Finding a Job

There are a number of ways to find job opportunities.  The most common is to look in the local newspaper’s ‘Help Wanted’ section.  However, many job opening never appear in the paper.  People get these jobs by talking directly with the employer or by word of mouth (knowing someone who knows about a job opening).  The key in both of these cases is that others need to know you are looking for work.   These methods are most common when employers hire for entry-level and high turn-over positions.  While you should consistently scan the paper daily for additional job leads, while in this program you will be visiting local employers as asking them for a job.

BD10511_Selling Yourself

When you are out job searching, there are others out there looking for the same job.  You want to be the one the employer will choose.  In order to make this happen, you need to sell yourself.  You should approach a job opportunity by dressing appropriately, showing a good attitude, and being positive.

Asking for a Job

Sometimes first impressions will help you get a job.  When you first enter the employer’s premises, ask to speak with the manager or someone who is in charge of hiring.

If you know there is an opening:

If a manager is available, tell them you are interested in the job.  Make sure you get their name; the easiest way is to shake their hand and say, “Hi, my name is __________” in most cases they will give you their name at this point.  If they do not, continue by saying, “I am here for the dishwashing job” (or whatever the opening is).  If you are unsure of what the duties of the job are, ask questions and show you are interested.  Tell them you are available to start immediately and ask them for the job.  You will probably be given an application but it can’t hurt to ask, and it shows you are eager to work for them.  Be prepared to fill it out immediately and ask for an interview.  Remember – be persistent but polite.  Use your common sense, if the manager is obviously busy or they seem preoccupied; ask if you can complete your application at home and return later to speak with them.  If you still do not know their name ask and remember it so you can ask for them by name next time.

If you do not know if there is an opening:

If a manager is available, ask if you can speak with them.  Make sure you get their name; the easiest way is to shake their hand and say, “Hi, my name is __________” in most cases they will give you their name at this point.  If they do not, continue by saying, “I am here looking for work, do you have any openings?”  If they have appropriate openings ask them for the job.  If they do not have a current opening, ask if you can fill out an application so you can be considered for a future opening.  Be prepared to fill it out immediately.  Ask when you should check back and remember what they said.  If they are likely to have openings soon, check back weekly or more often if they ask.

If a manager is not available:

Ask if the employee knows of any openings, if they do, ask for an application and a time when the manager will be available.  Complete the application and return to meet with the manager and hand them your application.  If there are no applications available or the employee is unsure of potential openings, ask for the managers name and a when you could come back to speak with the manager about job openings.  Make a note of the manager’s name as well as the name of the person you spoke with.  Check back when the manager will be available.

Getting the Job

Entry-level Jobs

Until you get some job experience, you will be interviewing for an entry-level position.  You are not expected to have a lot of knowledge, special skills or experience but you will be expected to have a good work ethic, and a good attitude which means:

·         Show up on time everyday you are scheduled

·         Be ready to work when your shift starts

·         Give as much notice as possible if you are sick

·         Perform your assigned tasks

·         Keep a positive attitude

·         Interact appropriately with your coworkers.

Previous Experience

If you have worked before and done a good job, you have marketable experience, make sure a potential employer knows that.  Even if you have not had a paid job before you probably have some skills from your past that could help you get a job.  Think about what things you have done in the past that shows you have special skills or talents.  Be positive but honest; don’t exaggerate your skills or experience.

j0196298Filling out an Application

Most every job requires you to fill out a Job Application before you start working.  This tells them about you, your age, where you live, what job you are applying for and many other things.  It is important that you fill this out neatly, correctly, and completely.  This paperwork will probably be what they look at when they decide who to interview.  It is important to make a good impression.

While every application will be slightly different and may ask for different things, they all ask for the same basic information.  Read the directions carefully (if there are any) and then read through the entire application before you fill out anything.  Then start from the top and answer each question to the best of your ability.

·         Make a copy of the application so you have a practice sheet.

·         Use blue or black ink only.

·         Read each section carefully.

·         If you have previous experience, list your last job first.

·         Fill in all blanks.  If they do not apply write “N/A” or a dash ( -- ).

·         Make sure you turn each page over and fill out each section completely.

·         When asked about salary, write ‘open’.

·         Make sure to include your telephone number.

Interview Preparation

Before the Interview

When you have an interview scheduled, it means that the employer is interested in finding out more about you.  The employer already likely has your completed application and/or resume and so they want to talk with you about why you are the one for the job.  Hopefully you know a little bit about what the job opening is so you can ask good questions.

Interview preparation is critical to a successful interview.

  1. Gather Information - Ask staff about the employer and what you should know before going for the interview
  2. Prepare your Answers - Read the list of frequently asked questions below and be prepared to answer them.  DO NOT rely on your ability to “wing it” in this situation.
  3. Sweat the Details - Know exactly where the interview will take place, and how long it will take you to arrive at the appointed time. Prepare for any possible delays.
  4. Dress Appropriately - A professional and well-groomed appearance is critical. It is often a good idea to keep your dress conservative. Ask staff for suggestions BEFORE you need to leave.

