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Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills
Unemployed Clients - Teaching Job Seeking Skills

Section 5
Dynamics of the Job Search Process

Question 5 | Test | Table of Contents |
Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs

In the last section, we discussed how your clients facing unemployment can raise funds to help their family financially during their unemployment. We also discussed how your unemployed client can use EBay and other selling sites to successfully to make money during their new job search.

In this section, we will discuss what your unemployed client can include in their cover letter to help them obtain a new job. We will also discuss questions that you can ask your client and preparations they can make for their job interview.

When Mary, the 51 year old Research and Development Manager who was mentioned in a previous section, began her job search, one source of anxiety for her was writing her cover letter to accompany her resume. She nervously told me, "It is not like I haven’t done one before but I haven’t had to write a cover letter in so long... well since I applied for my last job years and years ago... that I feel like I can really mess it up and that will screw up my chances for getting the job."

The Cover Letter:

To help Mary ease her job search anxiety, we went over what she could include in her cover letter. I offered her the following six points:
1. I began by stating, "Make sure to include a couple of sentences that highlight your qualifications most relevant qualities mentioned in the ad.
2. Make these qualifications specific for the position you are applying to and the company that the job is for.
3. Always create separate cover letters specific to each position.
4. You may think that it may save you time to send a general resume and general cover letter to many companies but it will be a better investment of your time to specialize your resume and cover letter so the company will feel you are taking their position seriously.
5. If this is the position you really want, research the company in order to get a better idea of what they would want from an employee and what the company is about. I encouraged Mary to use this information to shape the way she wrote her cover letter.
6. Include key words from the ad in the cover letter, for example "organized", "self-starter",

In summary, I encouraged Mary to blend together knowledge of the company and the position with the skills she has that would make her the best candidate for the job. I stated to Mary, "In a way, your cover letter is more important than your resume because it is the first item a human resource manager or your potential employer will read. If they read your cover letter and don’t like it, the chances of them reading your resume in detail are slim."

Do you have a client who is applying for jobs like Mary who could benefit from going over these basics for writing a quality cover letter?

We will now move on from discussing how your client can write a successful cover letter to discussing interview preparation for your client. We will go over potential interview questions and the "nuts and bolts" of interviewing.

Job Interview Questions:
As Mary was preparing to interview for a new position she applied for, she was concerned that she was not prepared enough for her upcoming interview. Mary explained "I am nervous about what type of questions they are going to ask me. How do I prepare for all the possibilities?" I stated to her, "The best way to prepare for your interview is to be prepared, as best you can, for any question the interviewer may ask."

I provided Mary with a list of the following questions. We then did a mock interview containing questions she had selected.
- Tell me why you are interested in the position.
- What makes you the most qualified person to fill the job?
- Tell me about your past work experiences that would lend yourself to this position.
- What level of responsibilities and challenges would satisfy you in this position?
- What was your biggest accomplishment and your biggest failure in your past jobs?
- What do you believe are your most pertinent skills for this position?
- What area of your skills would you like to improve upon?
- Tell me about the toughest decision you had to make in an old job and what was the outcome of that decision?
- In pressured situations, how do you typically react? Can you give me examples of pressured situations you have been in?
- Are you a team player? Can you share an example of getting along with others in your previous work?
- Can you give examples of leadership qualities that you possess?
- Do you have a manager or supervisor from your past that you really respect? What is it about them that you admire?
- Do you consider monetary compensation more important than challenges and responsibilities in your career?
- Are there certain responsibilities and challenges that you haven’t experienced in past jobs that you would like in this job?
- Share with me what your long term and short term career-oriented goals.

Mary and I discussed these questions over several sessions to help Mary practice her answers. I stated to Mary that practicing answers can help you prepare specific answers and help you polish them for the actual interview. However, it is important in the interview to sound genuine and not rehearsed. Do you have a client like Mary who could benefit from practicing the above interview questions?

Interview Nuts and Bolts:
In addition to practicing potential interview questions, I felt that something that would help relieve Mary’s anxiety would be to discuss five specific behaviors that she could use to set a good impression during the actual interview.
1. Have a positive attitude
I stated to Mary, "Do your best to show genuine enthusiasm for the job and company during your interview. You could do this by asking questions, if appropriate."
2. Eye contact is important
I then stated, "Although this may seem like an obvious point, make sure to make appropriate eye contact with the interviewer to show you are engaged."
3. Dress for success.
I stated to Mary, "put your best foot forward by dressing your best and maintain good hygiene." Cultural diversity issues have been discussed previously.
4. Be confident, sell yourself, but avoid crossing the line into bragging or bizarreness.
I stated, "Be confident and share what you have to offer the company but not in a way that is agressive rather than assertive."
5. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
"Beforehand," I stated to Mary, "if appropriate, really research the position you are applying for and the company you would potentially be joining. Come with specific questions about the position you are applying for and how the company runs. This shows your interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position." Mary and I brainstormed possible questions to ask her interviewer.

In this section, we discussed what your unemployed client can include in their cover letter to help them obtain a new job. The six points that we discussed regarding cover letters are: include a couple of paragraphs that highlight your qualifications; make these qualifications specific for the position you are applying to; create separate cover letters; make you cover letter very specific; make sure to research the company, if appropriate; and include key words from the ad. We also discussed questions that you can ask your client to prepare for their job interview. We also discussed the "nuts and bolts of interviewing": have a positive attitude; eye contact is important; dress for success; be confident; and prepare questions to ask the interviewer.

In the next section we will discuss how your client can put their best foot forward regarding communicating with potential employers. We will discuss contact information via email, telephone, mailing address, and web presence. We will also discuss how your client can effectively use LinkedIn to network with potential employers.

Nigro 121-122 Nigro 123-125.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
da Motta Veiga, S. P., & Gabriel, A. S. (2016). The role of self-determined motivation in job search: A dynamic approach. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(3), 350–361. 

Hulshof, I. L., Demerouti, E., & Le Blanc, P. M. (2020). Reemployment crafting: Proactively shaping one’s job search. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(1), 58–79.

Sun, S., Song, Z., & Lim, V. K. G. (2013). Dynamics of the job search process: Developing and testing a mediated moderation model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(5), 771–784.

What are the five "nuts and bolts" of interviewing that you can share with your unemployed client who is looking for a new job?
To select and enter your answer go to Test.

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