Refugees looking for their first job in America often underestimate the value of informing potential employers about personal character qualities that bolster their employability. The following exercise helps job search clients identify their own employment-worthy character traits and develop greater confidence in their own ability to get a job in the United States.
Introduction: In order to ‘sell’ oneself in the job market, it is necessary to know exactly what it is that one has to offer. In this exercise, participants will identify their own positive personality traits valued by American employers.
Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Materials: Copy of “My Personal Qualities” (below) for each participant.
- Distribute a copy of the handout to each job search client. It may be helpful to provide a bi-lingual version to help clients learn the meanings of the English terms.
- Ask participants to check off all the personality traits that they possess.
- Once they are done, ask them to identify the top 5 traits that they possess and that relate to the job they hope to do (e.g. if one hopes to be a truck driver, then “dependable” may be a more important personal quality than “cheerful”). Ask clients to think of a time when they successfully used each of these 5 traits (on the job or otherwise), and to be prepared to talk about it.
- Ask participants which 5 personality traits they think most employers most look for when hiring a new employee. There is no one right answer to this question, but for the following are qualities that many employers look for when considering to hire someone: positive attitude, punctual, works well with others, self-starter, adaptable, and self-managed learner.
For a variation on this discussion ask participants which top qualities they would look for in an employee if they were the business owner.
Put a check beside the words that are true regarding you…
___ Well-organized ___ Hard-working
___ Ambitious ___ Active
___ Flexible ___ Energetic
___ Cooperative ___ Responsible
___ Punctual ___ Neat
___ Alert ___ Friendly
___ Motivated ___ Polite
___ Honest ___ Independent
___ Efficient ___ Relaxed
___ Confident ___ Intelligent
___ Dependable ___ Competent
___ Knowledgeable ___ Thorough
___ Adaptable __ Curious
___ Disciplined ___ Helpful
___ Mature ___ Caring
___ Creative ___ Open-minded
___ Funny ___ Patient
___ Careful ___ Respectful
___ Reliable ___ Willing to learn
___ Positive Attitude ___ Works well with others
___ Self-starter ___ Self-managed learner
Now, list your 5 top personality strengths and think of an example of a time when you successfully used each one.
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This post was written by guest blogger Daryl Morrissey, Cultural Orientation Coordinator at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.