements for an accountant” or “What’s the most exciting day you’ve had as a firefighter?”
- Invite the Counselor: As presenters finish their speeches, have the school counselor give specific advice on following that career path. Speakers can elaborate or provide additional details.
- Career Exploration Activity: Have students choose one or two of their favorite careers from Career Day and do further research on them, ending with a PowerPoint or poster.
- Follow-Up Thank-You Notes: Students write thank-you notes to presenters in the following days, and teachers remind them that this is also a good practice after job interviews.
- Interactive Challenges Activity: Have students ask speakers their most challenging situation that recurs at work and have the class develop possible solutions, with the speaker confirming or modifying them.
- Career Pathway Roadmap: Students plot out the path to their career on a poster, including timeframes, education, and training needed to reach their goal.
- Plan B: Have students detail a second career, explaining that many adults switch jobs and knowing what else may interest them is essential for their continued success.
- Career Crossover: Have students compare two careers from the presentation and try to find similarities between them that they find interesting. They may unlock a brand-new career path they hadn’t thought of before.
- Salary, Budgets, and Careers: Have learners make detailed budgets using the specific income information from their chosen careers. They will see if they will earn enough to afford their desired lifestyle and what adjustments they need to make.
Head to our teaching career exploration center for more lesson plans, activities, and other stimuli to incorporate into your curriculum!