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Teacher Lesson Return to "How to WOW Employers"
How to WOW Employers
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Job Skills and Attitudes—Reading, Discussion, and Writing

Objectives: Students will:
• Identify the differences between “soft” and “hard” job skills.
• See how a teen displayed the maturity and hard work needed to improve his job prospects.
• Identify what employers look for in job applicants.

Before the lesson: Write these phases of Donald Moore’s educational trajectory on the board. Notice that they are not in chronological order.

1) Hired by Bloomberg LP
2) Starts a four-month classroom program at Year Up
3) Graduates high school
4) Applies to Year Up
5) Enrolls in night school
6) Enrolls in a computer course
7) Gets an internship at Bloomberg LP
8) Completes the application process to Year Up

Read the story yourself.

Activity #1: Reading and discussion
Introduce the lesson: Hand out the issue and ask them to turn to page 7. Say something like: “We are going to read a story written by Donald Moore. It is about how he got the training and experience he needed to a get a good job.”

NOTE: You can divide the group into smaller ones and have them work as teams.

Then point to the list on the board and say something like, “I put most of the events in the story on the board. However, they are not in the right order. Your job is to read the story carefully and list the events in chronological order, the order in which they happened.”

After they are done reading the story, ask them what items from the list occurred first, second, etc. Assemble a correct chronology on the board.

Discussion: Here are some discussion questions.

• Why did Donald apply to Year Up?
• What is an example of a hard skill? A soft skill? What is a hard skill for a lawyer? What is a soft skill for firefighter?
• Why does Donald think soft skills are so important?
• What does he mean when he writes, “…the workplace demands more than just competence”?
• Why would an employer not hire someone who makes grammatical mistakes, sends informal e-mails, mispronounces words, or doesn’t pay attention?
• What is networking? Give an example.
• Why do you think the Year Up application process was so hard? Do you think it is fair for employment programs to ask people to jump through so many hoops? Do you think you would be accepted to Year Up?
• Why does Donald feel it is necessary to go to college night school while working full time?

Activity #2: Writing
After the reading and discussion, ask them to write a summary of Donald’s article for homework. Tell them the summary should include what he did and why he did it. The summary should end with how you feel about Donald’s accomplishments.

Activity #3: Before reading the story, put this chart on the board. You can change the professions. After you read the story, ask them to complete the chart. Ask for volunteers to read out their answers. Do any skills or traits show up for more than one profession?

Column 1:
Police officer
Clerk at Macy’s
English teacher
Security guard

Column 2:
One soft skill or trait
Is very organized
One hard skill
Can write well
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