March 30, 2022 | KY-SPIN
Amber Hamm: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the second day of our Preparing for Employment Virtual Mini Conference. We’re gonna go ahead and get started. [00:01:00]
My name is Amber Hamm. I am the Transition Age Parent Educator with Kentucky SPIN. I am a mother of two living children, um, both who have, uh, a form of disabilities, and an advocate. I have five plus years of professional exper...
Amber Hamm: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the second day of our Preparing for Employment Virtual Mini Conference. We’re gonna go ahead and get started. [00:01:00]
My name is Amber Hamm. I am the Transition Age Parent Educator with Kentucky SPIN. I am a mother of two living children, um, both who have, uh, a form of disabilities, and an advocate. I have five plus years of professional experience, 14 of personal experience. I am from Northern Kentucky and a few fun facts about myself: I love my dogs, I love my carbs, and I absolutely adore helping others.[00:02:00]
Kentucky SPIN, Kentucky’s Special Parent Involvement Network, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of Kentucky SPIN is to link families and individuals with disabilities to valuable resources that will enable them to live productive, fulfilling lives. Kentucky SPIN is a statewide parent training and information project and is funded by the US Department of Education.
Kentucky SPIN Parent Center provides training, information, and support for children and youth with all types of disabilities, birth through age 26 years old, their parents, families, and also professionals. What makes Kentucky SPIN unique is the majority of our board of directors, and all of our staff and consultants are persons with disabilities, [00:03:00] parents or family members of persons with disabilities. When family members call us at Kentucky SPIN, they not only receive expertise and knowledge of a professional, but also the compassion and empathy of someone who has walked, and continues to walk in their shoes
At Kentucky SPIN, it’s easier to tell you what we do not do compared to what we do. We do not act as attorneys or advocates. We don’t represent families or give legal advice. At Kentucky SPIN, uh, it has been a statewide parent training and information center since 1988. The value of families getting support by networking with other families is built into everything that we do. We often get calls from parents or other family members [00:04:00] who just need to talk.
And we are there to listen. Regardless of the question, our staff will go the extra mile to find an answer. Our philosophy at Kentucky SPIN is that it is not our role to tell families what to do. It is our role, however, to inform families of what their options are and encourage them to make their own decisions about what is right for their family.
And a few housekeeping. So, we all are working from home at Kentucky SPIN and, um, I’m not sure if you hear that, but I have one of my fur babies, um, knocking at the back door wanting in. Um, so please give us grace as, uh, we may have children at home or our animals. Um, they like to be a part of our conferences as well. They wanna be known.
Um, also being in virtual [00:05:00] land, we may have some technology issues. Uh, we all are prepared to step up if something goes wrong. So once again, please give us grace if, uh, we have a techn- technology issue moving forward. If you have questions throughout the conference, feel free to put them in the chatbox. We will be stopping, uh, every so often to answer the questions. And please feel free to share from your own experience and not someone else.
Also following our conference today, you will receive an email with all of the resources that we go over today, as well as the slides that we will be showing you.
So welcome to day two, Session Two: Presenting Your Best Self. And at this time we are gonna watch a short video to [00:06:00] open.
Jennifer, we don’t have any sound.
Ian Rosser: This is it right here.
Jennifer: Do you now?
Amber Hamm: Yes.
Amber Hamm: Good.
Ian Rosser: What’s up guys. It’s Ian with Kentucky SPIN and these are five tips for presenting your best self. Let’s get to it.
Where [00:07:00] is this interview room? Oh… This is it right here. I guess I’m ready for the – Oh… is this the right- Hello? Is this the right interview room?
Okay, next candidate come on in.
(rap music begins playing)
Yeah, I’m here for the job interview.
(rap music continues)
Ian Rosser: Uh, have a seat.
All right, Mr. Uh, Mr. Ian, [00:08:00] why don’t you tell me about your-
Yes, I’m really excited about your company. I heard that it started at 1812, and then it also grew in the nineties exponentially. And then I also know that you guys took over a bunch of Western states and maybe even expanded to Mexico and Japan. And I’m really excited to take over and maybe I can even become one of the greatest employees ever of all time, become the manager and then the president and grow the company and then even build a chain and spin over that and keep growing and growing and growing and growing and growing and growing.
Okay, Mr. Rosser, uh, why don’t you tell me what your, uh, strengths are?
