Book Review: They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

Book Review: They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

Author: Alexandra Levit

Length: 240 pages

Intent/Focus: A must-have guide to success in the corporate world, for college students, recent grads and twenty-somethings readying themselves for career success.

What You Will Learn: Tips for traversing the corporate world with professionalism and panache – and coming out on top.

Why We Recommend It: They Don’t Teach Corporate in College aligns with Envision’s mission to provide students with the resources for college and career success. This book helps high school students better understand the corporate environment as they prepare to make their career aspirations a reality.

Summary: This most recent edition of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College reflects the unique needs and challenges of new grads and twenty-somethings who want to make a difference right now, but need deeper insight into making it happen. Published in September 2004, this book is currently used as a text in corporations and universities across the country.

The 10 chapters in this book cover a wide range of important guidelines for inexperienced job-seekers as well as any young person focused on career management. The title of the book summarizes its value, since, as the author points out, the corporate world is nothing like academia. “You come up against rules no one ever told us about.” Written from the perspective of a wise older sister who doesn’t want you to learn the hard way, the book provides personal anecdotes and specific tips for success.

Here is a quick summary of the chapter contents:

Chapter 1: Find Yourself. Find a Paycheck – finding occupations that match your skills and interests
Chapter 2: Congratulations. You’re Hired – creating a good first impression at your new company
Chapter 3: Working the Crowd – work relationships, mentorships and office politics
Chapter 4: Be the Master of Your Plan – goal-setting and showcasing your accomplishments
Chapter 5: The Purposeful Workday – managing your workload and business communications
Chapter 6: Check Your Attitude at the Door – combating negativism and staying motivated
Chapter 7: People Management – getting along with coworkers
Chapter 8: Moving Up in the World – scheduling and maximizing performance reviews
Chapter 9: You’re the Boss Now! – how to be a good manager
Chapter 10: Exit Stage Left – how to leave your current employer without burning bridges

Other sage advice found in the book:

  • Landing your dream job by avoiding the HR black hole
  • Developing your professional image and reputation
  • Becoming your own public-relations machine
  • Learning the real meaning behind corporate lingo
  • Dealing with corporate reorganizations
  • Navigating the office social scene and practicing cringe-free networking
  • Combating negativity and coping with difficult personalities

The Reviews

In his article in Quintessential Careers, educator and Ph.D. Randall S. Hansen said, “The book is well organized, written with a breezy style, and packed with some great advice. I also love the many vignettes from younger job-seekers who have faced the many challenges Levit highlights in the book.

Daniel H. Pink, author of another recommended book, Drive, said, “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College is too good to be given only to the twenty-somethings. Anyone who’s feeling lost and overwhelmed in cubicle country can benefit from reading this eminently practical book.”

In the many 5-star reviews from readers, we see quotes such as:

“[The author] gives the reader confidence and a new outlook because she does not just provide comforting words. She elucidates her point with concrete examples.”

“This is a great resource for anyone entering Corporate America… One might think the information is ‘common sense’, but too often we don’t use common sense until someone makes the ‘light bulb’ go off. Alexandra does this beautifully!”

From a college professor:

“Alexandra Levit is right on the mark with this book. I have incorporated this book into my class discussions and the students will be more prepared for the corporate world because of it!”

About the Author

Alexandra Levit is a former nationally-syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a current writer for the New York Times, as well as the author of several books. She consults on leadership development and career and workplace trends on behalf of American Express, Deloitte, DeVry University, Intuit and PepsiCo, among others. An American Management Association Top Business Leader for 2014, she was named Money Magazine‘s Online Career Expert of the Year.



How To Make A Great Elevator Pitch at the Career Fair

How To Make A Great Elevator Pitch at the Career Fair


Everyone needs a great elevator pitch at a career fair because that is really the key step to nabbing an interview with a company. You are selling yourself as a way to make their company better. The elevator pitch is a brief summary, short and to the point, about you and the company or product you represent. Aptly named because it should last no longer than a typical elevator ride, an elevator pitch needs to be convincing, concise, and memorable. Plus, once you have this elevator pitch down, you can use it anywhere an opportunity may arise.This is what you need your EP for the career fair to cover:

  1. Who you are: Introduce yourself, offer a firm hand shake and a resume.
  2. Objective: Tell the employer why you are there and what sort of employment you seek.
  3. Summary: Summarize your education and experience.
  4. Closing: Reiterate your interest and thank the employer.

