define('WP_CACHE', true); Blog Posts Archives -

Helping you get a job and keep that job


The Real Purpose of a Job Interview

Photo Jun 08, 2 05 27 PMJob interviews can be very intimidating. You have no idea what the situation will be like. Who will be interviewing you? Will they be nice? Where will the interview take place? WHAT QUESTIONS ARE THEY GOING TO ASK ME?!

To get this job, you need to make sure you answer every question perfectly, right? Nope! You don’t have to answer every question perfectly and in this blog post, I’m going to tell you the real purpose of an interview.

When an employer interviews you, they want to learn about you.

  • They want to get to know your personality.  Customer service is extremely important to businesses.  Good customer service is what keeps people coming through their doors.  A hiring manager is looking for someone that is friendly and will provide their customers good customer service.  You are auditioning your customer service skills in that interview.
  • They want to learn about your abilities.  You have developed work skills through your previous work or volunteer experiences.  The interviewer wants to know what you’re good at!  If you want it to be a successful interview, be prepared to tell them what your abilities are.
  • They want to learn about your work experience.  In addition to wanting to know about the abilities you’ve developed through those experiences, they also want to know where/when you had those work experiences.  This communicates to the interviewer how successful you have been in the past.  This is a great opportunity to share previous supervisors as references.
  • They want to learn what your motivation level is.  If you are prepared and engaging during the interview, you’re showing the interviewer that you want this job, and most likely, you’ll be a motivated employee.

When you are interviewed, you get to learn about them.

  • In the interview, you will learn the business’ personality.  The interviewer will probably tell you what is important to their business.  If they don’t, this is something you could ask when they give you the opportunity to ask them questions.  What is the business’ vision statement?  Why are they in business?  In this interview, you will be able to determine if their vision is something you would like to be a part of.
  • You will have the opportunity to learn what their needs are.  In the interview, you will learn what positions are open.  You will learn what shifts they need to fill.  Once you know what the needs are of the business you can 1) determine if those needs match your skills and 2) try to convince the employer that YOU are the solution to their needs.

When you have an interview, it might feel you’re on trial and under a microscope, but in reality, a job interview helps businesses and job-seekers find the right match for their needs. You are learning as much about the business as they’re learning about you.  A job interview is a two-way street.


4 Ways to Gain Work Experience Over the Summer

Photo Jun 05, 12 22 12 PMMany students use their summer breaks to gain work experience. Whether you’re 16 and old enough to get a “regular” job or if you’re under 16 and just looking for experience to put on your resume and applications when it comes time to try to find a job, summer offers you the flexibility in your schedule to get that work experience, and make a few bucks while you’re at it.

If you would like to gain work experience over the summer, here are some options:


If you watch or listen to The QC STEP Podcast, you know that I always encourage students to do volunteer work. Volunteer work can help you in many ways.

  • Volunteer work gives you something productive to do with your free time.
  • Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to build your work skills and learn tasks that will make you more employable.
  • Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to network and make connections with people that might be able to help you find a job when you’re ready.
  • Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to make a positive difference in your community.
  • Potential future employers will see this volunteer experience and be impressed that you were willing to work for free to give back to your community.

If you are in our STEP Program, I’d suggest checking with the Davenport Volunteer Connection for volunteering opportunities.

Detassel Corn

If you’re under 16 years old, you’re probably thinking you need to wait to find your first “real” job.  Well, you can earn a paycheck if you’re as young as 14 by detasseling.  Here are some ways that detasseling can be beneficial for your short-term and long-term employment.

  • Detasseling corn is HARD work.  If you really want to impress potential future employers, detassel for a summer.
  • Detasseling corn pays well.  You will have a hard time finding a part-time summer job that pays better than detasseling.  There’s usually bonuses for not missing days and finishing the season, too.
  • Like all employment, this is a great way to network.  Detasseling supervisors typically have other employment and if you can impress them, they may be able to help you find a job.
  • Did I mention?  The pay is GREAT!

Detasseling is a great summer job.  It’s typically a pretty short “season”, maybe about four weeks long.  I mentioned there’s usually bonuses for finishing the season.  There’s also typically bonuses returning the next summer.  After a few summers, you can also move into positions of leadership, which is also great for your resume.

If you’re not sure what detasseling is, watch this video.

Lawn Care

Lawn care is a job that a teenager can do if you’re too young for a “regular” job or if even if you are working.  If you have neighbors, you probably have someone near you that would be willing to pay you to mow and trim their lawn.  Elderly people and working people with busy schedules would be the place to start if you plan to sell your lawn care services.

  • Lawn care allows you to set your own hours. If you have other commitments, lawn care is a great summer job because you can work it into your schedule.
  • By doing lawn care, you can be your own boss. Lawn care will help you develop your time management and task management skills.  It will also help you develop customer service skills.  I’m guessing there are lots of successful entrepreneurs that started their career paths by being their own bosses through things like lawn care.

Lawn care isn’t just limited to mowing lawns, though.  It could mean cleaning gutters, organizing garages and yard construction projects.


If lawn care and outside work aren’t your thing, there’s another kind of beginner entrepreneurship – babysitting.  Babysitting can offer the same things as lawn care, but also:

  • Through babysitting, you can develop some great employment skills such as: responsibility, working under pressure, time management, etc.
  • If you choose to babysit, you can start small and grow your business by doing a good job and having people refer you to their friends.
  • Babysitting can be fun.  Sure, there are responsibilities and work to be done, but you can get paid to read to kids, play outside with kids and maybe even play video games with kids.

These are just four opportunities to gain work experience (and money) over the summer.  It’s tempting to sit around in the air-conditioning and play video games all day, but you can help shape your career path in a positive way by gaining work experience over the summer.



Relay for Life Volunteering Opportunities
September 13 & 14, 2014

Photo Sep 11, 7 31 14 AM
In May, right at the end of the last school year, I wrote a blog post about finding volunteer work over the summer.

I had recently met with Alisha from Davenport Volunteer Connection and shared with you how to use their program to get connected with organizations that had volunteering opportunities. Davenport Volunteer Connection is a great resource if you’d like to do volunteer work.

Volunteering at an event or for an organization can benefit your whether you are under 16 years old, over 16 years old, currently working a job or not working a job.

You probably find yourself in one of these categories and here’s the reasons you can benefit from volunteering:

Why you should volunteer if you are under 16 years old:

Gaining work experience can be a little difficult if you’re under 16 years old. It’s important to get experience though, that way when you fill out applications for your first job, you have something to write in the “Employment History” section. A completely blank application isn’t going to impress anyone.

Why you should volunteer if you are over 16 years old and not working a job:

If you are applying for jobs, doing volunteer work not only pads your resume and application, but it also shows that you have a good work ethic. It shows that you are willing to give up your time to help others.

Why you should volunteer if you are over 16 years old and working a job:

Even if you are employed, volunteering can benefit your career path. What a better way to demonstrate to your future employers that you have a great work ethic and a desire to help your community than doing volunteer work while you are already employed?

You may not necessarily need the work experience for future applications, but volunteer work shows that you want to help others in your community. All employers want to hire people that naturally want to help others.

If I have sold you on the benefits of volunteering, Davenport Volunteer Connection recently tweeted to our @QCSTEP Twitter account to let us know of volunteering opportunities at the Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

This event has many volunteering opportunities that are specifically identified as ideal for teenagers. To see the list of volunteering opportunities and what slots need to be filled, go to this page: Relay For Life .