Career Awareness Writing Prompt Ideas

Since September is Workforce Development Month, I figured it was a great time to discuss career awareness writing prompts you can use with adult learners. 

One great way to combine writing, workforce, and digital literacy skills is to create a Google form writing prompt with a photo. You can also use some of the New York Times' "What's going on?" photos to spark conversations around careers. 

If you are looking for paper-based writing prompts, consider using some of the Career Conversation Starters from American School Counselor Association and place them on index cards. Have your adult learners grab a card as they enter the classroom and do a short writing warm up. 

What other career awareness writing prompts have you used in the adult education classroom?


Chrissie Klinger 

LINCS Community Career Pathways Group Moderator

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Hi Chrissie and all, For skilled immigrants, it can be deeply meaningful for them to write about their previous work life. I have often asked learners to write about what kind of work they did before, what they are doing now, and what they hope to do in the future. I've found it helpful to write about myself to provide a model, especially for beginning level English learners.

I love that you adapted the questions posed in the New York Times "What's going on in this picture?: -- which I've used a lot!-- for the Google forms idea.

Looking forward to hearing more writing suggestions from members!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Hi Chrissie, Susan, and all:

I will share one of my favorite career awareness writing activities that you can find here. It is called WIOA Spontaneous Stories. To begin, have students choose four numbers under 10 at random. The numbers decide what job, workplace location, time of day, and situation students have. They then write a paragraph. I encourage them to be humorous, and they rise to the challenge. If students do not know much about the job they are given, they can research it. 

For example, students may pick the numbers 6, 4, 7 and 3. This means they will write about an electrician in the breakroom at 2 PM, and the boss is upset with an employee. What will happen? Only our students' imagination will tell! 

Check out this activity and let me know what you think. 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Schmidt, Moderator

LINCS Reading and Writing Group  


I was wondering about doing a problem of the day writing activity where you focus it on a technology-related problem people might encounter in different careers. 

For example, a plumber has to use GPS to get to a location that is having an issue, but it seems to have taken them to the wrong place, what might they do?

Another example would be to share a sample email that came into an office clerk's inbox and have learners determine if they think the email is spam or not and why.

Finally, a nurse aide has to access her weekly paystub online. She tried to log in and it has failed twice already saying she is using the wrong username or password. If she logs in again and it fails, her account will be locked. What should she do?

Some of these problems might also be relatable to any career and might be good for learners to discuss how they go about solving technology problems and take some of the work off the teachers always trying to give learners advice or answers around tech issues.