Put some S.P.A.R.K.S. Into Your Career Exploration!

Last night I was lucky enough to present a program in my hometown school district’s “Career Night: Plan For Your Future”.  It was open to grades K-12 and parents. The crowd was light, but attentive. I received overall very positive feedback, and one invitation to the local Toastmaster’s Meeting. Not really sure how to take that last one, but hey, everyone can improve on something, right?

Here’s the outline of the presentation:

Put S.P.A.R.K.S. Into Your Career Exploration

Intro: Sheila Kronberg, career counselor at Concordia University Wisconsin, Coordinator of the Explore Program. I work with Undeclared, Undecided, or Uncertain Students. Counselor for years, developed a love for Career Counseling during my time in High School guidance.

Why? College and Post-Secondary Education is needed in this day and age to progress and make a sustainable living. It’s become too expensive NOT to have a plan.

SPARKS? I wanted a way for you to remember this talk, so I put it into a fun acronym I hope you will remember. Not just because I will have a book coming out in spring called Career Sparks! (Publisher Kendall Hart) BUT it is based in Career Development Theory, and if I just said that, you’d forget all about it, right?

S = See the need. Ever hear the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make ‘em drink!”
You (or your student) must be intrinsically motivated to look at different careers. Not just because Mom/Dad/Teacher/Sheila says you should. S/He should understand that there is life after High School, and it can be a very satisfying life if careers are found that match skills, interests, and personality.

P= Personality Preferences. Discover your natural traits, interests, skills, learning styles. Your skills, interests, and values will change as you go through life. But your personality traits and learning styles typically remain steady throughout your life. Identifying the careers that work best with who you are will help you narrow down what you might want to do.

A= Assess your options. As you uncover your interests, skills, values, personality traits, careers will emerge that might seem like a natural fit. Gather all of the options, then take into account other work values you might have: work schedule, where you might live, high stress, how much will you be paid, job security, etc. Then start narrowing the list down.

R = Research! Interview/look on line/job shadow. Get motivated! This is the rest of your life here! Use the network you have around you to research jobs you might be interested in.

K= Know you made a pretty good choice. Start making action plans to carry this out. Work backwards. (Show them how) Start small, but start now. And know what you need in HS to carry out the career choices.

S= Start on the path! Implementing your career plan helps you turn goals into reality. The earlier you see your goal, the more sense school will make.

What if you don’t meet the goal? Then make another plan. Sometimes life gives you a different path to follow then what you planned. It’s all good.

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