Well, you know, for starters, I, uh, I bench press like 335 pounds. 400 pounds on the weekends. I’m also a world time champion boxer, you know? Uh, what else can I say? I mean I’m like a world class sprinter.
Okay. Uh, why don’t you tell me what your weaknesses are?
[00:09:00] Well, I’m not really good at anything. I’m usually late. Uh, I multi-task and I usually get distracted. I play a lot of video games on the job. I pick my nose and then wipe it underneath the desk wherever I’m at. I’m rude to customers and stuff. Uh, I quit with a moment’s notice. Those are just some of the things that top my weaknesses.
Yes, sir, well, it was good meeting you today and, uh, you know, I’ll be seeing you soon. Uh, we’ll let you know what we decide on doing for the hiring process.
Yes, sir. [00:10:00]
Yeah, man. I was just wondering, uh, you know, what you think, like you think I’m hired or…
Oh, well, I mean, you just left seconds ago. We haven’t even looked at all the applications yet. I’ll get back to you though. Just check in, uh, maybe in a few days or so. All right. I’ll see you later.
Hey man, you know, did I do a good job? You think I did a good job?
Yeah, no, no, you did. You- you did a great job and uh, you know, I’m looking forward to, uh, we’ll see how this process unfolds. Alright. I’ll see you later. Alright then.
Alright, cool. I’ll do that. Alright then. Alright.
Do you have any update? [00:11:00]
Uh, sir, I don’t have any update. I- I- I just, it’s literally been five seconds since you’ve knocked on the door.
Alright guys, all jokes aside let’s get into the seriousness of what this content is really trying to say. Um, and these are the five things that I think are really important before you go into your session. So number one is to arrive on time and be ready to go. That’s really important for not just interview, but also when you’re actually on the job if you were to get it. Um, just consistently stay on time and go above and beyond in your duties to make sure that you keep that job.
One thing I wanted to add to the, uh, getting on time and give- giving yourself enough time piece that was kind of covered in the beginning when I was walking around, lost, trying to find where the interview was and I was late and it was all dark because everybody had left, that was kind of the joke, but, uh, where I was going with that is that it’s [00:12:00] important to actually leave yourself plenty of time, uh, to get there and get there not only on time, but early, uh, 30 minutes to an hour early so that you give yourself enough time to find parking, if there’s any traffic or if you get lost or anything like that. So that’s a really important thing to do. So I encourage you, uh, depending on how far you are from the interview location, just kind of try to plan that out and give yourself an hour extra, 30 minutes to an hour extra, to do those types of things. And so I wanna make sure that I covered that.
Tip number two, uh, make a positive first impression. That’s really important. Um, you know, a lot of people will- will remember your first impression and there are ways to alter that if it doesn’t go perfectly, but you still want to do the best thing you can to give that first impression so that employers remember you in a positive way. Um, and even if they maybe decide that they can’t hire you this particular time, or what have you, they can recommend you to someone else who is hiring, [00:13:00] or they will go above and beyond to look for you again, if they have another need to fill in the company.
So these are things to think about, um, as you’re getting into the world of, you know, employment.
Number three, it is important to show interest in the company or the job. So do the best you can to, in the interview, show that you are not just doing the job just to do it, but you are passionate and you would like to do the job, um, and that will make you look differently and maybe even give you an advantage when it comes to other candidates.
Number four, uh, practice interview skills with friends and family, and specifically on strengths and weaknesses and getting comfortable answering that question because, um, in most interviews, uh, you get asked that question, “What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?”
So just give it some practice and think about what are some good answers, um, and kind of work through that with somebody that you trust.
Tip five, uh, following up is really important. And so make sure that you do that [00:14:00] and follow up in a reasonable amount of time. I know I did the joke in the video, but, you know, give it some time, give it a few days, up to a week or so. Um, whatever seems respectful and you know, reasonable and give him a call and ask to speak to the hiring manager at whatever business you’re applying for and just speak with them and see if you could figure out if your application was reviewed, um, if they’ve had time to, you know, interview- are they finished interviewing candidates, things like that to kind of get sort of a timetable on if they’ve hired someone or if they’re still looking or what have you, and follow up on the process.
And also it helps to just do a thank you note, or maybe even call and give a thank you over the phone. Just to let people at the company know, regardless of the outcome you appreciate being interviewed and you appreciate being considered.
