By Lisa McPeak-Francis
Many have asked me the question, “Why do we have career development courses at Ridley?” In the past, I've answered that question in several different ways. As I was walking through a supermarket recently, it occurred to me that career development courses are taught because packaging matters.
We live in a consumer-driven society. When we shop, our decisions on what to purchase are driven by the products’ “complete package”. As I stood in front of honey at the market, I was astounded by the variation in price. One jar was a whopping $58.99 for eight ounces. Then, to my amazement, a gentleman who was also looking for honey, picked up that pricey jar of liquid gold and placed it in his basket. I sat there wondering how the company got him to buy the honey and the answer was clear – packaging. The jar was a beautiful glass bee shimmering in the light. It had keywords all over it including: no GMO, pure, 100% natural, unrefined, organic, etc. He may have even heard from a friend that this was the best honey around. Many elements come into play before we make our final decision on what to purchase. When the right packaging is missing, that wonderful product inside will not be bought.
The same holds true for all employees heading out to look for jobs. If they do not know how to package themselves appropriately, they will not be able to sell their product. You can have all the skills in the world and be the perfect candidate for the job; if you can't sell your worth to an employer you will not get the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities.
The focus of our career development courses at Ridley-Lowell is to show the student all the elements for effective marketing of their product – themselves. Students learn to build a resume that highlights their skills and capabilities, keeping in mind the keywords employers are looking for in the position. Potential employees also learn how to get word of mouth advertising for their product; we call this networking. Students learn how to write a compelling cover letter that will help market their personal qualities and accomplishments even further. And of course, no employee gets a job without their final sale at the interview. We take the time to pull apart standard interview questions and find out what is it the employer is looking for and how to effectively answer a variety of questions.
Circling back to answer that first question “Why do we have career development courses at Ridley?” The answer should now be clear. We want our highly skilled and trained graduates to be able to sell the skills they possess and become employed!
Lisa McPeak Francis has been teaching general education classes for over a year. She was an elementary school teacher in Providence and worked for big non-profit organizations for years. For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s programs, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.