January-March 2013

Dress For the Job You Want

By Jacqueline S. Armstrong,
Senior Employment Specialist

When you go to a job interview, you will be judged on your appearance. And in that process, there are no second chances to make a good first impression!

It is important to dress for the position you are applying for. If you were trying out for a baseball team, you wouldn't show up wearing hockey skates! The same is true for a job interview. Showing up with the right gear, for the right game, will help you get a try–out!

Here are some items to include in your interview wardrobe: a crisp white shirt or blouse, basic black suit, conservative tie, clean black leather shoes (no tennis shoes) and limited jewelry. Take care not to wear strong cologne to the interview–you don't want to offend the recruiter if they have certain allergies.

The culture and trends today are more relaxed for some industries. Make sure you do your research to know the culture of your prospective employer. Observe what the people in the company are wearing and then dress in a way that mirrors the company image.

If you have limited resources to build your interview wardrobe, keep in mind that your local Goodwill store has quality suits, pants, skirts, ties and blouses at great prices! Looking your best doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

In the 15+ years that I have been an Employment Specialist, I have never had a student come back to me saying they didn't get a job because they were overdressed. So go to your next job interview looking your best–you'll definitely make a good impression.

Good Luck!

 


 

Water Cooler Conversations- What Not To Say

By Toni Emerson,
Employment Specialist

What's a water cooler conversation? It's a casual conversation you might have anywhere at work. You might be on a break, at lunch with a co–worker or meeting a co–worker after work. Even though these conversations are casual and friendly, it is important to be careful with the things you choose to say. What you talk about affects what your co–workers, especially your boss and team members, think about you.

Let's talk about what conversations you should steer clear of:

Gossip

Working together in a close environment encourages people to talk about the workplace and fellow employees. Stop yourself from discussing things that you haven't checked out in advance. Talking behind someone's back is a dangerous habit to develop. Never repeat anything negative about your co–workers, supervisor or the workplace.

Complaints

Complaining about your work reflects negatively on you and others. Plus, it does not solve the problem. Distancing yourself from negativity will help you feel happier and will encourage a positive relationship with your co–workers. If you notice something that you would like to change at work, don't complain. Instead, come up with a solution and present it to your supervisor.

Politics and Religion

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion and way of life. The best rule of thumb is to keep your beliefs to yourself. Expressing strong beliefs might turn people off and cause your co–workers to avoid you. It is also important to be flexible and open to all of your co–workers, and to respect their beliefs.

Having a job means that you spend 20–40 hours a week at your workplace with other people. Personal conversations will happen. Aim for positive talks that encourage teamwork and make people want to work with you.

 


 

Youth Challenges

By Rob Jones,
Youth Program Coordinator

The great African American educator, Booker T. Washington, once said, "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the challenges overcome while trying to succeed." We know that when youth learn to overcome challenges, they develop initiative, which is an important characteristic of how we successfully pursue goals.

As youth participate in activities of their own choosing, it is important that these activities take place in environments that mirror the real world, with similar rules, challenges and complexities. It is important that youth face intellectual, interpersonal and intrapersonal challenges. Away from the influence of others, they must have opportunities to think critically about themselves and the world, learn to get along with peers and adults, and reflect on their progress. These valuable experiences help youth learn to overcome challenges.

Youth must also learn to sustain activities over time, despite the challenges. Rather than doing a lot of different things, it is more helpful to focus on a few activities for longer periods of time, a practice which teaches perseverance. Often, the greatest learning comes from the most difficult circumstances. Knowing that they can overcome obstacles, learn from struggle, and benefit from mistakes sets a foundation for future success.

 


 

Not Just a Job:
Discover your Career!

By Monica Cheng, MAEd,
College Navigator

As a Goodwill student, you are gaining valuable skills that will help you obtain your next job. But once you have a job, why stop there? Starting a new job is the perfect time to think about the big picture—how can I take the next step in my career?

Consider this: in five years, most jobs in Washington that pay enough to support someone will require a certificate or degree. You might think you don't have time for college, but did you know that 60% or more of community college students work and go to school part–time? You are not alone!

Plus, a four–year degree is not always necessary. Community Colleges offer certificate programs and two–year degrees which can get you on a career pathway to a better paying job more quickly.

Career pathways show what is possible in a career field as you get more education. Here is an example: if you work as a caregiver, you may earn $9–12 an hour. After finishing a three–month Nursing Assistant program at a community college, you can earn $10–14 an hour. With some more education, you can earn a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate and get a job paying $17–$22 an hour. Finally, with a little more education, you can get a Registered Nurse degree and a job paying $25–$36 an hour! This is one example of how education is a great investment in your future.

Choosing a career pathway is not easy. Besides pay, consider these things as you make this important decision:

  • How much time do you have for school?
  • What support do you need to succeed in school?
  • What are your interests and skills?
  • What jobs are available after you graduate?

Remember to ask questions and get help—Goodwill staff members are here to help you find an exciting career!

 
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