I have spent the last several years working with a wide range of clients and teaching them the basic Job Readiness skills. We teach out clients a number of things at the Star Center, but three of the most important things we focus on are communication, appearance and self- confidence.
The first question we address is “what is communication?” Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information or news. Communication plays a very big part in getting and keeping a job. Our Job Readiness classes here at Star Center provide instruction and practice on how to communicate with other people in the workplace. Participants learn how to effectively present their ideas and opinions to build successful relationships on the job. We practice by using role-playing exercises where participants learn to listen, avoid talking too much, speak professionally, express an appropriate level of confidence, answer questions, and ask for additional information to show interest in the job without appearing desperate. We also work on thinking through your ideas before talking or acting, speaking clearly and sincerely, and always treating all co-workers and customers with understanding and respect.
The second thing we focus on is appearance. Appearance is the way that someone or something looks. Appearance is crucial because people will only get one chance to make a good first impression. The reality is that your clothes, hair, grooming, and overall appearance is really like a label. If you haven’t tried a product, you are looking at the packaging and making a split second decision on whether or not you would actually like to try that product. When you go to a job interview, you will be judged on your appearance. I always use the example about what grabs your attention when it comes to the clothes, shoes, cars, houses, video games, etc. that we buy. It’s the appearance of those products that influence our decision to buy. We are not going to just buy something that doesn’t attract us to it first because that’s not human nature. We are drawn to things from the appearance of it.
There are no second chances to make a good first impression. It is important to dress for the position that you are applying for which means if you don’t know, then you have to do research on that particular position to make sure you dress accordingly. The culture and trends today are becoming more relaxed when it comes to appearance. Looking your best doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Always remember that people will make assumptions about you based solely on the way you dress.
The last important thing that we cover at the Star Center is self-confidence. Self-confidence is a person’s belief or trust in their own ability. Everyone at some point in their life has had self-esteem issues. Whether you are employed or unfulfilled in your work life, it can make you feel down and out. So many clients have heard that they can’t do something their whole life and they start to believe it which tears down their self- confidence. At the Star Center we understand that its going to take time and effort to help build the clients self-confidence back up. A lot of the clients feel that they are alone and don’t know where to turn because they have always heard negative things when they wanted to move forward.
In the Job Readiness class we make all the clients feel valued and appreciated at the Star Center. The clients have homework, assignments in class, and speeches on different subjects to help boost their confidence to help them see how unique, special and valuable they are so that they will feel good about themselves. Winston Churchill said, “If you want a person to demonstrate a virtue, impute that virtue to him in advance.” When you approve of a person’s potential behavior or performance, in advance, you set up a force field of positive energy that motivates that person to do an even better job so that they do not disappoint you. Their self-confidence will skyrocket.
At the Star Center, we see how important employment is for someone’s self-image, their financial stability, and their growth over the long-term. We also see barriers keep people with disabilities from finding and keeping employment. When clients learn to communicate clearly, to present themselves well, and to manifest self-confidence, they are able to successfully find and keep jobs!