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How many times do we skip over the “career development” aspect of our roles as high school counselors because it seems too tedious, or we feel like we don’t have the time to do career activities? When we find time to work with our high school students around careers, we want to make sure what we’re doing is effective and meaningful.
Maybe you’ve hosted a large scale career fair before? Maybe it was in-person or maybe it was virtual! I’m sure either one was an AMAZING opportunity for all of your students! Let’s think more about what made an event like that engaging and take that down to a smaller level within your school!
The right career activity can make ALL the difference! How do you make careers interesting and fun? Make them relatable! Make them engaging! Get students involved by having them ask and answer questions. The more they can practice, the more confident they will become with career exploration, career readiness, and career development!
Here are 4 fun career activities that you can incorporate into your individual counseling, your classroom lessons, or your small group lessons to engage your high school students around careers!
1- Career Building Blocks
This is one of my most popular resources because it’s tried and true. Grab a building blocks game (like Jenga) from Amazon or find a used one from Goodwill or on Facebook Marketplace! This resource contains 54 questions to write on each of your blocks. Once you set it up, you can use it OVER AND OVER!
I love taking this game into classrooms in case I have some extra time at the end of a lesson or bringing it to a smaller classroom as a station while doing “career rotations” around the room. You need two players/students to play at a minimum, and there is no maximum to how many students can play!
The questions range from job interview questions to “what would you do?” scenarios on the job. I have found success playing this with students of all ability levels in the high school setting! I can’t tell you how many times I used this Career Building Blocks career activity with students or loaned it out to teachers to keep in their classrooms for a few days or even weeks.
2- Career Scenario Cards
I love this Career Scenario Cards career activity because students are truly challenged with the scenarios. There isn’t always a right or wrong. Many things that we’ll encounter in our jobs and careers throughout our working life are gray areas forcing us to make the best decision that we can at the time. (Isn’t this true for our own careers as high school counselors?!)
Different scenarios in the workplace can be frustrating or confusing for students if they haven’t taken the time to think through their own values before they get to a “real-world” situation where they’re forced to take action or lead others.
Here are 2 examples from the 30 Career Scenario Cards you get with this career activity download (in addition to the lesson plan), so you can get a feel for what’s inside:
- A customer calls to complain about something they insisted you messed up on. Your manager seems to take the customer’s side, but you know the customer is lying. What do you do?
- You usually throw your clothes on and quickly and leave for work. Right before you’re about to leave, you realize you have no clean uniform shirts. What do you do?
3- Job Interview Fan and Pick Cards
This Job Interview Fan and Pick career activity was something I was always using in my office as an individual counseling activity with students who were getting anxious or nervous about an upcoming job interview!
I had the stack of job interview questions hole punched with an album ring in the corner, so I could grab it out of a basket if I needed to and or take a whole basket with lots of packs of cards to a classroom lesson!
After Bre H. used these cards with a twelfth-grade student, she returned to say, “One student came back to me after her job interview and said she walked in feeling so prepared and confident, and it helped her have a better interview than she’d ever had before.”
It was so rewarding to have students come back to visit me and tell me that they got the job! I love the feeling of helping a student be prepared for their career goals… even if it’s for a part-time job in high school! Engaging career activities like the Job Interview Fan and Pick Cards can be meaningful and make a huge difference in students’ lives!
4- Career Card Grab Game
The Career Card Grab Game is a spin-off of the popular game “Fishbowl.” I love this game because it creates laughter and memories… so why not turn that into a career readiness activity?!
To prepare for playing the game, students will learn about the different careers with a matching game. Students then split into two teams and use the career cards inside of this activity. They’ll play three rounds where they’ll (round 1) describe the career using words and actions, (round 2) act out the career with no words, and (round 3) use one word to describe the career. Each round uses the same career cards, so they’re not completely clueless by the time they get to round 3 where they’re describing the career with one word.
Everything you need is right inside this digital download, and the 54 different careers (plus space for you to add 6 of your own) inside will challenge students with a few original jobs they may not be used to learning about like coroner, logistics analyst, or genetic counselor (to name a few)!
Find all of these career activities and more bundled together (and discounted) in this Career Bundle for School Counselors 1 or School Counseling Career Bundle 2 for High School Counselors! Check out these conversation starters, activities, and ideas to go deeper with career exploration and career readiness.
If you’re looking for more ways to impact your students through career readiness and career activities, download this free PDF for “10 Low Impact Ideas for Adding High Impact Career Services to Your High School Counseling Program!”