And here are some tips for making it great.

Keep it short

The optimal EP is 60 seconds. That is why you want to get to the point as fast as possible. Brevity is of the utmost importance. You want it to be short and concise so you can give the person time to respond and ask follow ups.  That is why you want to get to the call to action as fast as possible.

Know it by heart

Though you want to sound genuine, it doesn’t hurt to practice it…A LOT. But you want to know it so well so that you don’t sound like a robot reciting it. And if you practice with family and friends ask for feedback!

Avoid annoying buzzwords

Cut all the annoying junk out. Just stick to the point.

Show them you care (and then they will care) 

You have to show them the passion or they really won’t give you the time of the day. According to Career Services at UCSB, some of these topics will help:

  • Who am I? What do I offer? What field or industry am I interested in?
  • What does the employer need and what problem can I solve?
  • What are the main contributions I can make? What benefits can employers derive from my skills, based on my proven accomplishments?

Inject a little humor

A little joke or funny anecdote can make a cold pitch all that much better. And a personal anecdote they can relate to is always super helpful in getting them to really care.

Follow up

If you do it right, then the elevator pitch is really just the beginning. You need to be prepared for follow-up questions and be sure to make a plan to reconnect. To get that next conversation going try asking: How can I get a spot on your interview schedule? Can we set a phone appointment to discuss the issue of…? Can I send you my resume?


The Art of Networking

The Art of Networking
You may have heard the saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” And then you may have immediately thought, I’m a college student, I don’t know anyone! But don’t throw up your hands and give up so easily. You’re not just in school to build what you know, but also to build who you know. Now is the time to start building your contacts. Doing this while you’re still in college is the key to finding employment post-graduation. Here’s how to start:

Socialize with as many people as you can

Start with class then work your way through campus clubs and student organizations. Don’t limit yourself by sticking close to your circle of friends you made freshman year in the dorm or your sorority sisters. Jump into the deep end of the pool by mixing with new people. How can you do that? By reaching out to new groups of people. This could be organizations related to your major and/or areas you’d be interested in working in after graduation; like a business club, a marketing organization or a speaker event hosted by your campus’ career center.

Additionally, you could sign up for events that grow your skills while stretching your socializing capabilities; like a hackathon, engineering society, or toastmasters. Never underestimate who you could meet!

Initiate the conversation

Now that you’re at an event take full advantage of it. Don’t sit in the back and text all your friends that aren’t there, get up and start mingling. This can be as simple as walking up to another member, professor or the speaker herself, sticking out your hand and introducing yourself.

The first impression you make should be to establish rapport, not make a request. Don’t start with “Hi, I need an internship this summer.” Instead, start with something small, but sincere, such as “Hi I’m Michael. I really enjoyed the point you made about how consumer preference dictates market demand, did your research always prove this theory?” People love it when they feel they have been heard. Picking one or two things out of a presentation and reiterating back to them makes an instant connection. If you are genuinely trying to connect with someone, you’ll never go wrong.

Follow-up after making a connection

Why spend all that time locating and attending events if you do nothing with those connections once you have them? The key to growing your network is following up once you’ve met someone. This could be done through text, email or by sending a LinkedIn connection request. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account, stop everything and do that now! Even if your profile is basic and you don’t have any experience, you can start to build connections immediately.

Once you’ve connected make the point of giving more to your network than taking from your network. This means contributing! This can be adding content to LinkedIn, connecting people you met to each other, and recommending or endorsing connections with proven skills. Remember to be an advocate for others, so when the time comes they will advocate for you.

Do some company investigation

Another bonus of attending events and making connections is that as a college student you begin to get to know yourself more, understand what you’re passionate about and what you’re not. All of these events and people expose you to more opportunity and you’ll begin to better know what you want to do post-graduation. Interning with the government, a non-profit or at a company like Chegg is naturally the next step in the process to gaining exposure to a possible career path.

