Martha:I think it's time we started thinking about our future and making decisions about what we want to do when we finish this course.
John:Oh, Martha, you're always so serious! We still have two months before we take our final exams.
Martha:I know, but you can't just suddenly wake up the day you finish college and find a job. You need to plan.
John:You're right, of course. But where do we start? The course we're taking is General Business and there are so many choices like Human Resources, Sales, Marketing, Finance, and so on. And I'm not even sure what I'm interested in.
Martha:Yes, I know. There's a lot to think about, but maybe we can start by thinking about our specific interests in Business. For example, I think that you should go into Marketing.
John:I've thought about that too, but I'm not sure. I suppose we should think about our different strengths and weaknesses in each area. A job in Human Resources or Management would probably suit you. You are bossy—you just love telling people what to do!
Martha:Hey, that's not true. It's just that I like organizing people and I think I'm pretty good at it.
John:Well, build on your strengths. I think we should also have a look at some ads and find out what kinds of jobs are out there in the real world.
Martha:Okay. Let's buy the newspaper every day this week and look at job ads in Business. We could also go to some companies and find out what skills and qualifications are needed for each department.
John:Good plan. I think maybe we should go see our college counselor too. She may have some useful advice for us.
Martha:Let's do that. I'll call her office tomorrow and see when we can get an appointment. I'll arrange for both of us to see her.
John: Great! I've got to hurry. I have a class in ten minutes. Bye.
Martha:Okay. See you later.
Martha:Good morning. Can I speak to Mrs. Mills, please?
PA:May I ask who is calling?
Martha:My name is Martha Willis. I'm a student at the
PA:I'm afraid Mrs. Mills is in a meeting right now. Can I ask
why you are calling?
Martha:I need some advice on finding a job. Can I make an
appointment to see her?
PA:Yes. When would you like to come in?
Martha:On Thursday afternoon if she is free.
PA:Let me check. Yes, that should be alright. Is three o'clock okay for you?
Martha:Yes, it is.
PA:Fine. So, that's three o'clock on Thursday the 15th. Martha: Yes. Thank you. Oh, and can you also include my friend John Jones?
PA:Yes, that's no problem. See you on Thursday.
Martha:Thank you. Good-bye.
Mrs. Mills:Good afternoon, Martha and John. It's good to find students who are thinking about how to get a job. Basically, it's a process and certain steps need to be followed. I'll take you through the most important ones. But before we even begin we need to focus your search by matching your interests with your skills, abilities, personality, training, and qualifications.Now, I see from your files here that you are both taking genera! Business courses and will graduate in June. The field of Business is very broad, so we need to think of your particular strengths and what you do and do not enjoy doing.For example, if either of you likes working with and helping other people you would probably do well with a career in Human Resources. The responsibility of the Human Resources employee is to match the person to the position. Recruitment is done either externally when a new employee is brought into the company or internally from within the company, which might involve relocation or promotion. The HR department also looks after staff development, welfare, and motivation. In other words, here you try to keep everyone happy. Now if that's not you and you think you would enjoy the more aggressive side of the business world, there is sales and marketing. There the focus is the customer and how to get him or her to buy and for this kind of job you need to be tough. And, of course, if you like precision and attention to detail, there is the world of finance. This kind of job includes the many aspects of calculating expenses, profits, revenue, and of course, investment.You are going to have to give this some thought and not only think about the jobs themselves, but the kinds of companies where you can work, which will make these jobs vary.In the meantime, I can get you started on the form-filling, CV writing, and tips for interviewing. So shall we begin?
Martha:John, remember Mrs. Mills talked about strengths and weaknesses. I've seen those on the application forms and find it really hard to look at myself objectively and decide what my strengths and weaknesses are.
John:I know, my brother said it's a matter of finding the balance between selling yourself and what you are good at, but not making yourself sound perfect. In other words, you need to be a bit critical of yourself without overdoing it. OK, so let's think and help each other out.
Martha:Well, John, I think you are really good at networking. You have a way with people and making contacts that I think would be very good in sales and marketing.
John:Wow, thanks, Martha. As for you, I think your skills are organizational. You are very good at planning and seeing things through. This is definitely one of my weak areas. I think I'm just a bit lazy about getting myself moving.
Martha:Well, John, I don't think it's a good idea to tell a prospective employer that you're lazy. You can't completely hide the negative, but you need to put it in a more positive way. How about saying that you might be considered a bit disorganized, but that's because you focus on the communication side of the task and you're working on your organizational skills. As for myself, I could say that some people might say that I'm impatient, but this may be because I have a lot of drive and enthusiasm to get the job done. I still organize myself and check everything as I go along.
