Career Café: Recruiting Speakers

Career Café is an opportunity for students to learn about careers from individuals in their community. One of my biggest success as a school counselor has been starting a Career Café at my school. Students absolutely love Career Café, it is a blast to host, and it meets ASCA Student Standard in the Career Domain. Career Cafe can also be geared toward any level - elementary, middle, or high school!

I have gotten tons of inquiries and questions about hosting a Career Café. I am creating a series of posts to explain Career Café in greater detail and provide you with the tools you need to start a Career Café at your school. 

Since starting Career Café I have hosted 13 speakers (8 the first year and 7 the second year).  I was worried at first that I would not be able to find speakers, but in the words of Kevin Costner from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come!" 

Recruiting Speakers
You can start with recruiting speakers from your own school.  Our first Career Café speaker was an art teacher at my school. Your own school is a great resource to pull from because there are so many different jobs in a school including:
  • Administrative Professional
  • Art Teacher
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Technology Teacher
  • Music Teacher
  • Custodian
  • IT Specialist
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Nurse
  • School Psychologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Principal
  • Social Worker
  • and don't forget School Counselor!

Think outside the box and look at the resources available in your community.  I have had speakers from the following locations:
  • Art Teacher
  • Bank branch manager from a local bank
  • Chef from a local grocery store
  • Worker from the local Humane Society
  • Basketball coach and Student Athletes from a local university
  • Lawyer/Law Professor from a local university
  • Cosmetologist
  • News Anchor from a local TV station
  • Detective from the City Police 
  • Marketing Specialist from a local Grief/Loss Center
  • Performance and Visual Art High School Program
  • Culinary Arts Program County Technical School 
  • Cosmetology Program County Technical School
  • Veterinary Assistant Program County Technical School
  • US Marine

The sky is the limit for recruiting speakers! Here are some more suggestions below. I am sure you have some great ideas so please share them in the comment section! :)
  • Hospital
  • Doctor's office
  • Funeral Home
  • Fire Station
  • Airport
  • Post Office
  • Grocery Store
  • College/University
  • Local Sports Teams (Pro or Semi-Pro)
  • Local CareerLink or Career Service Agency
  • Local specialty businesses
  • and many many more!

Inviting Speakers to Participate
Once I get an idea of who I want to invite I call or send an email.  Below is an example of how I typically explain Career Café to prospective speakers over the phone or through email. I also usually give them the dates we have open so it makes it easy for them to just pick a date.

Feel free to make a copy of this document and edit it to meet your needs!

Preparing Speakers
I do not have a set agenda for speakers but I ask them to talk about the following:
  • How did you become interested in your current field?
  • What education/training did you need for your current position? 
  • Describe a typical day at your job?
  • What advice do you have for students considering a job in your field?
I explain that they have about 15-20 minutes to speak to students including time for questions. 

Speakers are encouraged to bring props, actual items they use in their job, and/or giveaways with their companies logo.  The last 5 minutes I reserve for student questions. I ask students if they have any questions related to the individual's career journey or education.  

How do you recruit Career Café Speakers at your school? What questions do you ask Career Café speakers? How do you prepare them?

This post is the fourth post in a series of how to host a Career Café at your school. 
Career Café: Location, Location, Location!
Career Café: Setting a Schedule
Career Café: Career Interest Resources Elementary, Middle, and High School
Career Café: Recruiting Speakers
Career Café: Inviting Students

Read other posts about Career Café:
Comment below, tweetcontact Danielle, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitter, PinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


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