A great tool to better learn about possible career paths is Chegg’s Career Center. Once you know approximately which career path(s) interest you, begin to research companies that you can see yourself interning at. Start researching by googling brands that you love, shop at and use. Research their corporate website, their reviews on Glassdoor and LinkedIn site. Keep an Excel sheet recording your research and take special note of when they offer internships and how to apply.

Grow your network

Begin to branch out even more by connecting via LinkedIn with a professional aunt, cousin or alumni who are outside of your college network. This will expand your first, second and third connections on LinkedIn, making it easier to connect with more people in the future. You’ll also come up more often in recruiters’ searches.

Another viable option is to attend a career fair on campus, live and in person. This may seem like a scary prospect, but all those events you’ve been attending will have laid a nice foundation for you to know how to socialize in a professional setting. Make sure you talk to the recruiters at booths of companies you’ve researched and are interested in interning at. Take note of companies you’ve never heard of or never thought of working at before and research them when you get home. Get recruiters’ business cards at the fair and connect with him/her after the fair.  A friendly note post-career fair is a great way of getting on someone’s radar. Don’t be discouraged if one fair doesn’t lead to an internship, keep getting out there, keep connecting and eventually you will be noticed!

Today’s post was written by Chegg’s University Recruiting and Intern Program Manager, Lora Kyle. Lora has an undergraduate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in International Relations from Middlesex University, London. She has over eight years of professional experience in Human Resources, including a tenure as Driscoll’s Global Campus Program Manager.


The Art of Resume Writing

The Art of Resume Writing

Your resume is the first step in transitioning from an unemployed college student to a fully employed intern. However useful it is, to most college students ,writing a resume is a daunting task. It can be an overwhelming idea that you need list all your academic achievements, extracurricular activities and any jobs you’ve had in a way that makes an employer want to hire you, all while keeping it to one page!  But don’t freak out just yet.

Writing a resume can be fun if you look at it from the right perspective. Begin by not thinking about it as a detailed list of everything you’ve done, but rather a snapshot of your successes; a way to entice recruiters to interview you. A resume is a tool to start a conversation with a potential employer. It’s a way to get yourself noticed and Chegg Recruiting is here to help! Here’s a few things to make your resume a complete success:

Get some (free) help

Staring at a blank word doc with a blinking cursor could spell your doom. Don’t start there. Instead, begin online by searching for resumes of positions you’d like to have one day. Use these resumes as a roadmap of how your resume should look. (But don’t copy them!)

Obviously your resume needs to be of your accomplishments and skills, not a seasoned professional. However, by viewing these resumes’ formatting and vocabulary, you’ll have a better understanding of where to start.

Look at a couple of resumes, check out the formatting and a pay attention to the action verbs used to describe their accomplishments. If you need more help try Googling key phrases like: effective resumes, college student resumes, marketing intern resumes, etc. If you prefer in-person than online, check out your campus’ career center. They often have resume writing workshops you could attend or you could schedule an appointment with you campus’ career center representative for a 1×1 meeting.

Formatting, grammar and length are critical

After reviewing a few resumes online, take a stab starting to construct a resume. Start with the basic of all resume formatting:

    • Name (first and last.)


    • Contact information (email address and phone number are enough.)


    • Objective (typically a brief summary of who you are and what you’re looking for.)


    • Education (list college name, major, the semester and year you anticipate to graduate. When applying for an internship, add your GPA.)


    • Experience (have you worked before? Even if it’s at your colleges’ cafeteria, this is the area where you can show your positive indicators; such as trustworthiness, willingness to take initiative, or accuracy. When listing experience write the name of the business, dates worked, your title, and give a brief description of what you did there. Items to mention could be handling $2,000 of cash sales daily, training new employees, managing a lab’s database, report writing, or organizing shipments.)


    • Extracurricular activities (add clubs, sports teams, or organizations you belong. Put the dates you belonged and what positions you held. This is the perfect section for noting leadership qualities. We suggest to refrain from adding any political or divisive associates.)


    • Technical skills, soft skills and languages (add in any software knowledge, communication or language skills you have. Note the item you know and the level of proficiency you are, such as intermediate Java skills.)


