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Job Search Skills Curriculum - Lara L. Schenck

Job Search Skills Curriculum


In this workshop series you will learn modern job search skills. You will prepare your resume, learn how to grow your network, prepare for and practice interviewing, and start to build a longer-term vision for your career.

Version 2

Session 1: Professional Networking

1st – Data concept maps, send me a photo of yours – 5min

Discuss: Plans for the upcoming workshops – 10min

  • R and S – participate in the sessions, and we are going to run this again later in the year/early next year, so you’ll have another opportunity – keep doing Excel work, and do career dev as you are able.
  • Get your job search process started; that is the hardest part. There’s a lot of inertia! Story about how tight timelines are tough – and it takes a while to get started.
  • What we’ll be doing
    • Career chats: People to have in your network, add everyone on LinkedIn – a way to see what’s out there and make some contacts, hear from people out there
    • Lecture-y sessions: More talking with some exercises
    • Info interviews and mock interviews: You will email and schedule them with people from the networking contacts list
    • Working sessions: Supported work time to spend on your resume, job search applications
    • Show schedule

Exercise: Who is in your network? – 5min

  • On a piece of paper, write down a list of who you consider to be in your network.

Discuss: Name a couple of people on your list and your relationship to them

Lecture: Strength of Weak Ties (Marcus Granovetter)

  • Strength of weak ties – drawing it out
  • Role of linking ties – connecting networks
  • Being a mentor/being mentored

Discuss: Someone new to the US looking for work, what advice would you give them?

Lecture: Re-framing networking

  • Re-framing networking as relationship building; making friends you have professional interests or complementary professional goals in common with
  • You don’t have to talk all the time – it could be someone you worked with once, and haven’t talked to in years, but you know each other
  • It’s an exchange and both sides offer value (a novice has value to offer to people who are looking for mentorship opportunities)
  • Sharing content and attending events are ways to find people with similar professional interests (Meetups and LinkedIn, conferences, employee resource groups)

Exercise again: Who is in your network?

  • On a new piece of paper, write down a list of who you consider to be in your network. What differences are there from your first list?

For next Skillshare on Friday:


Version 1

In this workshop series you will learn how to grow and leverage your network as you search for a job. You will prepare your resume, prepare for and practice interviewing, and start to build a longer-term vision for your career.

Session 5: Work session & interview practice

  • Share: What job did you apply for last week? If you didn’t apply for one, what got in the way?
  • Work time – choose one of the following:
    • Work on a job application
    • Write your cover letter; update your resume
    • Write emails to networking contacts
    • Update the timelines in the Career Story & Vision template (from the first session – you should have made a copy of it)
    • Get started on preparation for Friday’s mock interview session
  • Interview preparation and feedback (15mins)
    • 5mins – Choose a question from the list in the homework and think about how you want to respond to it (or we all choose the same one)
      • Write notes in a place you can reference them later
    • Each person share their answer, and we all give feedback

Session 5 Homework:

  • Apply to another job, and find the next one you plan to apply to.
  • Prepare for Friday’s mock interviews session:
    • Choose a job application you want to do a practice interview for and post it in Teams
    • Share a digital copy of your resume in Teams
    • Here are some interview questions you could prepare for our practice rounds on Friday (but it will be up to the mock interviewers what they ask – see this link for more)
      • Tell me about yourself
      • Why do you want to work at our company? Why this role?
      • What do you do at your current (or most recent) job, and how has that prepared you for this role?
      • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
      • Tell me about a time you made a mistake or experienced a failure and how you dealt with it.
      • How do you manage deadline pressure?
      • What do you like to do outside of work?
      • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
      • What questions do you have for me?
  • Reflection (send to me by end of Friday) – catch up on previous reflections, if you haven’t submitted them:
    • Session 4:
      • List 2-3 ideas for career goals and for each goal, write a list of steps you would take to achieve it (note: all of this can, and will, change!)
    • Session 3:
      • What do you think is the role of data in professional networking, particularly when using social media for networking?
      • About the workshops so far:
        • Has anything helped you feel inspired or excited?
        • What have you found to be challenging?
    • Session 2:
      • What is one way you plan on supporting yourself during a difficult time of growth?
      • Envision a person who you want to invite for an informational interview/coffee chat (they can be made up)
        • What do they do?
        • What would you like to learn from them?
        • What can they learn from you?
    • Session 1:
      • What strengths did you identify? When you asked people about your strengths, did anything surprise you?
      • What did you learn from creating your timeline? What was easy/difficult?

