The Importance of Personal Career Development for Students

For several decades, high schools across the United States have instituted a Career Day for seniors. This is a day when local area business professionals visit the high school and introduce career options to high school students. However, these Career Days are not enough to truly assist the high school student in making plans for the future. This is the reason that many young and middle aged adults are now seeking the guidance of personal career development coaches.

While personal career development coaches offer a much needed service to those who did not plan for their future at an early stage, more should be done to assist the younger generations in personal career development. When high school students have a clear understanding of the best career choices for them, the end result is better planning, more college enrollments, and a more productive society for the future.

Many high schools now offer a Career Week to address these personal career development issues. The Career Week is a continuation of the Career Day. One or two days of the week are dedicated to introducing seniors to career options by seasoned professionals in the community. The rest of the career week is dedicated to assessments much like those offered by personal career development coaches.

The personal career development assessments allow the high school students to explore their interests, values, strengths, and weaknesses. These personal career development assessments are then run through a computer system, which produces a report that outlines the best career choices for that high school student. The high school students then take the personal career development further by going through the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is one of the best personal career development tools in the high school arsenal. This publication is put out both in book and electronic form by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Occupational Outlook Handbook allows students to explore personal career development options by providing information about career details, job and industry outlooks for the future, average salaries, and required education.

Once the high school students have completed the personal career development assessments and explored career options, each high school student engages in a personal career development interview with a high school counselor or personal career development coach. This interview allows the student to more fully explore and discuss career options, and make a decision about the path that they want their career to take. The counselor or personal career development coach then provides the high school student with several resources to help them start on their path to personal career development.

Another part of the personal career development activities is a visit by the counselor or the personal career development coach to senior classrooms. In these sessions, information is provided about the importance of goal setting in personal career development. The students are given resources for practical goal setting, and begin to lay out their personal career development plan on paper.

The importance of personal career development for high school students is not a new concept. However, schools are just now starting to really put the plans for education in personal career development into place. With these initiatives, more high school students will be prepared to begin education or careers soon after high school, thereby creating a much more productive society for our future.

Robert Hamborg


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