This format can vary, but generally all resumes have a section for each. One thing that can’t vary is correct grammar. Make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct. Ask a friend to proofread once you’ve finished for any fine-tuning needed.  Unless you’re a PhD candidate, your resume should also be no more than 2 pages long with 11 or 12 point font. The font should be easy to read (i.e. Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.) and that’s what you want; an easy to read doc that gets a recruiter excited to contact you.

If you’re finding yourself writing a 3, 4, 5 page resume, take a break and come back to omit or summarize a few items. Recruiters probably won’t read past the second page, so try to condense.

Tailor it

Now that you’ve got a beautiful resume, you may want to start sending it out to hundreds of potential employers like Chegg! While we applaud your enthusiasm, the resume you just wrote is your template. That’s right, you’re not quite done.

The resume you’ve crafted is just a jumping off point for when you want to apply for an internship. When searching for an internship, read each intern job description carefully. When you’ve decided you have the skills necessary to apply, you need to tailor your resume for that job description. By tailoring, we mean adding the key words from the job description into your resume. These are often “power” verbs; like assist, deliver, direct, manage, maintain, prepare, process, supervise, test, update, etc. For each requirement, make sure you call out how you’ve demonstrated this in the past. It can be in your academic work, campus employment or sports activity. This relationship from your resume to the job description is key to getting a call back.

Today’s post was written by Chegg’s University Recruiting and Intern Program Manager, Lora Kyle. Lora has an undergraduate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in International Relations from Middlesex University, London. She has over eight years of professional experience in Human Resources, including a tenure as Driscoll’s Global Campus Program Manager.


What to do Before You Start Your Internship

What to do Before You Start Your Internship


You got the internship! Congratulations!

….Now what? The nerves are building up, you’re not sure what the next step is. There’s definitely some stuff you should do before you start your 9-5 life, but what?

I have done a lot of Googling and asked a lot of people for their advice on how to prepare for an internship over the last two years. This list is a compilation of the most helpful advice I found.

1. Learn your commute

The easiest and possibly most helpful way to feel prepared on the first day of work is to practice your commute. Find out exactly where your office is, how long it takes to get there and where you can park before it’s 9:15 and you’re 30 minutes late to orientation. I recommend doing this at the time you would on your first day, but if you don’t want anyone to see you testing it out you can go at night or on the weekend when no one is at the office. Just don’t forget to account for traffic on your first day. If you can’t practice your commute, just make sure to Google map it before the morning of, so you can leave yourself plenty of time to get there.

Pro tip: During the first couple days of work, ask around and see if there’s anyone you can carpool with. Carpooling means you get to use the carpool lane, you get to drive less AND you get to build relationships with your coworkers. Nice one, intern!

2. Learn the dress code

There are very few things worse than showing up to an event underdressed. One of those things is showing up to work underdressed. Take the time to look over the employee handbook and find out just what you’re in for. Some companies restrict certain fabrics and cuts, while others have no dress codes at all. The important rule of thumb is that if you have ANY doubt whatsoever in what you’re supposed to be wearing, dress up. No one ever talked badly about the newbie for looking way too professional on their first day. They do talk about that newbie who looks like a total slob. Buying clothes for an internship is awkward and weird and you might not know how certain articles of clothing are supposed to look, but just keep the word “professional” on your mind and ask the people who work in the store for their opinions. You’ll be able to get at least a week’s worth of clothes.

Pro tip: Before you start, focus on the basics. Grab some button down shirts, a pair of black pants. Wait until after your first week to redo your entire wardrobe so you can see what everyone else is wearing.

3. Look over your job description

Chances are you got your job offer a couple of months ago. Go back and make sure you know what skills are expected of you and that you can confidently use them. It never hurts to do a little googling and brush up on those skills you haven’t used in a while. At least know where you can find how-to videos online. Most importantly for everyone: go over basic Excel stuff. Whether you’re already familiar or not, you’re going to have to use Excel and the other members of the Microsoft Office Suite at your job.

Pro tip: Be able to summarize your job in a sentence or two. When you’re meeting new people on your first day, the most common question after “What’s your name?” is “So what are you going to be doing here?” and giving them a blank stare and an “Ummmm” is not the best first impression you could be giving.