Okay guys, it’s Ian with Kentucky SPIN. I hope these tips have been helpful. I hope you enjoy your session. Until next time, see ya.[00:15:00]
Amber Hamm: At this time, I would like to introduce Nick Carpenter, our Youth Educator, who will be, uh, taking over and doing today’s session with you. Take it away, Nick.
Nick Carpenter: Uh, good morning, everyone. Um, first off, I just wanna go and say thank you all again for attending today. Uh, we’re really thankful for all the support and the- all the- all the people that have showed up so far. It’s a really, really big deal for us. We really appreciate all of you for being here today.
Uh, I- my name is Nick Carpenter. I’m the Youth Educator for Kentucky SPIN. Uh, my job title entails that I work with a lot of, um, young adults typically around the ages of 16 to early twenties. Um, I have a lot- I give ’em a lot of, uh, transitional advice, helping people prepare for leaving high school and making sure that they [00:16:00] understand their options after high school, like going to college or going directly to employment and things like that. Um, it’s kind of like my field, my field of expertise. Uh, a little bit about myself. I am 24 years old. Uh, at the age of four, I was diagnosed with autism. Uh, since then I have been a self-advocate for myself, um, learning how to get the things that I need and what I need to be successful. Uh, for the last 13 years, I have been a advocate for others, not just myself.
Um, I’ve started going- I started going out and attending charity events and all sorts of things like that. Um, I’m a licensed paraeducator. I’ve worked in a lot of special education classrooms over the years, uh, so I have a lot of experience working with, uh, younger children with disabilities. And yeah. I have a dog and I like playing all kinds of games like board games and video [00:17:00] games and all that- all that stuff.
And now we’re going to go ahead and get into the presentation.
Arrive on Time and Ready to Go. Getting it right on the day of the interview can help you land a job. However, no matter how well the interview goes, there’s always a good chance that you will not get the job if you’re late. Um, you should always try and give yourself a little bit of extra time to get to your interview in case you get lost or have transportation issues.
You never know what could happen along the way, and you wanna try and- try and plan for like about a 20 minutes of extra time. Um, I can’t stress this part enough. It- that- it really- it might not seem like a big deal, but first impressions when meeting anyone, not even just going into an interview, but first impressions are always very important. And if you have an interview and you have an agreement to show up at a certain time, and you don’t show up at that time, it [00:18:00] can be a first- it’s their first impression. And they’ll see that. And they’ll immediately make note of that and they will make- make the assumption that that’s just how- how you are, um, that you just show up late and whatnot to things.
Um, so always make sure that if at all possible, always try to arrive on time, arrive early if you can. Arriving early is very important and try to always plan for like, at least like a 20 minute period, like assume that something will go wrong and- and you will be slowed down on your way to the interview.
So just try and prepare for some kind of like- like some- some form of range of time.
Uh, next slide please.
Uh, Test Your Technology. Um, if you’re having a virtual interview, uh, it’s very important to go ahead and practice and look into what kind of a platform you’ll be using. Uh, like if your interview is scheduled through Zoom or Google Meet or any other [00:19:00] kind of virtual, uh, communication software. Um, if you know what it is ahead of time, it’s always a great idea to look into it. Um, learn how to use it, make sure you have the right links and that they work, that they function properly. Uh, take- as we all know, technology has a mind of its own. Sometimes it doesn’t work properly. So knowing the platform ahead of time can allow you to practice using the platform for the interview and making sure that you’re not going to get surprised by any random oddities or any functions or anything like that.
Um, make sure to test your speaker and microphone prior to the interview, uh, cuz it’ll be really bad for you to go into the virtual interview and them not be able to hear you because your microphone doesn’t work or your speakers don’t pick up sound properly.
Um, I always like to say with this, uh, cuz I had this issue even today, myself. Uh, whenever [00:20:00] I do work meetings or anything like that, I- I don’t- I have a laptop I use, but I don’t use my laptop’s microphone. I have a separate microphone that I plug into my computer just cuz it has a better sound quality. But um, every time I plug my microphone into the computer, uh, my computer automatically registers my microphone trying to be a speaker. And my microphone isn’t a speaker. So when I go into meetings, there’ll be a few moments of time where I won’t hear anything because it’s trying to play all the audio outta my microphone, which can’t do that. Um, so I still have that issue, but it’s very important to remember. I’ll always check those and be aware that, you know, sometimes random things like that happen and can cause problems.
