How Do People Get Jobs ?

You 're hired ! - Job and Business Concept

Looking at How We Get Jobs

Learning Objective

To identify and explore student’s awareness of self and culture in relation to career exploration

Handout: “How People Get Jobs”


Culture, career exploration, want ads, interviews, college, university, word-of-mouth, job application, resume, skills, training


Systems: Understands systems

Information: Interprets and communicates information

Basic Skills: Listening

Instructions for Conducting the Activity

Tell students they are going to learn more about each other and themselves by looking at the different types of jobs people have had in their home country or the US.

Spread around the Language Builder Occupation Cards and ask students to identify 2–3 jobs that friends and family had/have in their home country or in the US.

Getting a job

How do people get jobs in your home country and/or in the US?

  • Is it by word-of-mouth?
  • Referrals by relatives or friends?
  • Apply through the paper? Apply online?
  • Does the government tell you what job you can have?
  • Do you have to fill out an application? Do you need a resume?
  • Do you have to have an interview?

Education and Training

What kind of education or training (if any) is needed for these jobs?

  • Do you have to be a high school graduate?
  • Do you need education beyond high school? How much?
  • Do you have to have a certificate or degree?

Wrap up this discussion by pointing out the differences and similarities of answers for different countries. Emphasize that the students come with unique experiences and understandings of how people get jobs.

Extension Activities

  1. In an ESOL class, you can ask students what they know about how people in the US get the same type of jobs, the education and training needed, and how to access the education and training. This can be a way to identify gaps or misperceptions in students’ knowledge of how the US labor market works. Other lessons can then be planned around these gaps.
  2. Distribute the survey, “How People Get Jobs” and ask students to interview 5–9 people about how they got their job and to record the information by putting check marks in the boxes. If the group is hesitant about interviewing, the teacher can role-play an interview. The homework activity below helps students, both ESOL and ABE, identify how people get jobs in the US.
  3. As a follow-up to the homework, have students report back on what they learned in their interviews as to the ways people got jobs and then combine the information to make a list of all the ways people reported getting a job and noting how many reported each. Discuss things from the list the participants can use to help get a job, for instance, filing an application and then calling to check on it; and which might only be available to a few people, like knowing about a position from a family member.



Based on an activity from “Personal Management: An Integrated Curriculum,” Patti McLaughlin, Curriculum Developer,

Adult Basic and Literacy Educators Network of Washington, 1993.


Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you keep learning and growing too!

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