High school is the period when students begin to plan ahead, thinking about college and possible career options. One way to help students focus on a career path is to assign a career project that makes students think about goals, individual abilities and resources. Career projects take the mystery or glamor out of many career options, helping students understand what it takes to be successful at that job.

Job Interview

Interview skills are essential in helping you succeed in not only getting a job, but getting the job you want. Have the class as a whole create a list of what makes good employees and what makes bad employees. Create a worksheet with interview questions that relate to the list the class made. For example, if one of the positive qualities was "reliability," one of the questions on the interview worksheet may be, "If you had a family emergency arise, how would you address your scheduled work hours?" Break students down into pairs and have them interview each other, taking turns between the interviewer and interviewee. When the interviews are done, have each student critique his partner's interview, pointing out strong points and weak points.

Small Business

A small business project can be done individually or in small groups depending on you class size and the dynamic of your class. Assign students the task of developing a small business and operating it for four to six weeks. The business could be as simple as selling candy at lunch or more elaborate like mowing lawns in the neighborhood. As part of the project, students need to develop an idea, create a business plan that determines what equipment and capital they will need to start with and how they plan on marketing their product or service. Students should maintain a ledger with income and expenses and maintain a journal about the hurdles, highlights and lessons learned through the course of the project. For businesses that fail, students should write an assessment about why the project failed and what could have been done differently. For successful projects, students should assess how the business could expand and grow.

Career Plan

Most students when asked what they would like to be when they grow up will most likely have some idea: doctor, lawyer, fireman, nurse. Some students may have several things they are contemplating. You can help your students learn more about the path they must take by assigning a career path project.

This project has each student identify one career she is interested in pursuing. From there, she must create an action plan that takes her through the steps on qualifying for that job. So if the career choice is to be a financial planner, the student will need to research and review the education requirements, certification and possible job placements for financial planners. From there, her plan would need to include what college major would best suit her goals as well as time frames for studying and obtaining the required state and federal licenses needed. This gives students a practical guide to assess whether their career dreams are truly something they want to pursue.