- be free of behavior problems that would prevent you from meeting program requirements;
- be drug free and free of any health condition that could harm you or others;
- need job training, education, or support services to participate successfully in the working world;
- provide immunization records, school transcripts, and juvenile and/or adult arrest records;
- have a child care plan if you have a child; and
- show you are committed and able to participate in the program.
You will be interviewed by an admissions counselor to determine if you are eligible for the program. If you are accepted, you and the admissions counselor will work together to identify the best training center that will meet your needs. Arrangements will be made for you to travel to the center where you will work. Job Corps provides money, housing, academic and job training, and transitional services to help you get a full-time job.
Need more information?
National Community Service Americorps
This program offers job training and community service opportunities. AmeriCorps assigns youth to work in poor communities, help disaster relief efforts, or protect the environment. Most assignments last from 10 to 12 months and you will get specific training for your assigned project. You’ll work with other youth, earn a small living stipend, and most programs provide housing while you participate. Also, you may be eligible for money to help pay for college after you complete your service.
Need more information?
- Visit www.americorps.gov and select “Florida” as your home state.
- Look for information at your school.
- Call 1-800-942-2677.
Career or Vocational Training
Florida offers job training programs at community colleges and career/vocational schools. Most programs require you to finish high school (or earn a GED) before you enroll.
You will learn job skills, like auto repair, computer repair, health and medical support, legal support, and travel/hotel management. Most programs last a year or less. Look carefully at your options because some technical careers pay very well and others don’t.
Some programs cost a lot of money and make promises about your future that seem too good to be true. Ask to see the percentage of graduates who have paid job placement upon graduation. Ask your caseworker or high school guidance counselor for advice before making a decision.
Need more information?
Two or Four Year College
You have a better chance of finding a good, high paying job if you stay in school. If you go to a two- or four-year college, you can earn a degree in a subject that interests you. Florida offers several programs that help former foster youth go to college.
Need more information?
Can you work and go to school? Yes. Many students work while in school. You may even be offered “work study” as part of your financial aid package, which will allow you to work on campus and is often more flexible and understanding of a student’s schedule. If you do work while in school, find out if it will affect how much money you get from the state to help pay for school.
Services for People with Disabilities
The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation can help you find and keep a job if you have a disability. It has several programs that provide money and support for these activities:
- transitioning from school to work
- living on your own (independent living)
- finding employers who will accommodate your disability
- keeping your state disability benefits while working towards independence
- getting assistive technology and service devices
Ask your caseworker to refer you to a Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation program that is best suited to help you find a job.
Need more help?
Searching for a Job
There are many good places to look for job openings.
- Internet. Free Web sites list available jobs and some have sample resumes, cover letters, and interview questions:
- Local newspaper. The “Classified” or “Employment” section lists local job openings. The local paper may also post jobs on its Web site.
- Job Fairs. Watch for announcements on TV, in the newspaper, on buses, or billboards.
- Career Centers. Florida lists career centers that are open to the public at www.floridajobs.org/onestop/onestopdir/index.htm
- Temp or Placement Agencies. These agencies are all over Florida and can be found using the Internet, newspaper, or phone book. They will help you find temporary work that may lead to a permanent job.
- Employers’ Web sites. If you know the name of a company where you want to work, go to its Web site and look for current job openings.
Applying for a Job
You have found some jobs you may like, now what?
Follow the instructions on the job announcement. It may ask for a resume, cover letter, or job application. If the job announcement does not provide this information, call the employer and ask how to apply.
What is a résumé and how do you create one?
A résumé lists your academic and work experiences. Most jobs request a résumé to identify your knowledge, skills, and abilities. A résumé starts with your name and contact information at the top. Then it generally lists your education and work experience starting with the most recent. You can also list any extracurricular activities, volunteer or community service, and special skills or training (i.e., language skills, computer skills, mechanical skills). Get free sample résumés from any career center or job Web site.
What is a cover letter and how do you create one?
A cover letter is a one-page formal letter introducing yourself to your potential employer and explaining why you want the job. It is sometimes required when applying for a job. The employer uses the cover letter to assess how well you write and communicate. There is no one way to write a cover letter, but be sure to talk about these things:
- the job you are applying for
- where you found the job posting
- why you are interested in this job
- your most relevant work experience and skills
- why you are the best person for this job
- your interest in an interview
Do you need to fill out a job application?