So always test your speaker and microphone prior to an interview. And if you can, um, if it’s at all possible, you can- with most, uh, meeting sites like Google Meet and Zoom and whatnot, you can, um, join the audio using your phone. [00:21:00] So that way you have a reliable form of communication right there. And if you lose internet connection, you’ll still be connected to the interview through your phone.
The next slide, please.
Um, when you’re going to a in-person interview, it’s always a good idea to take, uh, copies of your resume with you. Uh, it’s a great way to leave someone a reminder of your skills, talent, and experiences. Cause you know, after all, you don’t know what might happen afterwards. Um, uh, don’t forget through- don’t forget other important documents such as your license or ID, your social security card, anything like that. And always bring a notebook and pen or some other writing utensil. Uh, cause it’ll be important while you’re in the interview, if you ask any questions or if you have any questions, you can write your questions down beforehand and then you’ll remember them during the interview. And then if they say anything that makes- that you make note [00:22:00] of, um, you can write it down and you’ll be able to have it for later.
And also if you just show up to an interview and you have a notebook and pen, um, that’s gonna be- that’s gonna tell them that you’re taking it seriously and they will- they will take notice of that.
Next slide, please.
Making a Positive First Impression. Uh, so in a job interview, it’s always good to, um, just try to be kind of like welcoming, um, welcoming person. Try to- try to be friendly. Uh, so, always, if you can try to smile as much as you can, uh, sit up straight, keep- keep good posture, uh, make eye contact if you’re comfortable. And, um, and if you talk with them at all, like any kind of like discussions you have, try to have like an upbeat, friendly manner.
Um, next slide
And for virtual interviews, uh, since typically with the virtual [00:23:00] interview, you’d be doing that from home, you can- you have an advantage of, um, it’s something important to put out is that if you’re using a webcam, which you probably will be, if it’s a virtual interview, uh, you can set up a- kind of a set, like a- like a space for you to do your interview.
Uh, it’s really important where you do your interviewing at, because anything like lighting, or if there’s any clutter in the background, uh, they will notice that kind of stuff. And it might just make you just look bad. Um, and you don’t want that. Uh, I, as personal story, I have with this is, um, the workspace that I use for my meetings. I am positioned in front of a really nice old piece of furniture. And I am always hearing from my coworkers that it’s very distracting. They’re always pointing it out and talking about how much they love it when we’re doing meetings. So, it’s always important to keep in mind what’s behind you, what kind of area that you have set up. And you can- you have a lot of control cause if you [00:24:00] think about that ahead of time, you can find a really nice space, uh, kind of set things- set things up. Like maybe if you have like, some kind of award or something that you’ve gotten in the past for maybe volunteer work or something like that. You could like hang it up on the wall behind you, so they’ll notice it and they’ll be in frame, stuff like that. You have a lot of freedom with what you can do and you can really use it to your advantage if you want.
And then also lastly, um, it is important to make sure that your lighting wherever you’re doing your interview at, that your lighting is good. Uh, cause you don’t want like your main source of light shining in behind you and you’re being like a black silhouette over you. Cause then they won’t be able to see you that well. Or have a light shining directly into the camera. So always be wary of where the light’s coming from when you set up your interviewing space.
And then of course, um, remove any distraction that you might have such as your phone, uh, cuz you don’t want to have your phone next to you and it to start ringing or buzzing or whatever and then distract you in the middle of a conversation. [00:25:00] Yeah. Next slide.
Showing interest in the company and the job, uh. Learn about the job so that if you’ve done your homework and looked at the company ahead of time, um, when you researched the company. Look and, uh, see what- what kind of skills and experiences they’re looking for, uh, learn what the company’s mission or purpose is, what do they value and look into who the company’s clients are and what kind of services they offer.
Uh, we talked about this a little bit yesterday, uh, but I just wanted to reiterate- iterate that here for an interview. Um, and also of course, um, ask questions. It’s good to have three to five questions prepared to ask your employer. A good example of a question would be something like, “What would my day to day responsibilities be?” Or how- “What kind of, um, expectations are- are you gonna have for me?”
Uh, this is actually a good time that if anyone [00:26:00] has any questions or if they have any- so if they have any questions about the presentation so far, or if they have any, um, potential questions like questions to ask for an employer that they wanna share or any question that they usually try to make sure they have for an interview. Um, this is a great time to share those if you have any. And I will take a moment to look over and see.