At the Interview

  1. Arrive early - 5 to 10 minutes are sufficient.
  2. Express a positive and enthusiastic attitude.
  3. BD07170_Remember your body language. The manner in which you carry yourself can leave either a positive or negative impression. Sit straight, but comfortably. Don’t be afraid to lean forward and show interest. Make eye contact with the interviewer whenever you can.
  4. Show confidence, without arrogance. You should be selling yourself and your background as an excellent fit for the position, but DO NOT boast or brag excessively. Remember that confidence is impressive, but cockiness is annoying.
  5. Speak positively about past and current employers. You do not want to appear negative towards management.
  6. Go alone. Do not bring a friend. Serious applicants don’t arrive with an entourage!
  7. A firm handshake is still important!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are your strengths? Provide the interviewer an example of one or two strengths, and provide concrete examples of how it affected your work in a positive way. Stay away from identifying standard characteristics without examples (i.e. "I’m detail-oriented, I’m a hard worker, etc.")
  2. Why are you interested in working here? This is a good opportunity to show that you’ve researched the company, and that you had been impressed by their reputation, growth-track, and so forth. Show interest in the job responsibilities of the position available, as opposed to what you hope the position will lead to next. Stay away from answers like "well, it’s more money," or "it’s an easier commute for me." The interviewer may think you’ll leave their company for similar reasons.
  3. What is your biggest weakness? Be honest but focus on things that are not critical for the job you will be performing.
  4. BS01705_Why are you leaving your current position? Never criticize a current or former employer. In fact, show appreciation to them for the opportunities they gave you.
  5. What has been your best accomplishment? As part of your preparation, you should have an example ready. Have you ever saved your employer significant amounts of time or money? What have you done that you may be remembered for in a positive way? Show the interviewer how valuable you can be!

You should answer these questions for yourself BEFORE you go to the interview.  As always, it is important that you be positive but honest.

In Conclusion

  1. Show a positive attitude and interest in the job.
  2. Ask when the employer will be making a decision.
  3. Let the employer know you want the job – ASK FOR IT.

Documenting Your Efforts

Meeting Program Standards

A major portion of the program is the work component.  Unless you have a modified program, everyone is expected to work at least 24-hours per week or actively seeking employment.  After meeting with the employment specialist, you will be given a job search sheet and begin the process of looking for work.  In order to track your progress in this area, you will be required to document your job searching activities.  The method we use for that is the Job Search Sheet.  An example on the next page shows how to fill this out appropriately.

You are expected to do a job search Monday – Friday unless you are excused by the staff on duty.  You should be ready to job search by 10:00am each week day and prepared to make at least 10 job contacts.  If you will be working during that time, or attending the on-site school reschedule your job search with the staff on duty before 10:00am.

In general your first job searches will be structured and the locations on the Job Search Sheet will be pre-fille out for you.  Once you have done a good job on these structured job searches you will hae an opportunity to design your own.



Name:  _____________________________________________     Date:  ____________________                          


Instructions:            · Take this form with you.                                                    ·  Bring a pen.

                              ·  Fill it out as you go with names & times.                           ·  You must visit at least 10 employers. 

                              ·  Be ready to fill out applications at the site.                        ·  Be polite but persistent.


Text Box: Along with the Name of the Business, this is the most important information on the worksheet.  With this you and staff are able to follow up on your application.

Text Box: List any information such as when the manager will return, job openings, interview times etc.Remember – ask for a job, not an application

Text Box: This column allows us to document your time away from the program
Text Box: Circle ‘Y’ if you turned in a completed application or had an interview.


Name of Business


Name of Manager/

Name of Contact Person

Comments / Follow up Information

Turned in App.



Dollar Store


Pamela - Manager

Not hiring

Y / N

Y / N




Rick - Supervisor

May need a stocker in a few weeks

Y / N

Y / N




Mary – Manager

Spoke with Anne

See Mary today at 4:00pm

Y / N

Y / N




Hank – Supervisor

Spoke with Angel

Hank out until Monday

Y / N

Y / N


Davis Cabinets


Rick - Owner

Check back Friday

Y / N

Y / N




Greg - Supervisor

Will call if needed

Y / N

Y / N


Eagle Veneer


Greg – Crew Leader

Picked up application

Y / N

Y / N


Abby’s Pizza


Macy - Supervisor

Picked up application

Y / N

Y / N


Fast Gas


Jose - Manager

Not hiring

Y / N

Y / N


Viking Inn


Kathy – Manager

Spoke with Thelma

Picked up application

Y / N

Y / N




Text Box: You should have 1 or 2 places extra in case some of your other places are not open or you cannot make contact etc.

Y / N

Y / N


Windshield Magic



Y / N

Y / N




































Staff Comments:


Text Box: Staff will use this area to give you feed back about how you are doing and what areas you may need improvement in. 



Staff Signature:__________________________________________

Text Box: Use the example above to see what information should be recorded on this form. 






Employment Mod 1 – Worksheet

1.     What are two ways of finding a job other than looking in the ‘help wanted’ section in the paper?  ______________________

2.     Why is it important to ‘sell yourself’ when you are looking for a job?  ________________________


3.     Although you don’t need work experience for an entry-level job what are you expected to have?


4.   It is important that you fill out an application _________________, ______________________, and


5.   List the four things you should do to prepare for the interview>

1.   _____________________________________     3.  ______________________________________

      2.   _____________________________________     4.  ______________________________________

4.     List seven things to remember during your interview:

1.   _____________________________________     5.  ______________________________________

      2.   _____________________________________     6.  ______________________________________

3.   _____________________________________     7.  ______________________________________

5.     _____________________________________    

5.   Choose one of these job opportunities and answer the flowing questions commonly asked during interview.   Circle which job you are interviewing for.

      Job #1 – laborer position for Star Landscaping

      Job #2 – dishwashing position for Viking Inn Restaurant

      What are your strengths?  ____________________________________________________________


      Why do you want to work here?  _______________________________________________________


      What is your biggest weakness?  ______________________________________________________


      What has been your best accomplishment?  _____________________________________________