Life Skills Development/Unit Five/Communications and Securing Employment/Lesson

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

QUESTION: How to do a productive job search?

The job search process can be daunting. Your first job is to identify the kind of position you are looking for, you’re more likely to get a job you are happy with if you narrow your search. For that, you need to understand what your choices are consider using the eight tactics listed below to improve your job search.

1. Contact Professional Organizations in Your Field National, regional and local professional organizations exist in great part to help their members with career development. Many organizations include field-specific job listings on their Web sites or in their printed publications.

2. Visit Company and Organization Web Sites Many companies and organizations post their job openings right on their own Web sites (usually under an "Employment" or "Career Opportunities" link).

3. Apply Directly to Organizations That Interest You Do you know you want to work specifically for Company X or Organization Y? If so, send a well-written cover letter and your résumé directly to the company, either to its human resources office or, often more effective, to the person who would likely make hiring decisions for the part of the organization that interests you.

4. Network, Network, Network Generally the most effective job-hunting approach, networking is simply talking to people to either track down helpful personal contacts or learn about job openings that may not necessarily be widely advertised or advertised at all. Start by talking to your own family, friends and acquaintances. Let everyone in your life know you're looking for a job, and give them an idea of what type of job you want.

If there's a professional organization in your field, join it and start participating in its meetings and other events so you can get to know people in your area of interest.

5. Participate in Job Fairs A job fair is a rare opportunity to have employers come to you. So make sure you attend job fairs whenever possible.

6. Use a Placement Agency or Recruiter/Headhunter There are companies out there that specialize in helping people find jobs. A word of caution, however: While most of these organizations receive their fees from employers (and not you, the job seeker), some will seek money from you. So be careful, and make sure you know who's paying the bill.

7. Consider Temping Often, by working briefly as a temp for a company, you can position yourself to be hired for a full-time, permanent position that opens up later on. Even if that doesn't happen, however, temping can help you see various companies from the inside, meet people in your field of interest and earn some pretty good money.

The more diverse your job-hunting methods are, the more opportunities you'll uncover and the greater the chance is that you'll find, and land, the job you really want.

8. Self Assessment Another important part of the job search process is self assessment which is an assessment of the skills you think will make you more marketable. The following activity will help you assess your skills.

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

Skills assessment

Skills are developed through paid and unpaid work experiences, volunteerism, hobbies, classroom experiences, and through everyday living. The following is only a partial sample of skills that by no means exhausts your own skills repertoire. You may use this list to initiate your skills assessment. Your goals should be to take an accurate inventory of your skills, to prioritize your skills according to level of interest, and then to assess your proficiencies. This will help you in finding a job that’s right for you as well as in your resume preparation.

To begin, follow these steps:

  1. Make a copy of this list.
  2. Put a checkmark by those skills you have used in the past.
  3. Review your checked skills and circle those that interest you the most.
  4. Rate the circled skills according to your level of proficiency.
  5. Be sure to include this list in your Portfolio and keep it near by as we progress onwards towards developing the perfect résumé for you.
abstracting acting adapting adjusting administering
advertising advising analyzing answering anticipation
applying approving acquiring arbitrating arranging
assessing assigning assisting assuring attaining
auditing bargaining briefing budgeting building
calculating charting checking classifying coaching
collaborating communicating comparing compiling completing
composing computing constructing consulting coordinating
coping copying counselling creating deciding
decorating defining delegating demonstrating detailing
determining developing devising diagnosing directing
discovering discussing displaying dissecting distributing
drafting dramatizing drawing editing eliminating
empathizing empowering encouraging enforcing estimating
evaluating examining explaining expressing extracting
facilitating filing financing following gathering
guiding handling helping hiring hypothesizing
identifying illustrating imagining implementing improving
improvising influencing initiating innovating inspecting
inspiring installing instructing integrating interpreting
interviewing inventing inventorying investigating leading
learning lecturing listening managing manipulating
mediating memorizing mentoring monitoring motivating
navigating negotiating observing operating ordering
organizing originating participating perceiving performing
persuading photographing piloting pinpointing planning
predicting preparing prescribing presenting printing
problem-solving processing producing programming promoting
proofreading proposing providing publicizing purchasing
reading reasoning receiving recommending reconciling
recording recruiting referring rehabilitating reinforcing
relating reorganizing repairing reporting researching
restoring reviewing revising risking scheduling
selecting selling separating serving setting-up
sharing simplifying sketching solving speaking
sorting sporting studying summarizing supervising
supplying synthesizing talking teaching team-building
telling training translating travelling treating
trouble-shooting tutoring understanding unifying uniting
verbalizing visualizing writing

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

QUESTION: What is a résumé?