Amber Hamm: Hey, Nick, what would be a good question for someone to ask a potential employer?
Nick Carpenter: So, uh, as I- as I said, for example, like asking what your day-to-day responsibilities is a good one. Um, good- good questions that I- I usually [00:27:00] ask, um, and this is- this is a bit more advanced, I think, but it’s- it’s always good to know things like, if they offer insurance, uh, do they have any kind of like 401(k) showed up- um, set up? Uh, kind of like financial questions are always good. Uh, just so you can be prepared ahead of time. Uh, I usually like to know, if I do get the job, and if they don’t mention it, uh, what kind of like grace period do they have? Like, did I like- like when- when can I expect like my first employee review? Um, cause employee reviews typically, um, involve raises and things like that. So I like to ask like, oh, like, will I be expecting employee review in a few months, or will it be a year from now? Or, uh, so it’s always- it’s not bad that to ask like financial related questions.
And then, uh, Kelly here is bringing up that, uh, she always suggests that you can- you could ask the employer what they’re looking for in an employee, uh, like what kind [00:28:00] of, what- what they expect from you. Um, also you can ask when you’re actually on the job and working what kind of dress code that they expect and if certain types of shoes are necessary. Um, that’s- that’s a really good question cuz, talking from a personal experience, I worked at a hotel for several years, and for like the first year and a half, um, I assumed that I was supposed to wear dress shoes, like- like nice dress shoes all the time. And my job involves a lot of moving around in like labor type stuff. And let me tell you, like doing that kind of stuff in dress shoes is not comfortable. Um, it was not a fun time. And then I found that I after a year and a half of working there, I randomly asked my employer, I was like, “Hey, like, do I have to wear fancy dress shoes?” And he said, “No, just wear nice looking sneakers.” So I felt kind of dumb for that, like I wish I’d been doing that from the beginning cause my- my feet were killing me after long work shifts.
Uh, that- that’s- [00:29:00] that’s a good question. Uh, you can- you can always ask them what they like about working for the company. Uh, that’s always good, cuz like, like I said yesterday, employers and other employees, they are the best source of information for what it’s like actually working at that area. Um, you can ask them what the atmosphere is like. (inaudible) like it’s a very- a very happy atmosphere, is it a very fancy atmosphere? Like when I worked at the hotel, it was very, it- it was a- it was a high quality hotel. So it kind of had like a- a fancy kind of like noble feeling about it. And that’s kind of the- the energy that they expected from all their employees. They expected to kind of match that, you know, that- that high life kind of- kind of energy.
Oh, yeah. Um, so at this point I will move on to the next part of the [00:30:00] presentation.
So disclosure, uh, this is a big part of presentation for me, that- this is probably my- the part I like talking about the most when it comes to these things. Uh, so disclosure, uh, what is it? What is disclosure? Disclosure is making hidden information known. Telling people secrets about yourself or things like that. Like letting them- telling them things that they might not otherwise know about you. Uh, is disclosure required? Uh, no disclosure is never required unless you need an accommodation. Uh, disclosure is in reference to if you have a disability of any kind. Um, you never should have to feel like you need to tell an employer that you have a disability if you have one, unless it is something that you will need an accommodation for. Um, cuz the employer will need to know your disability-related needs- needs in order to provide [00:31:00] necessary supports and to be able to properly judge your job performance.
Um, when you’re in school, you might have an IEP or a 504 Plan to support your needs related to disability. But once you leave high school, uh, those kinds of things do not follow you. Uh, at that point, if you need accommodations, then you’ll need to actually disclose your disability. Disclosing your disability should never be a- should never cause a barrier or any trouble with employment, unless the accommodation would cause any kind of undue hardship for the employer.
So, uh, so now with the closure, you might be wondering, okay, well, if I do- when do I tell them, if I decide to tell them? So disclosure is, it’s always up to you, um, you should never feel pressured, like you have to tell them the anything, unless of course, as I’ve said, it’s- you need an accommodation for it.
Um, it’s- it’s up to you when you tell them if you wanna tell them, [00:32:00] uh, but you could always say it like- put it in your application letter or cover letter, or even on your- you can mention it on your resume. Uh, you could- you could say it before an interview, uh, during the interview, you could wait till after they give you the job offer. You could say it- mention it during your employment. And then of course you could always just never tell them.
