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Building job skills

Students learn how to apply for a job

November 29, 2012
Teresa Wood ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

BLAIRSBURG - Northeast Hamilton High School senior English teacher Sherry Leksell wants all her students to get a job - or a least know how to apply for one.

As part of the six week career unit in Speech class, the senior students have been required to research their career interests, compose a resume, develop a cover letter and schedule a mock job interview.

"The exercise gives students a chance to participate in a job interview with a professional from their field of interest," explained Leksell.

Article Photos

Susan Leman, educator at Webster City's Van Diest Medical Center welcomes NEH senior Trevor Klaver to a mock job interview. The exercise is a component of Sherry Leksell's senior English class. Students composed their resume, sent a cover letter to a prospective employer and scheduled an interview with a professional in their field of interest. Area professionals in medicine, education, agronomy, meteorology and animal management will take part in the class project. The interviews are conducted during the class period with the professional visiting the classroom in person or appearing via Skype.


Throughout the next seven days, students will watch as their classmates take turns participating in a job interview with a visiting professional to their classroom. Conducting the interviews are professionals in public relations, medicine, education, agronomy, meteorology and agriculture.

Senior Trevor Klaver sat for the first interview with Susan Leman, educator at Van Diest Medical Center on Wednesday.

Other professionals scheduled to participate are Dennis Bahr representing education, Linda Pruismann of the Webster City Medical Clinic, Roberta Katschke of Ellsworth Municipal Hospital, Tim Scott of New Pioneer Coop, Caroline Hicks of Swine Graphics and Brandon Tapper. Conducting an interview on Thursday via Skype will be KCCI-TV meteorologist, Kurtis Gurtz.

Life skills

Part of the exercise not only teaches the students how to compose a job resume and conduct an interview but also how to view their life skills as a positive asset to a company, said Leksell.

Students need to realize their life experiences are skills which can translate into a positive asset when applying for a job, said Leksell. Those assets include being hardworking, quick learners who are proficient at technology and new machinery such as the iPads introduced into the school curriculum this year.

Prospective employers are also looking for people who show leadership

and the typical NEH senior has proven shown they can lead, said Leksell.

"Through clubs, offices and sports, you have shown leadership," said Leksell.

In addition, employers favor workers who show initiative, practice time management and are hard workers, she said.

"How many of you have started homework after 10 p.m.?" Leksell asked her students, who all raised their hands. "Or have done homework in a car or on a bus? You do that in addition to keeping up with family, work, church, clubs and sports."

Daunting experience

But even though the interviews are only make-believe, the experience is still daunting to most of them.

"I'm terrified," admitted one student of his approaching interview.

"I think once it is over, I will feel better," admitted another.

"Once you get through it, it's nearly not as bad as you think it will be," said the seasoned veteran Klaver.

"I am very excited about this," Leksell told her class. "This is the first big, grown-up step for you. This is the magic moment when I see you as a grown-up".

In addition to preparing for the interview, students are coached on wearing proper attire for the interview and sending a thank you note to the prospective employers following the interview, said Leksell. In the coming weeks, they will also attend a business luncheon and learn proper etiquette.

A first for NEH

This is the first opportunity for any NEH senior class to participate in this live interview curriculum, said Leksell. With NEH participating in partial day sharing with Webster City, the students take electives at WCHS, but attend CORE classes, such as English, in their home district.

The curriculum was developed by Leksell and guidance counselor Sally Greenfield.



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