Résumés are what people use to get jobs, right?


A résumé is a one or two page summary of your education, skills, accomplishments and experience. Your résumés purpose is to get your foot in the door. A résumé does its job successfully if it does not exclude you from consideration.

Your résumé is your ticket to an interview where you can sell yourself!

How to Prepare an Effective Resume


1. Resume Essentials

Before you write, take time to do your self-assessment on paper. Outline your skills (especially those applicable to the position you are seeking) and abilities as well as your work experience and extracurricular activities. This will make it easier to prepare a thorough resume.

2. The Content of Your Resume

Name, address, telephone, e-mail address, web site address

  • Avoid nicknames.
  • Use a permanent address. Use your parents' address, a friend's address, or if you recently finished school use the address you plan to use after graduation.
  • Use a permanent telephone number and include the area code. If you have an answering machine, record a neutral greeting.
  • Add your e-mail address. Many employers will find it useful. (Note: Choose an e-mail address that sounds professional you may want to have two e-mail addresses on for professional use and one for personal use.)
  • Include your web site address only if the web page reflects your professional ambitions.

3. Objective or Summary

An objective tells potential employers the sort of work you're hoping to do.

  • Be specific about the job you want. For example: To obtain an entry-level position within a financial institution requiring strong analytical and organizational skills.
  • Tailor your objective to each employer you target/every job you seek.

An objective statement will allow you to:

  • Emphasize key qualifications, skills and/or goals
  • Help your readers find what they need to know quickly
  • Make a good first impression

A good objective statement answers questions:

  • What position(s) are you applying for?
  • What are your main qualifications?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What is your professional identity?

Icon activity.jpg

Practice in writing objective statements

To write instant objective statements for practice, fill in the parts in brackets. Once perfected be sure to include it in your Portfolio.

  • To utilize my [qualifications, strengths, or skills] as a [position title]
  • A position as a [position title] for [company name] allowing me to develop my [qualifications, strengths, or skills]
  • An opportunity to [professional goal] in a [type of organization, work environment, or field] using my [qualifications, strengths, or skills]
  • [position title] with emphasis in [areas of expertise]

4. Education


New graduates without a lot of work experience should list their educational information first. Alumni can list it after the work experience section.

  • Your most recent educational information is listed first.
  • Include your degree (A.S., B.S., B.A., etc.), major, institution attended, and minor/concentration.
  • Add your grade point average (GPA) if it is higher than 3.0.
  • Mention academic honours.

5. Work Experience

Briefly give the employer an overview of work that has taught you skills. Use action words to describe your job duties. Include your work experience in reverse chronological order that is, put your last job first and work backward to your first, relevant job. Include:

  • Title of position
  • Name of organization
  • Location of work
  • Dates of employment
  • Describe your work responsibilities with emphasis on specific skills achievements.

6. Other information

You may want to add:

  • Key or special skills or competencies,
  • Leadership experience in volunteer organizations,
  • Participation in sports.

7. References

Ask people if they are willing to serve as references before you give their names to a potential employer.

Do not include your reference information on your resume. You may note at the bottom of your resume: "References furnished on request."

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

Now that you have been equipped with all the information to write a professional resume, compose your resume ensuring that you have completed all of the necessary sub sections to the best of your ability.

Be sure to include this copy of your resume in your Portfolio

Resume Checkup

You've written your résumé. You can now take the following steps to ensure that it is done well.


  • Run a spell check on your computer before anyone sees your résumé.
  • Get a friend (an English major would do nicely) to do a grammar review.
  • Ask another friend to proofread. The more people who see your résumé, the more likely that misspelled words and awkward phrases will be seen (and corrected).