Maybe. Some jobs require a job application. Read the job announcement to find out what you must submit to apply. If a job application is not mentioned, then submit a résumé and cover letter.
What do you do next?
Look at the job posting to see how you should submit your résumé, cover letter, and job application (if necessary). You may have to e-mail or mail your application, fill it out on the employer’s Web site, or you may be able to drop it off at the employer’s office. Make sure your contact information is correct and that you provided a phone number where you can be reached to set up an interview. Be sure your phone voicemail states your name and is easy to hear, so potential employers know they got the right number when they call. Your message should be polite and professional without music or profanity.
Attending a Job Interview
How long do you have to wait for an interview?
It depends on the employer. You could get a phone call within a few days to months after applying. Be prepared! Always answer the phone in a professional manner. If you don’t hear back within one week, call and ask about the status of your job application.
You got called for an interview. What do you do?
- Be polite and courteous. Express your interest and ask what days and times they have available for an interview.
- Schedule a time that fits your schedule. Get directions to the interview and find out who to ask for when you arrive. Also, make sure you have enough time to travel to and from the interview.
- Thank them, confirm the interview date and time, and get a phone number in case something happens and you need to call them before the interview.
What can you expect at the interview?
A job interview is a chance to tell the employer why you would be a good employee. It also helps you understand what the job will involve and the work environment. Before the interview, prepare for questions you might be asked and learn what the employer does.
Where can you practice interviewing?
One good way is to do a practice or “mock” job interview. A “mock” interview lets you practice answering interview questions and get experience with the interview process. Contact career centers in your community or school to set a time to practice interviewing.
Nailing your Job Interview
Before the interview:
- Learn all you can about the company. Review the original job posting and read their Web site.
- Think about how you might answer questions about yourself and why you want the job.
- Think about what questions the employer might ask you based on the skills required in the job description and the experiences on your résumé.
- Prepare questions to ask the employer about the position and the company during your interview.
- Plan your travel route and how much time it will take you to get there.
Day of the interview:
- Get to the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. Allow time for traffic or unexpected delays. Being early shows you are prompt and reliable.
- Bring extra copies (two or three) of your résumé and cover letter. Also, bring a notepad and pen to write down important information.
- Dress professionally. Do not wear
- t-shirts, jeans, or casual shoes;
- clothes that are ripped or tattered;
- too much makeup or jewelry; or
- too much perfume or cologne
- Turn off or silence your cell phone once you arrive.
During the interview:
- Introduce yourself with a smile and firm handshake.
- Maintain good eye contact.
- Show enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer’s question before responding.
- Talk to the employer about how your skills fit their needs.
- Show interest in what the interviewer is saying. Nod your head and lean toward him or her occasionally.
- Only discuss your pay/salary and benefits if asked directly.
- Ask the employer some of your prepared questions.
- Ask what the next step will be and when they will make a decision.
- Get the name(s) of the people who interview you. Ask for business cards or write down people’s names, titles, and what you discussed in your notes.
- Ask for the job – let them know you are interested and really want to work for them.
After the interview:
- Send a thank-you letter or e-mail to the interviewer immediately. If several people interviewed you, send each person a thank-you note or e-mail. Keep it short and mention your interest in the position and your confidence in your skills.
- Wait for the employer to contact you. If they told you when a decision would be made, wait at least that long before you call to find out the status of your application.
Accepting a Job
What do you do if you are offered a job?
Express your thanks and enthusiasm about the opportunity. Make sure you understand the expectations and terms of your hiring before you accept, like hours, salary, and benefits. If you need time to think about it, it is okay to ask, but do not wait more than a few days to make a decision.
What happens when you accept a job?
You will have to fill out paperwork (probably on your first day of work), which may include emergency contact information, enrollment forms for benefits (like health insurance coverage), and tax information. Ask if you need to bring any identification with you such as a Social Security card or driver’s license to fill out these forms.
How should you prepare for your first day?
Dress appropriately and arrive to work on time. You want to make a good first impression. Ask questions and ask for help, especially when you are figuring out how things work at your new job, like how often you get paid and any benefits that come with your position.