It's one thing to set up a one-day career fair at your school or college -- quite another to set up a career event that lasts an entire week. While job or career fairs typically enable recruiters to troll your population for potential hires, career weeks are often focused on giving students the information that can help them choose a career path. The scale of your event might depend on the size of your student body. Whether you are a career-services or a human resources professional for a college, or a guidance counselor at a high school, allow at least a few months to complete all the necessary planning steps.
Assemble a team of people that will help plan and execute the event. Depending on your organization, this might include administrators, teachers and support staff who have the resources and time to help.
Conduct an initial planning session to set your budget and work out logistics, including dates and times, the types of activities you plan to offer, the location of the event and the roles your committee members will take on before and during career week. Typical events for career week include a "meet and greet" luncheon, lectures from professionals in a variety of fields, and a career fair during which employers set up booths for recruiting. You might also set up fun events such as a "business attire" fashion show or a cocktail hour. Whatever you decide, get the OK from your leadership team to hold the event on those dates, and if approved, add the dates to your organization's planning calendar.
Create a list of content areas you want to cover, which will vary widely depending on your institution. For example, a high school career week might offer lectures or discussion groups on careers across a variety of disciplines. Conversely, a college focused on science and engineering might arrange career week to focus solely on those career fields. If you're at a college, find out which majors are most popular and use them as a base for your wish list of speakers or content areas.
Set up a master schedule for the event. Since your event is taking place over the course of a week, consider having some events during class time and other events after school or in the evening, depending on the availability of your staff.
Reserve meeting hall space for larger discussion groups, luncheons or lectures that are part of the event. Also order any food, drinks, tables and chairs or audio/visual equipment you might need for the event.
Contact professionals in your area who can serve as speakers for the event. Tap into your network of colleagues, as well as personal and professional connections so that you can invite a variety of speakers to your event. People's work schedules fill up quickly, so start the scheduling process several months in advance.
Create marketing materials for your event. Create a flier that lists the dates, times and locations for the various events, as well as contact information for the organizers. Save the flier and sent it via email it to prospective participants. Also, printing out paper copies to post on bulletin boards across campus. Update your website and social media feeds with information about the event. In the days and weeks before the event, continue sending out status updates or "tweets" about the career-week events to build excitement and interest.
Take a survey of participants during career week to get a feel for what they like and what they don't like about your programming. Use that information to help you plan next year's career week.
- Neumont University: Career Week
- Millersville University: Career Week
- USAID: Job Fair Toolkit: A Practical Guide and Best Practices for Organizing, Conducting, and Attending Job Fairs
- DePaul University: Career Week 2013
- National Careers Week: Top Tips
- Bennington Banner: Local Schools Join in Career Week
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.