4. Look over your company’s mission

Your first day, you’ll be meeting a lot of important people, potentially those who helped form the company or others who are high up on the corporate totem pole. Remembering the info you memorized for your interview will come in handy if asked about the company and where you fit and why you chose it. Hopefully you’re familiar with what your company does and why, but it will mean a lot to your coworkers to know that you are passionate about the mission and excited to be a part of their team.

Pro tip: You should keep this in mind throughout your internship. Maybe you took your internship just because you wanted an internship, but everyone will notice if you are enthused about the company and what they’re doing. It will help you be a better team player and a better employee.

5. Do some soul searching

Once you’ve gone over your company’s mission and your job description, take some time to reflect on what you want to get out of your internship. This is, after all, a learning experience for you. Take the time to outline some professional goals for the course of your internship. What skills to you want to acquire? What do you want to improve on? It’s important to do this before your internship starts because once you’re thrown into the hustle and bustle of a 9-5 job, you’ll be too busy to think about it unless you intentionally carve out a chunk of time to do so. Once you have some ideas, write them down so you can occasionally check in and see if you’re on the right track.

Pro tip: Share your goals with your manager. Your manager is there to give you projects, yes, but they’re also there to help you make the most of your intern experience. When you share your goals with them, chances are they’ll want to help you achieve them. They can help you refine your goals so that they fit your job and can even integrate them into the projects that they give you.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you’re agonizing over the dress code or can’t sleep at night because you can’t remember if you’re supposed to arrive at 8 or 9, send an email to the person who hired you! Chances are, part of their job description is to answer questions from new hires. You’ll get peace of mind, and they’ll be happy you’re preparing for your new job. Don’t be afraid to get the answers you need to be confident and happy on the first day.

Pro tip: On the other side of the spectrum, don’t send 10,000 emails to that poor person. Spend some time brainstorming and write out all of your questions in one email. Once you see them next to each other, you can decide which questions you can live without knowing the answer to and delete them. Better for both parties.

7. Pack your bag

You’re almost there! So it’s the night before, and you are getting ready. Don’t forget to bring these things:

  1.  Notebook & Pen – they’re going to throw a TON of information at you, and you’ll forget 90% of it within 10 minutes. Write it all down so you can look back and ask as few repetitive questions as possible (they’re inevitable).
  2. Identification Documents – you’re going to be filling out a lot of paperwork on your first day. For some of the forms, you’ll need your social security number, your bank account routing number, and your passport (or some other forms of identification which can be found here). show them you’re prepared by bringing all of the necessary information with you.
  3. Water Bottle –Stay hydrated! Those paper cups by the water cooler are so wasteful. Go green and get a cool reusable water bottle!
  4. Lunch – on your first day, it’s important to bring a lunch. You might not need it, but if you do need it and you don’t have it that you will be super bummed. On the first day, you’ll be able to figure out your office’s lunch culture. Maybe you’ll be packing a turkey sandwich every day, maybe you’ll never have to bring out your Scooby Doo lunchbox again.
  5. Mints/Gum – Nothing is worse than being trapped talking to someone with bad breath, and you don’t want to be that person on your first day.
  6. Lip Balm – 9 hours is a really long workday! Plenty of time for your lips to get chapped. Bring lip balm so your smile is as dazzling as it usually is, without chapped or cracked lips.

You can do it! You’re ready! You got this!

I hope these tricks help you feel more confident for your first day of your new internship. Remember why you got the position, and live every day like it’s a job interview.

Keep it real, keep it humble, keep it professional.

And good luck!



Career Success

Success-300x199Have you just graduated? Have you just landed yourself with that first job? Are you ready to take on the world but you feel lost? Are you at your first few years of work or at a career crossroad? And feeling disgruntled, demotivated, confused and in need of guidance?

What do you do next in order to progress?

Life in the working world is very different from school or college. There are no clear rules so to speak. But there are guidelines and principles you can follow to increase your chances of career success.

Based on our real life experiences, we want to provide you with guidelines, advice and tips to help you ease into the working world. In the hope this will help you achieve career success.

This is our toolbox, tools we have used in the course of our own pursuit of a successful career.

The tips, techniques and advice are geared for you to be a success with bosses, colleagues, clients and foes.

