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Learning skills to land a job

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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SHS marketing students go through mock interviews, hone skills

Unlike some of her peers, Shelton High School senior Haley Landsiedel has professional work experience. She served drinks at an espresso stand, and now takes food orders at Pizza Hut.

On Oct. 2, the marketing student handed her resume and cover letter across a table to Gail Ryan, vice president of human resources for Peninsula Credit Union, in the Shelton High School library.

Ryan's first question: "Why do you want to come work for us?"

For three days last week, about 50 Shelton High School marketing students learned to create a resume, write a letter of introduction and then practice interview skills with a community member.

Jane Mahony, who teaches business and marketing at the high school and is the DECA adviser, has been teaching the program for 10 years. The exercise is done "to prepare them for real life," she said.

"I think it's one of the most valuable units I teach because every kid needs it," Mahony said.

About 75 percent of the participating students are also involved in DECA, and some have jobs, Mahony said.

"Some of these kids are 15 years old, and this is really their first experience," she said.

Former students who visit after graduating praise the experience, Mahony said.

"They say, 'Thanks so much for making me do these awkward interviews' she said.

The students work on firm handshakes and eye contact. They are shown how to fill out a job application.

On their resume, they include skills they've learned in school, such as leadership working in the ASB office or clerical skills working at the student store, Mahony said.

Local businesses that participate each year include Richard Beckman Realty Group, Our Community Credit Union and the Shelton Mason County Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Carlton, the dislocated worker counselor for WorkSource, was conducting interviews with students in the school library on Oct. 2. All but one student was applying for a specific job through WorkSource, he said.

The goal of the program is for students to "gain confidence in themselves, to be better prepared," Carlton said. The students learn where they can improve, he said.

During her interview with Ryan, Landsiedel stressed that she has developed "people skills" working with unhappy or indecisive customers at Pizza Hut.

"I try to be as nice and helpful as possible," she said.

Asked to name five adjectives that describe herself, Landsiedel listed happy, smiley, determined, motivated and hard working. She pointed out that she juggled two telephones at Pizza Hut on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ryan asked Landsiedel to name an occasion when she had gone "above and beyond" for the customer. Landsiedel replied that the day before, she helped a customer save $15 on two pizzas by pointing out a special deal.

"That makes them happy, and they'll come back," she said.

At the end of the interview, Ryan gave the student a rave review.

"You are friendly, outgoing, and you make great eye contact," Ryan said.

She praised her for her listening skills.

"I was nervous about it," Landsiedel admitted.

"Let your personality shine," Ryan advised her. And then she added, "If I had a job available, I'd hire you."

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 15, 2015

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