Um, my thing with disclosure, I will be honest. I have always, myself had an- had my own personal struggles with disclosure. Uh, and that this is just- this is just how I do it. This is not how you need to do it necessarily. Cuz you really, when it comes to you as an individual, you need to figure out what works best for you. Um, I would always, when I got into the job field, like going to job interviews and trying to get employed, I was someone who was not and is still not ashamed of my disability. I would always tell at [00:33:00] the end of an interview, I would go through the interview process, talk about everything, and then at the- always at the end that they always said, okay, well, “Nick, do you have any more questions or anything for us?” I would then tell them, uh, I have one more comment. I have autism. Uh, but then when I did do that, I always would tell them when I did disclose my disability, I would always tell them how I would expect that to impact my job- job performance, if I did think it would. Like, I would always tell ’em I I’d be like, “Hey, I have autism. Uh, it makes me really mobile. Uh, I have a hard time standing straight in one space for a long time. Um, I pace a lot because of that.” So I’m just- I always need to be like physically active in some way because of it, especially if I’m like- if it’s like a lot of stress on me or anything like that, I would always be upfront and honest. I- I’d tell them I had a disability, but then I would also make sure to explain to them if I thought it would impact the [00:34:00] job, I would tell them how I- how I would feel that. But I would also assure them how I would think it wouldn’t be an issue. As I said, I cannot say for certain, if this is best for you, because I- I could definitely look back, and even though job employers, aren’t supposed to discriminate with disabilities, I can definitely look back on times where I can- I can look and be like, yeah, I probably didn’t get that job because I told them I was- I had autism. Like there’s a few times I could look back and pretty honestly say that, but-
Amber Hamm: Hey, Nick.
Nick Carpenter: Yes.
Amber Hamm: Could you give us an example of what an accommodation would be if someone chooses to disclose?
Nick Carpenter: Uh, yeah, so like back when I worked- this is going- going back to the hotel. Um, an accommodation that I had there was, um, when I started working at front desk at this hotel, which meant, you know, taking phone calls and making reservations and things like that. Well, [00:35:00] I explained to them that I’m a very mobile person, I have a hard time standing straight in one space for a long time. Um, but they were able to accommodate me by- they gave me basically- they got a headset that connected to the phone and I was able to like, if I got up and walked away from the desk and I was like walking around the lobby, like- like fixing it or just pacing around the lobby, if someone called I would hear it on my headset. So I could just- I could push the button, answer the call and then I could go straight back to the desk and I could be talking to the person while doing it. So I didn’t have to worry about like missing a phone call or anything like that. Uh, that’s an example of an actual accommodation I’ve gotten.
Um- uh, Kelly here has said another good accommodation would be a simplified printed work schedule. Um, that was something else I also [00:36:00] had. This wasn’t necessarily an accommodation for me, this was just something that this job did, but all their schedules were very simple and they were all color coded. So every- every employee had a different color for their weekly schedule. Um, I had- I had a red one, so all- all my days that I worked were red, and then the days I didn’t work were white, so it wasn’t really accommodation I needed, but yeah.
Uh, also while I worked, I- cuz I explained to them, I was like, hey, like, you know, I pace a lot, I’m really physically active. They let me take a few more breaks than usual. Uh, they would always tell me if I needed to go sit down, I could go sit down as long as if something came up while I was breaking that I would go and take care of it, which I did.
So it was really a whole lot of different things. Um, but that’s just- that’s just from my experience, what kind of accommodations I have gotten myself. Um, and- and that’s the thing- important thing, like don’t- don’t feel like that if [00:37:00] you do need to be accommodated, uh, don’t feel like that you’re going out of your way and you’re like stressing them out over it. Uh, cuz really it shouldn’t be a big- a big issue. If they hire you and it’s not like a disability that you had to make them known ahead of time and you tell them, you’re like, hey, like these are the things I need. Don’t be pressured about it. Don’t feel bad about it. It really isn’t that big of a deal. Like if you need your accommodations, tell them what you need and it should work out.
Okay. Uh, next slide, please.
Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Uh, it’s important to be comfortable talking about your strengths, skills and areas you can improve. Um, most employers will ask you to tell them your strengths and weaknesses, so be prepared. Uh, think about like, [00:38:00] think about why should they hire you and what are you still working on?