While we can share our experiences with you, YOU need to belief that you are in charge of your own destiny. Everything starts and ends with you. You are the one in control, no one else. We do not have magic formulas here you can learn in a night and be on your way to greatness. But what we know is this – the advice, tips and techniques here are used by ourselves. We aim to guide you towards a successful career, work and life.

We have collected them for you to freely use in pursuing career success. You are your own career builder; we are the supplier of the tools. You need to decide which tools to use, which suits you best and then put them into action.

There are three things we ask of you:

  1. Bring Enthusiasm. Unless you are interested to improve yourself and attain success, no amount of reading can help you.
  2. Take Action. Internalize the relevant materials. Then decide to take action. Nothing happens until you act upon that change you desire.
  3. Be Patient. Nothing happens overnight. Success like many things in life takes time. Drop by drop an empty bucket is soon filled with water. Small steps at a time. Pursuing career success is a marathon. Not a sprint.

As you peek around you will see things in a different perspective, so you can enjoy and feel more satisfied pursuing career success. Well, come on in and let’s get started!



Career Advice


When you’re looking for help with your choice of career, it’s easy to take the first advice that comes your way – after all, it’s important and usually highly time-sensitive! Friends and family are often more than willing to tell you their thoughts. Careers are so important, however, that it’s always important to seek a second opinion. Look for advice from tenured professionals in the field that you are in or are looking to break into.

Whether it’s your first time in or you are looking to further your position within your current career, navigating your way through the path of career development can be a daunting endeavor. Knowing where to seek career advice can ease your transfer into a new career. Developing your identity, creating and maintaining your image, and preparing yourself to take advantage of emerging opportunities all contribute to your success in the workplace. Career planning is a personal plan to increase your value to an employer while focusing your career goals around your unique skills and ambitions.

Some excellent published works on career advice include: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter; Your Career is an Extreme Sport: Focus Drive Excel by Eileen Gunn; Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Changing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra; and Rules for Renegades by Christine Comaford Lynch.

Some general career advice before you dive into the wealth of resources available onsite:

The first step to controlling your career path is to pay attention to your progress. Create frequent, and realistic, short-term goals and work hard to meet them. Ensure that your short-term goals are in line to help you meet your long-term career plans. Reevaluate these goals a couple of times per year to keep track of your progress. These goals can include taking on relevant side jobs, volunteering to gain experience, or returning to school for an advanced degree.

Keep your knowledge of your industry and your skill set current. Participate in any career-development opportunities offered by your employer, renew your licenses and certifications regularly, and stay connected to the larger industry outside of your own job and company. Self-motivation is the number one force pushing you to achieve.

Don’t let a company control your progress. If your place of employment lacks opportunities or promotes a culture that discourages progress, move on the greener pastures. Good companies allow their employees to grow along with them. If your company doesn’t allow you to branch out and continue to develop your skills, look for another company that does.

Knowing when to seek career advice is often intuitive. You may feel overlooked, neglected, or even bored. If you aren’t challenged by your position, if you aren’t allowed to grow at a comfortable pace, if you feel your work environment takes from you more than it gives, it may be time to consider seeking advice from a mentor or other resource.



Applications & Mock Interviews


Description: This is a application and interview practice forum for Grades: 9–12. practice completing a job application and participate in a mock interview.


  1. Examine the “Dos and Don’ts” of completing a job application
  2. Exhibit appropriate behavior during a mock job interview


  1. Job Application printable (PDF) from Spell Well! 50 Quick, Fun-Filled Ways to Help Students of All Learning Styles Masters Their Spelling Words and/or a variety of job applications from various local businesses.
  2. Career Portfolios and Resumes from Lesson One
  3. Writing paper/pencils
  4. Chart paper
  5. Transparency of a job application
  6. Overhead Projector
  7. Interview Questions Printable (PDF)

Set Up and Prepare (min of two on a team to a max of four on a team for group study sessions)

