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Helping you get a job and keep that job


Going From Part-Time to Full-Time – #97

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On this episode of The QC STEP Podcast, we have a topic for those of you that are not yet working and we have an on-the-job topic.

We start things off with a student question. A student from Mercer County High School student asks:

I’d like to go from part-time to full-time. How do I ask my boss about this?”

This is a great question and it allows us to look at many different aspects of full-time employment. We look at what effect a move to full-time employment can have on your school work, family life and social life. I share what you should do before asking about a move to full time employment. It’s important to demonstrate to your boss that you’re deserving of a full-time position. Full time positions cost businesses money through various benefits and a boss is not going to want to move someone into a full-time position unless they value them as an employee. Here’s what you can do to show that you’re deserving a full-time position:

  1. Be at work every day.  Be on time every day.
  2. Do a good job and fulfill all of your job responsibilities.
  3. Go above and beyond what is expected of you.

Once we’ve established how to demonstrate that you’re deserving of a full-time position, it’s time to talk with your boss.  It’s a good idea to have this discussion rehearsed and planned out.  You’ll want to:

  1. Schedule a meeting.
  2. Tell your boss how working for them has made you a better and more knowledgable worker.
  3. Express an interest in a full-time position.
  4. Tell your boss why you think you deserve a full-time position.

We also look at how to handle the situation if you are not offered a full-time position.  I share how to use the rejection as motivation and avoid being discouraged.

If you’re looking for a job, we have a segment of this episode for you.  I recently read a study that said employers prefer to hire the friends and relatives of their employees.  We talk about networking and using your network to find a job frequently here on the podcast.



3 Ways to Ace a Job Interview – #96

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On the last episode of the podcast, we talked about seasonal jobs. Because of the number of job openings this time of year, businesses conduct significantly more interviews and that means that if you apply for jobs, you’re more likely to get an interview.

If job interviews are easier to get this time of year, let’s not let opportunities pass us by. On this episode, we’re giving you three ways to ace a job interview.

We also answer a student question on this episode. A student from Rockridge High School asks a question about using pens on a job applications.


Seasonal Jobs – #95

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On episode #95 of The QC STEP Podcast, we’re talking about seasonal jobs. Although they may be advertised as temporary positions, seasonal jobs are great opportunities for high school students.

In this episode, I explain what seasonal jobs are, why you should apply for them, where you can find them, how seasonal jobs are different than regular jobs and how interviews for seasonal jobs might be different than regular job interviews.

We also have a student question on this episode. A student from Moline High School asks, “How do you inform your boss that you plan to quit because you found a new job?”


“Accepting Applications” – #94

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On this week’s episode of The QC STEP Podcast, we’re talking about the term “Accepting Applications”. If you call a business or stop in to see if they are hiring, you will sometimes get the response, “We are accepting applications.” It’s a bit of a confusing answer. On this episode, we talk about what types of businesses are frequently “accepting applications” and why they take this approach to hiring.

We also talk about what your response to this answer should be, both at the moment and afterwards. We always say on this podcast how important it is to follow up after you apply and interview for a position. It’s even more important when it comes to businesses that say they are accepting applications and on this episode, you’ll learn why.

We have a question from a student at Mercer County High School. This student asks, “What should I do if I would like to become a vet tech?” and “Should I have a job shadow?”

We cover the different resources you can use to determine if your career goals are realistic and what you should do to start preparing yourself for any post-secondary training that might be necessary for that particular career goal.

Retail businesses are already advertising their seasonal openings and I share a statistic I recently read about the amount of time most job seekers spend on their job search.


Employment Goals – #93

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We start this episode off with a student question.  A student from Mercer County High School asks about cash registers and whether or not they do the math to make change.

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to talk about employment goals. On this episode, we’ll cover the following aspects of employment goals:

  • Why is it a good idea to set employment goals?
  • How can you benefit from setting employment goals?
  • What should your employment goals be?
  • What can you do to reach your goals?
  • What should you do if you don’t reach an employment goal?



2015-2016 School Year Intro – #92

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This is the first episode of the 2015-2016 school year and on this episode, I explain what QC STEP and the QC STEP Podcast are all about. Many of you are Juniors and seeing this podcast and hearing about our program for the first time. Some of you are Seniors and this episode will be a refresher for you to remind you of the services STEP provides.


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.



Transitioning from High School to College: A Discussion with Susan Sacco of Black Hawk College

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Susan Sacco is the Disability Services Coordinator for Black Hawk College. In this video, she explains how her department can help students with disabilities transition from high school to college. You will learn how the laws regarding accommodations are different and what types of services you can receive through the Disabilities Services Department.


Using QC STEP Over the Summer – #90

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We wrap up the 2014-2015 school year on this episode of The QC STEP Podcast!

We start things off by answering a few student questions that came in a few weeks ago. One of these questions involves following up after applying for a position and the other is about volunteering. If you’re interested in finding volunteer work opportunities, check out the Davenport Volunteer Connection.

Then, I talk about how you can use our program, the STEP program over summer. Did you know that if you’re part of the STEP Progam, you can use our program to get job leads, assistance with applications, help preparing for interviews and other employment services? It’s true and in this episode, you’ll learn how to take advantage of that.