Um, at this point, I’m gonna share another personal story, but at this point though, um, I would like to ask for some audience participation, if you’d like, um, if you would like to share maybe yourself, personally, or just some examples of your own strengths and weaknesses that you’ve had in the- in the job field, if you would like to share those in the chat box, that’d be great.
Uh, but while we’re going- while you all are doing that, I’m going to share a personal story related to this. So going back to, uh, working at a hotel, uh, I go back to this story a lot because I’ve had- I’ve had a lot of- lot of stuff go on in this- in like the four years I worked there.
So, uh, my thing was- so yeah, on the job, I pace a lot. I walked around, I stayed in the area I was supposed to be in, but I would- I would always be walking around, back and forth. Um, an advantage of that was, was that while I paced and I was super active all the time, they- the people I worked with, they knew that I liked walking around. I [00:39:00] liked being physically active. I liked exercising. Um, as part of that hotel experience, if someone ever called down and they’re like- like a guest from one of the hotel rooms ever called down and they were like, “Hey, like I need some soap” or “I need a towel” or “I need a drink” or something like that, they knew that they could go to me first.
And- and that they asked me to go and deliver that item. They knew that I would be the first one to do it because I just liked walking around all the time. So it was no issue for me. There’s no difference for me walking, you know, 50 circles in the lobby room. There’s no difference me walking 50 circles in the lobby room as compared to walking up and down the stairs a bunch like there’s no difference for me.
Like I- I just liked walking around. It kept me physically active. I was- I had no issue for it. And that was how I was able to use that to my own advantage.
And then I see- I see Amber- Amber has brought up a weakness of not knowing when to rest. I actually had [00:40:00] that issue. That was definitely a weakness of mine, um, because I was always walking around and pacing all the time. I would get burnt out pretty easily. I would get really tired. Um, at the- at the end of shifts, I would just be completely exhausted.
I probably- cuz of how much I paced on those floors, I probably destroyed like, six pairs of shoes, I wanna say, at least, that are just not functioning anymore, that have like huge holes and things on them.
Yeah, we- we’ve got some- we’ve got some good ones here. Um, I like- I like what Kelly said that sometimes our strengths and weaknesses are the same. I can definitely agree with that. Uh, biggest weakness is being able to stay focusing (inaudible) conversation under lot of personal stress. I can relate to that. I’ve had that experience before. I get very- I can get very distracted during conversations.[00:41:00]
So, yeah. Uh, we’ll go ahead and move on to the next slide.
So, what are your current skills, abilities and talents? Uh, if you struggle to answer this, as many people do, you can ask people in your life what they think are your skills and talents. Uh, so with this, I- I am someone- I always have a hard time when it comes to like what I’m good at doing and things I like doing. I have a hard time talking about those. I can- I can talk about my personal experiences all day and about advocacy and about my disability, but when it comes to like, actually me as a person, like, and talking about the things I like and like what skills I have, I’m always really bad about that, cause I- I kind of go like my brain kind of just goes off when things like that come up.
Uh, what I always do is whenever I’d be applying for a job interview or someone would ask me like, “Hey, like, can you put together like a [00:42:00] little page talking about yourself” or whatever? Uh, I immediately always go to my mother. Because I’ll- I’ll give her a call and I’ll say- I’ll be like, “Hey, like I need to put together a little information thing about myself, like, can you help me?” And then she’s my mother, she knows me better than- better than I know myself sometimes. So she would always go and she would put together a list of like, “Hey, like, you know, like you like doing this, you’re good at doing this stuff.” So if you’re not sure, like what to say about yourself, like what positive things to say about yourself, you can always ask your friends or family or even teachers. They- they’re the people who you spend a lot of time with. They’re typically the best judge of your character. Um, and they- and they’ll probably have nice things to say about you. So don’t- don’t be afraid to ask them for any support or advice on if you need to- if you just need to, you know, have some stuff to say about yourself.
Um, next slide, please.
Yeah. Some strengths and [00:43:00] weaknesses to consider. Are you reliable? Uh, being reliable means that you can be counted on to get the job done. Uh, very simple. Just if like- like I’ve said, if you’re told to do something, you take care of it, you get it done. That’s- that’s good.
Uh, are you an effective communicator? This means that you can express your thoughts and ideas clearly and directly with respect for others. And also, um, as- as I said yesterday, um, I’m really big into communication. I went to college for it, communication. I take it very seriously. I think it’s a important, um, it’s a very important skill to have.