  1. Copy the Job Application (printable) and/or collect a variety of job applications from various local businesses. Make sure the applications are blank.
  2. Make sure to do this study in a group of four (max).
  3. Inform other students or team members in your group that they will be involved in mock job interviews on a specified date, encouraging each to dress appropriately for the mock job interview event.
  4. On a chart paper or transparency, write the following journal prompts for Part II:
    • Describe five ideas, accomplishments, strengths, skills, or personal qualities that you think would best “sell” yourself to an employer.
    • What are your personal skills and abilities, and how do they relate to a particular job? Write about specific examples of how you have used them.
    • What are your weaknesses, and what steps are you taking to improve them?
    • Describe your ideal work environment, which may include the kinds of companies and their philosophies, physical environment, types of people with who you work, amount of supervision, and types of responsibilities.
    • Describe your educational background. How is it relevant to your desired job?
  5. Write the following Job Acquisition Descriptions on chart paper for Part II:A. JOB AVAILABLE: Typist
    EXPERIENCE: Office assistant at local high school
    SKILLS: Typing, 60 wpm
    EDUCATION: Business certificate

    B. JOB AVAILABLE: Sales/Inventory Clerk
    EXPERIENCE: Wal-Mart cashier and stock person
    SKILLS: Good communicator, cash register operator
    EDUCATION: High School Diploma

    C. JOB AVAILABLE: Mechanic trainee
    EXPERIENCE: Mechanic for Reliable Auto
    SKILLS: Capable of completely overhauling or rebuilding most car engines
    EDUCATION: Certificate in Auto Mechanics



Step 1: Introduce this lesson to your group (if its a group study). Complete the application as though you were applying for a job right now. If you have a job, you may use that as a reference. If not, ask everyone to think about where they would like to work. Encourage each other to use the information from your resumes and career portfolios that would help out.

Step 2: Collect the applications. Assemble in their small groups (max of four if a group study). Redistribute the applications randomly, asking each team to critique them. The team should generate a list of positive aspects and suggestions for improvement for each application.

Step 3: Upon completion, ask each team to share their lists. Generate a discussion of common errors and ways to improve. Using the transparency, model a complete application. Make sure each student on the team understand the following list of “dos and don’ts.”


  • Read the form thoroughly so that you put relevant information in appropriate sections
  • Follow the instructions accurately (e.g. ink color, continuation sheets, block capitals)
  • Answer the questions with evidence from your experience which demonstrates you
  • Know what job involves
  • Keep a copy of your form so that you can use it to prepare for an interview or complete other forms
  • Write using active words and I/Me statements
  • Put a positive emphasis on your experiences


  • Leave any sections blank
  • Write illegibly or cross things out
  • Fail to research the employer and the type of work for which you are applying
  • Leave gaps in your employment/study record
  • Misspell words

Step 4: Note that a standard application form is an opportunity for each students to promote their achievements, experiences, and skills. Your aim should be to make connections between what you have done (at school or in other jobs) and the employer’s description of their ideal applicant. You should provide examples of how you have used certain skills in a way that comes alive to the reader of the application. Briefly discuss appropriate ways to request an application in person or on the phone.

Step 5: Display the Job Acquisition Descriptions Chart and select an imaginary job (A, B, or C) for which you will be applying. Instruct them to complete the application using the experience, skills and education listed on the chart. You will be using this application during their mock interview process.

Distribute the blank application and Interview Questions a few days before the mock interview, allowing students (if group study) time to complete the application and practice their responses to the interview questions. Encourage the team to dress appropriately for the interview and bring their career portfolio, resume, application, and Interview Questions printable to the interview.

Step 1: Begin the mock interview by having the team quietly journal their responses to any of the five prompts listed above. When finished, discuss team responses and appropriate ways to share these responses in an interview setting. Share with the team that they will be practicing the interview process by participating in a mock interview.

Step 2: Ask students to find a partner. Each will portray an interviewer and interviewee and ask questions from their Interview Questions printable. Each team member must have their completed application, resume, career portfolio, and Interview Questions printable available. Allow time for each student or team member to role-play.

Step 3: Close the lesson by asking for volunteers to be interviewed by you in front of an audience. Allow the audience to provide positive feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Supporting All Learners

Using paired settings during the mock interview encourages all students or team members to practice in a less anxious environment.

Lesson Extensions

Encourage students or team member to compose a follow up letter to the interviewer using a word
processor. The letter should be neat, organized, grammatically correct, contain no misspellings, and be written in business format. The students should thank the employer for the interview, restate their qualifications, list their phone number and the times they may be contacted, write an appropriate closing, and sign the letter in longhand.