HR Manager:Your resume is a very important document and with your application form and cover letter it's the employer's first introduction to you, and the measure of your suitability for the job. Remember that employers receive a lot of applications, so you have to make all your documents as readable and as user-friendly as possible. The layout of your resume should be in a simple font, 11 or 12 point in Times New Roman or Arial script. Your contact details should be up-to-date and the e-mail address serious and not too much of an attention-grabber. We generally advise people not to include age and marital status because some people object to being asked these questions. Likewise, you don't have to include information about your religion though sometimes this question may appear on the application form. It's advisable to include all information about your work experience, including temporary and part-time jobs since this will give the employer some insight into your background in dealing with customers and working as part of a team. Of course, give all relevant information about your education and include details on your involvement in sports and volunteer work, too, because this shows your personality. You should read the job ad carefully and follow the instructions given there. And make sure that you get approval from your references before including their names on your resume. Any questions?
Manager:Jane, what was your overall impression of the applicants?
Jane:I was impressed with both, but for very different reasons.
Manager:Yes, I agree. Applicant 1 has quite a lot of experience—overall 20 years, but is a little short in academic qualifications.
Jane:Yes, that's true whereas Applicant 2 has an M.A. in HR, and a very recent one, as well as a General Business degree. It's very important to have up-to-date theoretical knowledge.
Manager:You're right about that, but on the experience side don't you think she's a little weak?
Jane:Of course, but she's worked at that mortgage company, which has given her some experience on the financial side of things whereas Applicant 1 has had more experience, but in more general situations.
Manager:True, but look at the wide range of responsibilities he's had in very important HR areas at management levels.
Jane:But we're looking for someone who's a team player and that's probably easier for a person who's new in the workplace. I wonder about the flexibility of a person who's been in management for so long.
Manager:Let's invite them both for an interview and keep these questions in mind as we're interviewing.
Jane:Good plan. I'll call them and make arrangements.
John:Can I send an e-mail instead of a cover letter with my application?
Teacher:Yes, of course, if an e-mail address is included in the ad.
Martha:I know we use e-mail all the time with chat to each other, but can I use it in the same way for business communication?
Teacher:No, definitely not. There are certain rules you have to follow—we call it email etiquette and it's important that you follow all the conventions.
Martha:Sometimes we don't use an opening greeting in our e-mails. Is that OK for business e-mail?
Teacher:You should always open with a greeting and end with a final salutation. When you don't know the person, use the same opening as you would for a letter, that is. Dear so and so ... Make sure you add your signature at the end. If you're sending an e-mail to a colleague or friend you can just use the person's name.
John:What about length? I don't like reading from the computer screen and I hate it when I get a long e-mail.
Teacher: I think most of us feel like you, John. It's good to stick to one page—no more than a letter-sized page if printed out. You should use paragraphs as well. When you look at the cover letter you see it's divided into paragraphs—you should do the same on the e-mail.
John:Can I depend on the computer to do the spell-check and grammar-check?
Teacher:No, not really because, as you know, that feature is not always available on the e-mail program so make sure you check and edit it yourself. Remember also that it's OK to add gimmicky things like smiley faces when e-mailing friends and family, but never in a business e-mail.
Speaker:Knowing how to prepare and behave is one of the keys to a successful interview. First impressions are based on appearance, so it is very important to pay attention to how you dress. Wear clothes that are fashionable, but appropriate and never show up for an interview in flashy loud clothing. This gives a very poor impression and possibly causes interviewers not to take you seriously. Remember, before you go to the interview find out all you can about the company and do your homework. Then when you go inside you can relax and be natural. Wait for the interviewer to invite you to sit down and be formal and polite in your opening greeting. Never say anything negative about a past employer even if you have had unpleasant experiences in your last job. Don't be afraid to keep eye contact with your interviewers and try to avoid giving short answers to questions. You can direct the flow of the interview by developing your answers.
Interviewer:Have you checked out our company on the Net? Interviewee:Yeah, there's a lot of stuff out there. Interviewer:Were you impressed with what you read? Interviewee:Yep, sounds pretty good. Interviewer:Are you interested in working for us? Interviewee:Yeah, I think so. '
Interviewer:What appeals to you about working for a company like ours?
Interviewee:Well, from what I have researched I think working with your company would be very challenging and would also give me the opportunity to learn and interact with experts in myfield.
Interviewer:What kind of asset do you feel you would be to the company?
Interviewee:Well apart from the qualifications and experience that I have, I also feel that I am a highly motivated person who is capable of working in a team or alone.
Interviewer:So, you're interested in joining our company.
Interviewee:Yes, that's right.
Interviewer:Do you know anyone who works in the company at the moment?
Interviewee:Yes, I have a couple of friends who are working here. Interviewer: And what have they told you about the company?
Interviewee:That you are all very nice and helpful.