Design your Perfect Career

By Barbara Hall, July 23, 2009

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

300 minutes for classroom activities and 30-45 minutes for homework


Joe is a really cool guy and loves his career.  His work tools include an iPhone and a sketch book.  He is thirty-seven years old and drives a black BMW. He is trained as an architect. He owns a company with a unique twist.  Joe’s company is a design firm that consists of interior decorators, industrial engineers, and graphic designers.  His company’s mission is to design so that a lasting impression is made by the services he provides.

The goal of this lesson is for students to incorporate the design process to create their perfect job/career.  Most middle and high school students do not know what they want to do in life. As they go through the design process they will learn more about themselves and their perfect career.

National Standards

Life Work

Standard 5. Level IV. Makes general preparation for entering the work force

10. Establishes an explicit career action plan, including short- and long-term goals

11. Makes an accurate appraisal of available work options, prior work experience, career goals, personal character, job references, and personal aptitudes

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading: 

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Knowledge of Language:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will be able to:

  • develop a career path that fits their personality and needs



Type Talk at Work: How the 16 personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job

by Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thuesen, Hile Rutledge


Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type

by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron

The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success

by Nicholas Lore

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

by Richard N. Bolles (Author)

Discovering Your Personality Type: The Essential Introduction to the Enneagram, Revised and Expanded

by Russ Hudson, Don Richard Riso

Myers-Briggs online personality/career test (how to make a budget)  (apartment finder)  (career training)  (college planning)


  • computer with internet access
  • notes on design process handout




Day 1: Identify, Generate, Share ideas

1. Introduce the design process (use handout notes) and give the students the chance to design their perfect career. 2. Allow students time to develop five to seven questions that are unique to them and what they would like their future career to look like.

3. Next, allow individual time for to students to brainstorm ideas about skills, personality traits, and motivations that would make for a perfect career. After five minutes allow the students to pair up add input to their partner’s brainstorm list.  Assign homework: Continue the brainstorm process with family and friends.

Day 2: Investigate, Identify, Evaluate

1. Use the internet to complete a personality assessment and explore careers related to the student’s unique personality.  Several free ones exist (see resource list).  (Note: I recommend the Jung-Myers Briggs 70 question assessment.)

2. Once the assessment is completed, students should synthesize all information collected, and begin work to understand how to develop a skill set, based on the personality trait list that fits their perfect career.

Day 3: Investigate, Generate

1. Students should brainstorm a list of ideas related to a lifestyle plan for the type of career which is suitable for his or her personality.  Students should develop an extensive list of what his or her life would be like.

2. Students should finalize their lists to include seven to ten factors that reflect their imagined life (for example, the kind of place and cost of where they might live, such as four bedroom, three bathroom house with a pool, taking into account the monthly rent/mortgage, utilities, vacations, entertainment, food, etc.)  Students should be sure to include the annual salary they will need to support their designed lifestyle. Students should use the internet (see Resources for a Web site that helps one develop a lifestyle budget) and should interview adults, to help them develop real and accurate costs for their designed lifestyles.

Day 4: Investigate, Generate, Edit, Develop

1. Students will design a plan to reach their goal of the perfect career.  Students will use the internet to generate a list that includes: training (college, trade school, etc.); amount of time required for training; cost of training; internship/apprentice requirements; test/license requirement.

Day 5: Present, Articulate

1.  Students should think of creative visuals to articulate their perfect career, the end result of the design process they’ve just engaged in.  The visual should include a graphic such as a roadmap that shows where the student is now and how the student plans to get to his or her perfect career. Important components include:

  • skills
  • ideal career field
  • why he or she has the suitable personality traits for the job
  • salary range
  • overview of  the plan and preparation the student designed to reach this goal of the perfect career


Use the attached rubric to allow students to self-assess.

Modifications: Change the tool used to assess personality, or modify the number of question developed to guide students.  Also, allow lower grade students  more time for career research.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Develop imaginary job descriptions  and create a blog/Web site with these description of imagined jobs. Post the blog/Web site internally (password protected) so that other classes/students can apply for jobs.  Student teams can review applications and select a few student applicants to interview for these imagined jobs.  Bring in at least one professional (HR director or principal) to sit in on the interview process to help students learn the skills they’ll need to interview for a job in the real world.
  1. It is always a challenge to get teenagers to conceptualize the idea of adulthood and careers because it is fairly foreign to many kids that are characteristically living in the now. A good way to have them conceptualize some of the challenges, facts, and figures is to have them create a budget during day 3, step 2. The budget can contain all of the topics you have chosen, but include real figures that they would have to research. They can then return to this budget once they have selected a career to see if their career matches their hypothetical budget.

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