Conduct a Mock Interview using business representatives from the community.


  1. Complete a job application.
  2. Write a journal entry.
  3. Participate in a mock interview.


Do students or team members understand interview etiquette? Do they feel equipped to complete a resume, a job application, and participate in an interview using their career portfolio?

Assess Students or team members thru peer review

Note how the students or each team member perform in the mock interview.
Written Outcome: Evaluate the completed job application.



Not getting any interviews or job offers?

If you’re not getting any interviews, then there might be a problem with your resume or cover letter. Below are some common problems and how to address them:

  • You aren’t tailoring your resume to EACH job ad. Show each prospective employer why you’re the perfect person for the job. If your skills or experiences aren’t an obvious match, you need to connect the dots for the employer.
  • Your cover letter or resume are poorly written or have typos. Have a friend or relative who is a good writer look over your materials. A fresh eye may catch errors you missed.
  • You have gaps in your employment history. Consider using a functional format resume instead of a chronological one to highlight skills and accomplishments rather than job history.
  • You aren’t selling yourself well. You need to communicate what’s special and unique about what you have to offer. If you’re not sure where to start, try taking a skills assessment.
  • You aren’t using the right keywords. Many online job banks use a keyword matching system to match resumes to job openings. Good keywords can be found in the job ad or position description. Use these to describe your skills, experience, and education.

Are you getting interviews but no job offers? Something might be going wrong in the interview process:

  • You don’t know enough about an employer. Researching the employer is an important step in applying for any job. It’s best to do it before you apply, but you really need to do it before an interview. Your research will help you be better prepared for the interview questions.

  • Your interviewing skills are falling flat. Review the interview tips to prepare for the interview and practice answering common interview questions.  It may also help to do a mock interview with a friend or family member.

  • You’re sending the wrong message. Even when you’re not speaking, you’re sending a message. How you walk, your posture, eye contact, and how you dress all say something about how you feel and what you are thinking.

  • You’re saying negative things about your past employer. An interview is not the time to do this. Unless you can show how you turned a negative situation into a positive one, potential employers will think less of you.

  • You’re pricing yourself out of the job. Employers will ask about your salary requirement or your previous salary. If you name a salary that’s too high, they may no longer consider you for the job. Too low, and you may end up working for far less than what the employer might have paid you.

Interview Tips

Interviews are your chance to sell your skills and abilities.

They also help you find out if the job and company are right for you. Use the following tips to ace your interviews:


Review common interview questions. Practice answering them with someone else or in front of a mirror. Come prepared with stories that relate to the skills that the employer wants, while emphasizing your:

  • strengths
  • willingness to work and flexibility
  • leadership skills
  • ability and willingness to learn new things
  • contributions to the organizations in which you have worked or volunteered
  • creativity in solving problems and working with people

Figure out in advance how well you qualify for the job. For each requirement listed in the job posting, write down your qualifications. This can show you if you lack a particular skill. Plan how you will address this in the interview so you can convince the interviewer that you can learn the skill.

List Questions to Ask at the Interview

Pick questions that will demonstrate your interest in the job and the company. This might include commenting on the news you learned from the company website, and then asking a question related to it. Also ask questions about the job you will be expected to perform, like:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • How will my responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • What computer equipment and software do you use?
  • What is the organization’s plan for the next five years?

Be Prepared

Remember to bring important items to the interview:

  • Notebook and pens
  • Extra copies of your resume and a list of references
  • Copies of letter(s) of recommendation, licenses, transcripts, etc.
  • Portfolio of work samples

On the day of the interview, remember to:

  • Plan your schedule so you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
  • Go by yourself.
  • Look professional. Dress in a manner appropriate to the job.
  • Leave your MP3 player, coffee, soda, or backpack at home or in your car.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Bring your sense of humor and SMILE!

Be Confident

Display confidence during the interview. Be confident, but let the interviewer start the dialogue. Send a positive message with your body language.

  • Shake hands firmly, but only if a hand is offered to you first.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Listen carefully. Welcome all questions, even the difficult ones, with a smile.
  • Give honest, direct answers.
  • Develop answers in your head before you respond. If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified. You don’t have to rush, but you don’t want to appear indecisive.