These tips will make your résumé easier to read and/or scan into an employer's data base.

  • Use white or off-white paper.
  • Use 8-1/2- x 11-inch paper.
  • Print on one side of the paper.
  • Use a font size of 10 to 14 points.
  • Use non-decorative typefaces.
  • Choose one typeface and stick to it.
  • Avoid italics, script, and underlined words.
  • Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, or shading.
  • Do not fold or staple your résumé.
  • If you must mail your résumé, put it in a large envelope.

Icon activity.jpg

Use the above résumé checklist to ensure that your résumé is well prepared. Make any necessary adjustments and include a copy of your final résumé in your Portfolio.

Cover Letters


While the résumé is a somewhat generic advertisement for yourself, the cover letter allows you to tailor your application to each specific job.

Cover Letters should be constructed paying close attention to the following:

Purpose Your cover letter and résumé usually provide all the information which a prospective employer will use to decide whether or not you will reach the next phase in the application process: the interview.

While your goal is an interview and, ultimately, a job offer, the more immediate purpose of your cover letter in some cases may simply be to gain an attentive audience for your résumé.

Audience A cover letter provides, in a very real sense, an opportunity to let your prospective employer hear your voice. It reflects your personality, your attention to detail, your communication skills, your enthusiasm, your intellect, and your specific interest in the company to which you are sending the letter.

Therefore, cover letters should be tailored to each specific company you are applying to. You should conduct enough research to know the interests, needs, values, and goals of each company, and your letters should reflect that knowledge.

Content A cover letter should be addressed to the specific company and the specific individual who will process your application. You can usually find this through research or simply by calling the company to find out who you should address your letter to.

The letter should name the position for which you are applying and also make specific references to the company. Indicate your knowledge of and interest in the work the company is currently doing, and your qualification for the position. You want the reader to know:

  • Why you want to work at that specific company,
  • why you fit with that company
  • How you qualify for the position to which you applying.

In addition to tailoring your application to a specific job with a specific company, the cover letter should also seek to:

  • Highlight the most important and relevant accomplishments, skills, and experience listed in your résumé
  • Point to the resume in some way (as detailed in the enclosed résumé)
  • Request specific follow up, such as an interview.

Format A cover letter should be in paragraph form (save bulleted lists for your résumé) with a conversational, though formal, tone.

The first paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences, stating

  • What job you are applying for and how you learned about it
  • Any personal contacts you have in or with the company
  • Your general qualifications for the job.

The body of your letter should consist of one to three longer paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the position. Pick out the most relevant qualifications listed in your resume and discuss them in detail, demonstrating how your background and experience qualify you for the job. Be as specific as possible, and refer the reader to your resume for additional details. The concluding paragraph of your letter should request an interview (or some other response, as appropriate). State where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an interview or supply further information. Close by thanking your reader for his or her time and consideration.

The Interview

Every interview you get is an indication that the hiring committee is impressed by your application materials, and thinks you might be a good fit for their needs. The purpose of an interview then is for the institution to find out whether you would be a good fit for them, and for you to find out whether the position is a good fit for you.

10 Steps to a Successful Interview

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Introduce yourself in a courteous manner.
  3. Read company materials while you wait.
  4. Have a firm handshake.
  5. Listen.
  6. Use body language to show interest.
  7. Smile, nod, and give nonverbal feedback to the interviewer.
  8. Ask about the next step in the process.
  9. Thank the interviewer.
  10. Write a thank-you letter to anyone you have spoken to

Facts to Gather Before Interviewing

  • Key people in the organization
  • Major products or services
  • Size in terms of sales and employees
  • Locations other than your community
  • Organizational structure of the company
  • Major competitors
  • View of the company by clients, suppliers, and competition
  • Latest news reports on the company or on local or national news that affects the company

Interviewers' Favourite Questions

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • How do you make yourself indispensable to a company?
  • What’s your greatest strength?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • Tell me about a time when your course load was heavy. How did you complete all your work?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to accomplish a task with someone who was particularly difficult to get along with.
  • How do you accept direction and, at the same time, maintain a critical stance regarding your ideas and values?
  • What are some examples of activities and surroundings that motivate you?
  • Tell me how you handled an ethical dilemma.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a problem with no rules or guidelines in place.

