Help wanted for job seekers

“Help wanted” should not just be a sign on businesses looking for new employees.  Many job seekers need help, according to a 2012 study and people who responded to my recent column expressing compassion and concern for applicants.  Some who wrote had wise suggestions.  We, families and schools, should do more to help people understand how to apply for a job.

One person sent me a Bellevue University study of more than 1,600 U.S. adults.  “Nearly 40 percent of adults … said they’re not where they wanted to be in life.”  More than 30 percent thought they would “have achieved more by now.”

Greg Meece, director of Newark Charter School in Delaware, responded,  “I couldn’t agree with you more.  I receive hundreds of teacher application letters each year.  Even teachers have few skills in how to best present themselves in print …”

He added, “So, we started teaching these skills in our seventh grade business ed/technology classes.  It’s exciting to watch as kids, for the first time in their lives, begin to think of themselves as marketable commodities.  When we ask them to write their resumes and they realized they haven’t joined any clubs or done any service projects they start to think about that.  When we tell them they can’t list their moms as references they think of that, too.  In addition to stressing spelling, organization and design of the resume, we also have them produce their own video resume.  There’s still much we can do:  interviewing skills, dressing for success, doing your homework on a job or organization before you submit an application or go on an interview, etc.”

Barry Peterson, who works with young people called the column, “short, sweet, and kind and good.” Please consider helping people present themselves more effectively.

Joe Nathan has spent more than 40 years working with students, schools and families. Reactions welcome, joe@centerforschoolchange.org

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