Life Skills Development/Module Five/Job Search and Securing Employment

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Topic 1: Job Investigation skills and strategies


Looking for a job and successful entry into the job market is a complicated and engaging process requiring particular and deliberate actions as well as specific attributes on the part of the job searcher. This unit, consisting of 3 topics, is designed to give you skills and strategies for investigation, preparation for the job and securing employment. You will also learn how current trends in technology make it possible for the learner to know about job opportunities globally.Topics

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this topic, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify the skills required for different employment
  • Match their skills to the job
  • Make alternative choices to strengthen their suitability/competency
  • Identify areas of suitable employment
  • Categorise their personal skills for job suitability
  • Demonstrate the competence for securing the job
  • Display techniques and behavoiur for a successful interview


  • Employability
  • skills
  • attitude
  • aptitude

What comes to mind when you hear the word skill?

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A Self Survey: How skilful am I?

Think about the skills that you have and then divide your list as suggested in the Survey Chart below to help group your responses

Have Don't Have Not Sure
Interpersonal Skills
Literacy Skills
Numeracy Skills

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Discuss this in plenary or small groups.
  • What jobs require the skills you possess now?
  • What skills would you need to develop for a job you would really like to do?
  • How could you go about attaining these skills?

Using the Survey Chart, compile a list of the skills that you dont have, or are not sure of, that would would enhance your skills in column one.

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Research: Talk with, and find out the skills required from people who are employed in a job that you would like to do. What jobs require the skills you possess now? What skills would you need to develop for a job you would really like to do?

Record your findings and make a list of the jobs that you may want to pursue or consider.

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Having completed this topic, you have identified the skills required in seeking and securing employment. From here, you will have discovered the skills that you are strong in and those that are to be developed.

Topic 2: Job Preparedness


There is a time in one's life when you will work. You should understand that looking for a job is a process that the job seeker should be well prepared to undergo. If you are well prepared you can go through this process with less hassle. However, if you go in it unprepared, the road might be too rough for you and you may even end up quitting before the process is over. This session discusses some few essentials in looking for and securing employment. It focuses specifically on ‘Being Prepared’.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this topic, the learner should be able to 1. Demonstrate ability to communicate important job search ideas or options

2. Write a winning job application letter.

3. Prepare for and attend job interviews with confidence.

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• Job

• Job search

• Interpersonal communication

• Resume

• Job interviews}}

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Discuss in pairs:

If you have worked before, think back to when you felt ready to look for a job. What was it that made you feel ready to start looking for a job? What did you do to start looking for a job? What challenges did you meet?

If you have not worked before, consider how you would actually start looking for a job.What would you need and how would you go about starting? How important is your state of mind in all this i.e. does it impact on how well you perform and if so, how and in what way?

Factors that generate a need to work

Study the case below

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Case Study
I am a first born in a family of four. My mother who was the sole breadwinner died in 2007. All children including myself were still in school. I was doing grade 9 and my youngest sister was in grade 1. My grandmother, who was too old to work, moved to stay with us in a two-roomed mud house that my mother managed to build from selling fat cakes in the street. Her death meant that a source of our life had dried up. For the first month after her death, we bought food with the money that was collected during the time of bereavement, the condolence money. Then after I watched my siblings going to school hungry, coming back home and having nothing to feed on. One dropped out at grade 4 and took off to the street and ate what other people have thrown away as garbage. I was determined to do well in school so that I can help my brothers and sister. I passed my grade 12 very well and was doing my first year at the university reading for my Bachelor of Arts when my other brother dropped out and joined the other in the street. I could not concentrate on my studies any more. The best option for me was to quit my studies and look for a job to help at home. I left. It took me three months to look for a job. The ones that I wanted required a certificate beyond grade 12. I ended up working in a construction company just to have a salary that can I can use to buy food and some other basics for my family. I have managed to get my two brothers back to work and the little sister is doing well too. I wish I could know what will happen to me in the future! I still aspire to go further with my studies and get the job that I had so much wanted to do.