Icon activity.jpg

Using the list of questions above, prepare a list of possible answers. In dyads, ask each other the qauestions and rate the answers given on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest indicating the best possible answer.

Use the reponse of this 'mock' interview to assist you to tailor your responses.

Helpful tips:

  • Ensure that your responses are in line with your natural response to the said question.
  • Do not learn your prepared answers. Instead utilise them as a guide as to how you should answer. Interviewers are trained to identify scripted answers.

Icon reflection.gif


Job Search

Engage in self-reflection exercises in order to determine your own interests, aptitudes, values, skills and talent. Questions to reflect on include:

  • What type of job do my qualifications and experience most effectively match? What type of job setting I prefer? What type of industry? Government or private enterprise? How big an establishment?
  • What are the activities I prefer doing? Selling, talking, building, manual labour, research?
  • What working hours would I prefer?
  • Do I prefer a job that requires travelling?
  • What salary range would I prefer?
  • I prefer a job with what benefits? Flexible hours? Health benefits, profit sharing? What leave allowances?

Truthfully answering these questions would assist you to narrow your job search and equip you with the information necessary that may ensure that the job that you are selected for will be one that you enjoy.

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

Researching the Market

  • Gather a collection [3 - 5 sources] of information that would assist in the sourcing of potential employment, for example newspaper, magazines and other sources, to ascertain where vacancies exist and compare and contrast different job descriptions.
  • Discuss changing employment landscapes: contract work, flexitime, multi-tasking, multi-skills, job equity, role and impact of worker groups including Trade Unions.
  • Research a particular company that you would like to work in and the job/s you are considering. This could be a project with your interviewing of key persons and reflecting on what you saw during visits to the plant. (See interview guidelines below)
  • Create an Application Letter for the job in which you are interested. In dyads, critically review each other's Application Letter giving all necessary feedback.

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment

Answer the following questions based on your knowledge and include the answers in your Portfolio.

  1. Differentiate between a résumé and the longer curriculum vitae (CV).
    1. Ascertain wwhich medium is better to market oneself at:
      1. Various levels of education
      2. Different levels of experience
      3. Different age groups
      4. Different job requirements
    2. Ascertain which medium is better to be presented at a job interview.

Icon qmark.gif

Self Assessment


The trainees

  • Consider the job requirements, your matching qualifications and experience and what you can bring to the position.
  • Discuss the aims of the job interview from the point of view of :-
    • The interviewer
    • The interviewee.

Based on these aims discuss the roles played by each in the interview process.

Be reminded that the interview is a formal ‘conversation’ between the employee and the employer and that your speech, body language and attire should be suitable to the occassion.

  • Write your reflections, in detail, on all aspects of preparing for the interview:
    • Researching information about the company
    • Researching information about the job itself
    • Aptitude test
    • Appropriate dress (pictures, collages , video clips may be useful here)
    • Appropriate behaviour
    • Questions that the interviewee should ask at the interview, e.g. questions about salary, prospects for promotion.
  • Mock interviews
    • Gather a group of friends and organise Mock Interviews. Depending on the number of persons willing to participate, arrange a panel that will act as the interviewers

Checklists of Performance Task

1. Writing an application letter

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. My application letter was customised
2. Details were relevant to the job/position
3. I highlighted my major relevant qualifications and experience
4. I referred to my résumé
2. Résumé

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I chose the appropriate format for my résumé
2. I highlighted all my relevant qualifications
3. I included my referees, place of employment and contact information
3. While in these groups trainees may also prepare for a job interview (researching relevant information about the work place of their choice as well as possible questions).

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I researched the background of the company
2. I researched the requirements of the job
3. I considered what possible questions could be asked in the interview
4. These groups may also to be maintained while trainees participate in a mock job interview.

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I was articulate during the interview
2. I emphasised my skills and related them to the requirements of the position
3. I asked the interviewer pertinent questions relating to the job
4. I dressed appropriately for the interview
5. Drawing or collage of what trainee deems to be appropriate work attire

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I completed a drawing/collage of appropriate work wear for a variety of jobs

Previous.png | Next.png