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6 Career Readiness Activities for Middle School Students

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As a middle schooler, you may not have given much thought about your future career readiness. And even if you did think about your career, there is a good chance that it changed by the time you graduated from high school. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to help your middle school students figure out how to choose a career and plan for their future.

As a matter of fact, many school districts are seeing a huge benefit in incorporating career readiness programs into middle school classrooms. By helping people explore different career paths, teachers can motivate their students to learn and develop the skills they need to pursue an exciting and meaningful career.

Want to get the career talks going in your classroom? Here are six career readiness activities that will help get your middle schoolers thinking about their futures.

Career activities for middle school students

1. Personality Tests and Quizzes

Personality traits can play a huge role in how successful we are in our chosen careers. For instance, a person who is outgoing and charismatic is much more likely to thrive in a sales role compared to someone who is quieter and more reserved.

Personality tests and career assessment quizzes are popular among high school students, but not so much for middle schoolers. One personality test that is “middle school-friendly” is the True Colors test. Adapted from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, this test sorts students into different colors based on their unique personality types.

Along with being a valuable career readiness resource, the True Colors test can also help teachers provide a better education for their students. If you know that most of your students have “Green” personalities, you can adapt your teaching style to suit the needs of your class.

business man on the top of tower watching the future with binocular

fran_kie/Shutterstock.com

2. Random Occupation Exploration

Once your students understand their unique personalities, it’s time to take a deep dive into career exploration. For this next activity, the U.S. Occupational Outlook Handbook can be a helpful resource.

Here’s what you’ll do: Assign each of your students a random career and ask them to research the career by looking at the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Then, have them create a short video or presentation that provides a basic overview of the occupation, such as pay, job duties, education, etc. Remember to ask them how this career does or does not fit into their skills and interests.

3. Resume Writing

Sure, middle school students may not have much in the way of experience yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t start practicing their resume writing skills. Even if employment or an internship isn’t the end goal, learning how to write a resume can be useful by encouraging your students to think about what employers are searching for.

For this activity, start by breaking down the elements of a resume: personal information, a summary/objective statement, education, work experience, activities, awards, and skills. Given your students’ young age, they will likely focus on the last three.

During your lesson, teach kids how to use action words in their resumes, such as “earned, developed, led, organized,” etc. Have them practice writing a resume for a summer job or a dream job.

4. Classroom Speakers

It’s one thing for you to talk to your students about potential careers, but it’s a completely different experience for them to talk with someone in that profession. Inviting guest speakers into your classroom can help students explore different careers within a real-world context, making the possibility of pursuing that career far more exciting.

There are likely many professionals who would be more than happy to talk with your students about what they do for a living. If you’re having trouble finding someone, consult with your colleagues to see if they know of a great guest speaker for your class.

To make the guest speaker experience more impactful, try to tie in your guest speaker with whatever you’re teaching that week. For instance, if your students are learning about earth science, you might ask a local geologist to speak to your class.

Students In After School Computer Coding Class Building And Learning To Program Robot Vehicle

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

5. STEM Career Exploration

Both parents and teachers are excited to introduce kids to STEM, and it’s not difficult to see why. Many STEM occupations are in high-demand and continue to rank high on the list of the highest-paying jobs in America. The only problem is that many students lose interest in STEM by the time they reach high school due to boredom, intimidation, or both.

The solution? Connecting your lessons to exciting STEM careers. Check out STEM-Works, an online STEM resource that has a “Cool Jobs” page. You can browse different STEM careers and introduce them to your students with fun STEM-Works activities.

6. Job Shadowing

Another eye-opening career activity for middle schoolers is job shadowing. Job shadowing is essentially a short-term mentoring program. It gives students the opportunity to “shadow” a professional and learn about the business or industry.

Career exploration is at the heart of job shadowing, which makes it perfect for middle school students. There is no pressure to perform a high-level task or do mindless busywork. Students are primarily there to observe and learn.

And while the emphasis is on career exploration, there’s a lesser known benefit to job shadowing in middle school: experience. Middle school students can use job shadowing experience to jazz up their first resumes and gain a small edge for their summer job search.

Career Readiness Starts Early

It’s never too early to help students explore their passions and find a meaningful career path. With these career readiness activities, you can get your middle school students to start thinking more seriously about their future. By the time they enter high school, they’ll be ready to take the next step in career exploration.

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