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In pairs, use the case study and brainstorm possible solutions for Ike

In your brainstorming you might have come up with the following;

  • Registered for a distance education programme
  • Registered for government welfare, e.g. orphan or destitute
  • Turn to relatives for help

I hope you have also realised that factors that generate a need to work are many. Examples are

•Educational attainments – upon successful completion of a programme of study, for example, an undergraduate (.e.g. Diploma in Law, Bachelor of Arts, bachelor of education, etc. or a graduate programme, e.g. Masters of Education, Doctor of Education, etc.)

•Transition from adolescence to adulthood – there are people who may have been staying home unemployed being dependent on their parents, a time comes when they also feel like they want to get employed. The society expects each one of us to be working at a certain time in life.

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Talk to one or more members of your family and find out when and why they decided they wanted to work. List all the reasons they give so you get some idea of the variety and scope behind a persons choice in seeking employment.

Getting prepared

Hints of getting prepared

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In groups of three, discuss what a normal day for a job seeker is like? Write one paragraph about what you have discussed. In your discussion and write up, you may mention the following;

Setting clear strategic goals

There is need to think and act strategically to enhance your changes of getting a job and securing it. A strategy is like a road map (Armstrong, 2002). Just like a roadmap, you need to put down a plan showing the steps that you will take to get prepared for job searching. This plan should indicate actions that you will take to look for the job. It becomes a disciplined way of carrying out the job search.

Capitalizing on available job opportunities

While it is interesting to explore and get a job that gives you the status you want, it is also thoughtful to explore jobs that are currently available and take advantage of their availability if you qualify. There are different ways of building a strong commitment and loyalty to your job once you have secured it.

Know what it takes to look for and secure an employment

You need resources such as

  • The capital-You may write and post letters of applications and this may require money. Some people ask professionals to develop resumes for them. However, it is not advisable to pay if you can do it. The internet gives you free templates. In this unit too a sample is provided.
  • The human–You may to talk to some individuals who might advise you or give you good tips of how to go about looking for the job. To contact these people may require you to have money, for visiting, calling, faxing or e-mailing.
  • Time – This is a resource that you will need to use with care.

Consider these factors carefully.

Getting started

The graphic below indicates some basic steps in job search.


Below is an exercise that will help you understand each step.

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Think about the jobs that you would like to do. Plot them on a table, an example has been given or you may make your own table.

Job Areas Highly preferred Moderately preferred May Consider Will Not Take Do Not Like
Desk duty officers
Human Resource manager
Security intelligence officer
Police office
Community Development officer

A grid like this will help you know where to look for. Identify sources of job vacancies As you plan to look for a job, you must also begin to think about sources of information about available job/job vacancies. This entails be knowledgeable about both the local, national and international sources. It is for this reason that a unit in this module is devoted to exposing you to some effective job search strategies. This is the time when you unwaveringly consult all sources, the time to aggressively go around and market your qualifications and interests.

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Make a file of job advertisements, cut from the media, for example, newspaper, newsletters and magazine, and also obtain some from local advertisement agencies, internet-based sources etc. Analyse these to come up with what employers look for when they advertise their job vacancies.

From this compilation, you should realize that employers look for different things especially qualifications and job experiences. Applying for a job You need to know how to prepare supporting documents, for example, job application letters and resumes. I believe from you Communication Module, you have been shown how to write application letters.

{{Activity In pairs, discuss the contents of an application letters and write an example of this letter}} In your discussion and sample letter, you may have included the following;

  • Your address
  • Date
  • Address of where you are applying and the intended recipient of your application
  • Salutation
  • Opening Paragraph
  • Middle Paragraph(s)
  • Closing Paragraph
  • Sincerely,

Your name You may download a free template from the following source http://www.rng.iastate.ed/ecs/students/downloads/application.pdf

Getting prepared for the interview

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Imagine yourself sitting for a job interview, what types of questions do you think the interviewers will ask? Talk with someone to come out with examples

It is imperative that before attending a job interview you should prepare yourself with respect to knowing the nature of the job that you have applied for. Reading thoroughly the job tasks that are specified in the advert will help you get some ideas of this. It may also be necessary that you visit the workplace (company, business, organization, institution, etc.) that has advertised a vacant post for more information. If the organization has a website, that can be a good source of information. This is a way of preparing yourself in order to compete in the changing labour market where the recruitment and selection process is becoming more and more complex.