Session 4: Email writing, cover letters, practice interviews

  • Demonstrate email writing and choosing a contact from the networking contacts (10mins)
    • Miscellaneous email etiquette
    • Scheduling a call
  • Cover Letters (10mins)
    • How to Write A Cover Letter – “The key to writing effective cover letters is to succinctly communicate how your professional experience fits the needs of the role and culture of the company.”
  • Work time (30mins – choose from the following)
    • Select someone from the networking contacts list and draft an email to them
    • Catch up on a reflection
    • Write a cover letter
    • Research the company for a job post you like
    • Research people you might want to contact on LinkedIn or otherwise
    • Revisit your career story slides
  • Practice interviews & resume feedback (20mins)
    • Break into pairs and take turns responding to practice interview questions, give feedback on the other person’s resume
    • Example questions:
      • Tell me about yourself.
      • Tell me about a challenge you experienced in your career and how you overcame it.
      • What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
      • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
      • Walk me through your career experience.
      • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
      • What are you looking for in a new position?
      • What do you like to do outside of work?
      • Why are you applying to this job?
    • Tip: Something I did when practicing for interviews was to write the answers to common questions on an index card and I referenced it while I was practicing
  • Decide on schedule for our next sessions:
    • I have a few people who volunteered to do practice interviews via Zoom. We could schedule these for Friday Dec 2, or Monday Nov 28. We might not have a speaker for Dec 2…I have a potential back up plan, however.
    • Work-time/catch up session – apply to jobs and write emails together, revisit 5 year plans.

Resources:

Session 4 Homework:

  • Apply to 1 job, and find one more you want to apply to. For your first application, you can pick a job you aren’t too excited about or one that you think is a long shot. The first one will be hard and you’ll learn a lot, but it will also be a confidence boost and the next ones will be easier!
  • Reflection:
    • List 2-3 ideas for career goals and for each goal, write a list of steps you would take to achieve it (note: all of this can, and will, change!)
  • BONUS: Email one more person for a coffee chat, from the list or someone you found
  • Remember: If you need a hype person for submitting an application or sending an email, text me!!

Session 3: Professional networking and building your resume template

  • Exercise: Who is in your network? (3mins)
  • Lecture: “Strength of weak ties” and building a diverse network (10mins)
    • Strong vs weak vs absent “ties”, and the strength of weak ties in connecting you to different communities (theory from Mark S. Granovetter, 1977)
    • How weak ties can connect you to different communities, “bridging” ties
    • About “linking” / “vertical” ties and importance of a diverse network
      • Story about someone coming to the U.S.
  • Exercise again: Who is in your network? (3mins)
  • Conversation: What do you think is the role of social media and algorithms in your network? (10mins)
  • People for you to reach out to for informational interviews, resume feedback, practice interviews, and more! (5mins)
    • Show the form results
  • Updating your resume for specific job posts (remaining time)
    • Do a demo of looking at a job post and someone’s resume
    • Discuss how you would update it for the specific post

Session 3 Homework:

  • Email 2 people from the list for one of the items they offered to help with (i.e. informational interview, mock interview, resume feedback, or invite them to speak for a career chat Zoom Q&A)
    • BCC me on the emails for feedback, or send me the text beforehand to review!
    • Note: you can also email someone you want to speak with who is not on the list, just make sure to email two people!
  • Send your resume to someone for feedback (either Jan or this can be one of your emails from the list above)
  • Research our speaker, Ebonie Butler, and think of some questions for her. Particularly check out her Twitch streams about learning programming.
    • Connect with her on LinkedIn (mention you are from DataWorks in your message)
    • Think of some questions to ask about her career and about having an online presence – keep these in your personal notes to reference later (10mins)
  • Reflection (email or Teams message to me by Friday end of day):
    • What do you think is the role of data in professional networking, particularly when using social media for networking?
    • About the workshops so far:
      • Has anything helped you feel inspired or excited?
      • What have you found to be challenging?
  • BONUS: Submit an application to one job by next Monday (this will be a requirement for next week…might as well get ahead and submit two ;)

