We often hear that many applicants for jobs aren’t qualified and their applications are thrown out. My best guess tells me that part of those that aren’t qualified are in desperate need of a job and are fishing for an interview. The other side of my guess says that part of that group simply couldn’t decode the job description/announcement so that they could put together a rock star application.
Have your students search online, in a local or major newspaper, at their favorite company, in the local government/university listings, etc. to find a job description that contains details about the duties of the job, minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications. It’s an added bonus if the job description is one they’re interested in applying for in the future. In small groups, have students identify key phrases and words that describe the job and qualities/qualifications the ideal applicant would possess. Once those components are identified, have students create a “translation” of the job description: What are priorities for this position? What skills are necessary? What experience would lend well in applying for this job? What kind of education is required to apply for this position? What qualifications would the company like to see in the applicant, but aren’t absolutely necessary? Talking through advanced job applications like this will be of benefit even as students apply for hourly jobs throughout high school and their post-secondary education.
To extend the learning, challenge students to identify workplace qualifications they already possess. What specifically have they done that shows valuable skill in terms of the job market? For ideas about how to detail qualifications, even from seemingly simple experiences check out Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog (specifically the section titled “Every line must quantify success").
Career Development Tip for September 18, 2008