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In your spare time, visit a number of organizations’ websites and see the job advertisements they have

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Go in groups and prepare a role play of jpb interviewing for an organization of your choice. You will thereafter act your play and answe questions based on your play

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Benefits of being prepared

A number of benefits can be cited. Here is presented the following • Confidence in looking for a suitable job

• Informed approach to the search and clearer expectation of what it takes to look for and secure a job

• Write sound application letters, resumes and other supporting document

• Better prepared for job interviews

• Make advanced plans of securing the employment

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1. Locate and visit an organization or institution to inquire about their job advertisement, selection and hiring procedures. Write a short summary of what you learned.

2. Research in libraries, magazines, newspapers OR interview people like workers, friends, parents or relatives about employing bodies and prepare a profile of these

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Topic 3: Securing Employment


This topic is designed to help you to use some of the skills which you learnt in topics 1 and 2.You will explore the case study and discover what are some of the essential elements in securing a job.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the topic, learners will be able to:

  • Demonstrate at least 3 appropriate behaviours for securing successful employment.

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  • Employability

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Role play

Act 1: Scene 1

Narrator: A family relaxes at home.Ravi is 15 years and Mary Jane is 22.Ravi is about to sit CXC in June and Mary Jane is in the final semester at U.W.I. She is completing her Masters in Public Relations.Mummy is a teacher and Daddy works at the Post Office.They are enjoying a Sunday meal. Mummy: How was school last week? Ravi,Mary Jane? Ravi: Not bad,Mother.Mathswas kinda rough,but I made it. Mary Jane: Well,I got back my research paper and all things being equal,I'll get an A. Mummy: Well,continue doing your best and be on top of things. Daddy: Seems that everything is under control,but ....

Narrator: A discussion takes place about Mary Jane applying for jobs,where she can apply, and how she can get the necessary information about the company.

Act 1: Scene 2

Narrator: Mary Jane does her research,completes her resume and informs her parents about it.They help her to fine tune it and she sends it off by e-mail and land mail.

Act 1: Scene 3

Narrator: The next Sunday ,Mary Jane reports about the progress of her application - the companies that responded andthe nature of their response.She has to attend an interview.Her parents discuss with her whatis needed to prepare fully for the interview - dress code,punctuality,resume,references,behaviour during the interview. Act 2 Narrator: The interview takes place.Present are the C.E.O., H.R.manager, Supervisor of the division.Mary Jane arrives at 8.45 a.m. for the 9 a.m. interview.She is appropriately dressed with a small folder in her hand.She is called into the room.She goes in, waits to be invited to have a seat,then sits straight with her feet crossed at the ankles.She is asked to introduce herself and she complies.

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Learners are placed in groups and:
  • are assigned discussion questions to process each section of the role play.


  • If a video is presented ,the discussion could take place between each segment or scene.


  • If the case study format is used,learners could be given the entire case study.However,different learners will be given specific parts of it to process.

Project: Invite community businessmen and prepare a mock interview.

Organize and participate in a job fair.This activity can help to attract people such as counsellors and business people.

Helpful Hints


Please remember this is very important - employers want people they can rely on. As a rule of thumb, being 15-30 minutes early, allows for the unexpected for example, forms to be completed. Sometimes, applicants are given the same time and therefore interviews work on a first come, first serve basis.

Dress Code

First impressions are lasting. Therefore dress to suit the position you are applying for.

  • Talk with persons who are working in the areas of your interest and find out what type of dress is considered appropriate.

Background Information

Make it your business to find out who the key people in the workplace you are applying to. It is always a good idea to have done some prior research into the history of the company, their products, their code of ethics etc. This places you in a very positive light at the interview.

Pay Package

Everyone wants to make as much as they can. Be familiar with the Labour Regulations and how much you could be earning then you can enquire intelligently about salary and compensation package. You may find that the salary is not as high as you expected, but fringe benefits such as, professional development, life insurance, medical insurance etc., may balance this out.


Please remember that having a personal portfolio that highlight your work can be very persuasive in an interview. For jobs such as graphic designers and those in the area of art, portfolios are essential.

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This topic,presented in the form of a role play ,allowed you to learn some of the critical ideas needed when you are going to explore the job market in an attempt to secure a job.You should have discovered that you need to be prepared for such a task. Some actions you need to take are:

  • prepare a job application and your resume
  • be punctual for the interview
  • dress appropriately