Resources:

Session 2: Preparing your mindset for job searching

  • A note about information management (5mins)
  • Write in professional journal (5mins)
  • Lecture/conversation (10mins): About the brain
    • Do you think your brain changes as an adult?
    • Implicit theories of intelligence (incremental/growth vs. entity/fixed)
    • A ton of research that shows when people have this growth mindset, they do better and are happier
    • Literally, the brain grows with every new thing learned – think about mistakes we all make in the Python class. Every time you made a mistake and corrected it, your brain grew a little. But this can be super challenging.
  • Story and writing exercises: for each story, write for 3 mins about what advice you would give the person in the story. Then we will share and move on to the next story (10min ea. story)
    • Story 1: Job interview (Andre)
    • Story 2: Burned out (Tina)
    • Story 3: Inequitable pay (Kai)
  • What are some ways people can support themselves and each other during these hard times of growth? (10min)
  • Next time we will talk in detail about networking and informational interviews/coffee chats (5min)
    • Informational interviewing: a form of “interviewing” or getting in touch with people for a conversation that can help your career
    • About “playing the networking game” – it seems slimy but it doesn’t have to be! People want to help and you have something to offer, too
  • If time (we can also do Friday before the speaker): Round robin introduce yourself practice (2mins interviews, switch)
    • Pretend the other person is a data analyst and you are in an informational interview with them, what about your story do you share in your professional introduction?
  • Review homework for next time

Session 2 Homework (complete by Friday end of day):

  • Watch: All about the coffee chat (this person works in design, but I thought good advice for all fields) (13mins)
  • Research Jan Morian, our speaker this week, connect with her on LinkedIn, and think of some questions to ask about jobs at Georgia Tech – keep these in your personal notes to reference later (10mins)
  • Reflection questions (email or Teams message to me by end of day Friday): (10-15mins)
    • What is one way you plan on supporting yourself during a difficult time of growth?
    • Envision a person who you want to invite for an informational interview/coffee chat (they can be made up)
      • What do they do?
      • What would you like to learn from them?
      • What can they learn from you?

Resources about mindsets & changing your brain:

Session 1: Career Vision, Your Strengths, Your Story

  • Overview of what we will do (10min)
    • Review modules and structure
      • Each week will have an in-person lecture/exercise, a reflection, and 30mins-1hr of work outside
      • Fridays will be Q&A speakers
    • Information management (copy this folder with templates)
  • Write down your strengths, interests, skills, and values (link to values list) (5mins)
  • Setting the stage with your career story and vision (1hr max)
    • No right or wrong answers, just to get you thinking of ideas! All of this will change, and you can update it as it does.
    • These should be MESSY and fast – don’t try to be perfect or thorough, you just want to get lots of information down and think big! (see below image)
    • Eventually we will look back at these and think, what of all of this do I want to highlight when I am interviewing for a job?
    • Paper Exercise: Past timeline (10min)
      • Create a timeline of the past (any amount of years) for how you got to this point – what is your story? Add all kinds of content, from professional happenings (e.g. started at DataWorks) to tough personal times (COVID…) to exciting personal times (started dating so-and-so)
    • Shareback, if in the group (10min)
    • Paper Exercise: Now mapping into the future…3 ways
      • Create 3 five-year plans
      • First plan: the path you’re currently on (10min)
        • Give it a 3-6 word title
      • Second plan: if money was not a concern, what would this plan be? (10min)
        • Give it a 3-6 word title
      • Third plan: a mix of the two (10min)
        • Give it a 3-6 word title
      • Consider: which was your favorite? Which one do you feel excited about?
    • Examples of my 5-year future plans – you can include personal things here, too!

Session 1 Homework (1-1.5 hrs total):

  • Get feedback on your strengths and career stories (1 hr max):
    • Find 2-3 people (these can be people you know personally or at work)
    • Ask them what they think are your strengths
      • You can email people about this too
      • Write down what they shared in your professional journal
    • Share your story and career vision and get their feedback
  • Reflection (10 mins) Email or Teams message to me by end of day Friday (lschenck@gatech.edu). Prompts you can use:
    • What strengths did you identify? When you asked people about your strengths, did anything surprise you?
    • What did you learn from creating your timeline? What was easy/difficult?
  • Optional: Get inspired (20 mins)