Who says that professional development is only for executives or professionals? On November 12, I had a pleasant experience of training Grade 12 students of St. Stephen’s High School. Ms. Hannah Young from the Guidance and Counseling Office wanted to prepare their students who will be seeking employment soon.
St. Stephen’s High School, founded on July 22, 1917, is the first Christian Chinese school in the Philippines. The founders were the American Episcopal Missionaries under Bishop Charles Henry Brent. The school is along G. Masangkay Street in Sta Cruz, Manila.
The goal of the workshop was to help these young Grade 12 students develop self-confidence. They need to learn how to present themselves during job interviews. They also need to boost their confidence in dealing with different people.
An article posted by Strayer University says that “A degree provides a level of education that employers value. However, presenting oneself in a professional manner is equally important in the workplace. This includes everything from appearance to communication style.”
In a previous article on leadership, young and enterprising students will discover how Executive Presence can have a significant influence on acquiring leadership skills. It is important to start training the students early. They need to know the basics of appearance, written and oral communication, body language, power dressing, and etiquette. A positive and professional image or Executive Presence is is the key to a successful career.
Here’s a rundown of the topics I presented them:
- Resume Writing
- Application (How to Write a Resume)
- Information, Grammar, and Neatness
- Interview Skills
- Do’s and Don’ts – Interview Tips
- Mock Interviews – How to Answer Questions
As a pre-assigned work, I asked the students to research and write their resumes at home. During the workshop, I showed them the difference between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a resume. I also cited two kinds of resume, the Functional Resume and the Chronological Resume. I enumerated the five critical elements of resume writing. These are:
- Contact information
- (Personal) Skills
- Professional Experience
They may add relevant information like testimonials, extracurricular awards, and publications. What is crucial is what the applicant’s skill and experience can bring to the company. Because they do not have professional experiences yet, the functional resume is not applicable to them. But I added that pertinent information must be included like their name, address, a reliable contact number, a decent email address (avoid email that has too many numbers and using code names like firstname.lastname@example.org ) and a credible professional photo or headshot.
I asked 5 students to show me their resume and I helped correct and improve it on the spot. Including their career objectives in the resume are also vital. I emphasized that their objective should not be about them but about how they can add value to the company.
Regarding interviews, I conducted a mock interview and a panel interview with some students on stage. That gave everyone a great example of an actual interview. I gave them some interview pointers which are:
- Gather information about the company
- Be prepared for a phone interview
- Ask about the hiring process
- Ask if you can call to follow up
- Write a thank you note after the interview
For the actual interview I shared with them the following tips:
- Dress appropriately. Wear clothes that are one level up the job you are applying for.
- Arrive about 15 minutes before the schedule.
- Use the restroom for final self-check.
- No chewing of gum.
- Speak with confidence.
- Do not enter the interview room with the smell of smoke in your clothing.
- Always wear a confident smile.
- Extend a proper handshake.
- Maintain eye contact and good energy level.
- Practice good posture as you enter the room, while seated and standing.
My final reminders to the students were to ask 2 or 3 more people to review their resume before submitting. Before the actual interview, ask adults to help you go through a mock interview. This will allow them to practice and hear feedback on how they can improve.
I ended the workshop with practical tips on correct grooming and professional appearance. I reminded them that every detail of their appearance projects a message. They will receive judgment within two seconds based on the visual messages.
Professionalism starts early. Let us help develop your students’ soft skills that will boost their confidence especially during job interviews. Train your students today!
Book an appointment with a Motivational Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer, and Image Strategist through Radiance Image Consultancy. We offer various training programs which include The Power of Executive Presence, Presentation Skills, and other Image Branding Programs. Your organization will boost customer experience, increase productivity and improve leaders through our services. Get in touch with Radiance Image for your corporate programs, keynote talks, and short workshops.
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