So along with being able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly to others, it’s also being able to- if you can take what people are saying to you and you can ingrain it and you can work with it. Uh, being able- it’s not just talking to people, being able to listen to people. If you can do both those things, then that makes you an effective communicator.
Uh, do you participate at all? Uh, this means that [00:44:00] you’re prepared and that you can get involved in team activities and that you regularly contribute to whatever it might be. Cause you never know when you’re working on the job, you never know when like something could come up or like maybe the printer stops working or things like that. And it’s always good to be- be the someone who jumps in and jumps in as like, oh, I can help take care of this or try to help take care of it, whatever it may be.
Uh, next slide.
Uh, some other examples are- are you cooperative? Uh, being coopera- cooperative means that you work with other members of the team to accomplish a job. no matter what. Are you flexible? Flexibility is being able to adapt easily when the team changes direction or you’re asked to try something new. Are you committed? Uh, this means you’re responsible and dedicated. You always give your best effort. Uh, are you problem solver being a problem solver means that you can focus on solutions and you’re good about not going out of your way to find fault in others.
And lastly, are you respectful? Being respectful means that you treat [00:45:00] other team members with courtesy and consideration all the time. The next slide,
Strengths and Weaknesses. These skills often take some time to develop. So don’t worry. Uh, it might be helpful to reach out to someone you know and trust to help you focus on developing a plan for working on some of the skills in which you would like to be more confident. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help when you need it is another great skill. Invite someone close to you, someone you know and trust to work with you on the areas you would like to improve. Most people would be really happy to help you. Learning the strategies to become a good team member takes time, energy, and dedication.
Put a positive spin on things. We all have weaknesses, but the key is to acknowledge your weaknesses and have a plan for how to manage them. You can also make your weaknesses sound like an asset to the employer. [00:46:00] An example of this would be like, “I tend to be a perfectionist”, um, that could sound like a bad thing, but it also would let the employer know that you’re detailed oriented and like to get the job done right.
Um, like I said earlier, I’m a very active person. I- I like to always walk around and be physically active all the time. Um, that might come off as like a weakness, but it also, as I said, it meant that if there’s ever some physical activity that needed to be done, they always knew that I would do it because that’s just how I was. I just enjoy those kind of things. So they knew that I would be the first person to ask, if they asked me I would do it and they wouldn’t have to go and worry about asking someone else.
And next slide.
Uh, be prepared. Uh, for as an example here, like if they ask you what your strengths are, a good example is, “I’m a really good listener.” um. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good talker too. But I think listening skills are even more important. I’m also a good organizer. It doesn’t make any difference. If it’s organizing my closet or trip with my family, I love all [00:47:00] the planning and organizing that goes into it.
And then, uh, they ask what your weaknesses are. You can say something along the lines of, “I like things that go according to my plans. So when something comes up that may make my plans go off schedule it sometimes stresses me out. But what I have learned about myself is that coming up with a plan B helps align. So if I plan ahead for potential problems, then I don’t stress out at all cause I have a good idea of what to do next.”
When it comes to weaknesses, um, it’s always good, if they ask something like that, to kind of like, don’t explain it as like a detriment, say like, “Hey, like I had this issue, but this is how like- this is how I’ve worked with it and how I have made it work out for me.
And next slide.
A follow up. Uh, at- after the interview, uh, write the person who interviewed you a thank you letter, making sure to thank them for taking the time to interview you. Let them know that you are still interested in a job and let them know that you look forward to hearing from them and supply your [00:48:00] contact information again, uh, like your email and phone.
Uh, after you’ve nailed the interview, um, don’t get upset if you don’t hear back from the place you apply it to you right away. Wait for about a week and then call them and ask if they have an update on a position you applied and interviewed for. Uh, be patient, you will hear back soon enough.
Preparing yourself for a “no”. So it happens, not every time that you go out and you interview for a job, you’re gonna get it. Um, it can be any number of reasons for why that could happen. Uh, so just be prepared for- for getting a “no”. Um, the important thing is, is that if you do apply for a job and they call you back a week- a week from then and tell you that you didn’t get the job, it’s important to not feel discouraged.
Uh, if you don’t get the job that time, try to remember that, or try to think that maybe that’s just not a right fit for you now. And that doesn’t mean that you can’t reapply for that job in the future, if [00:49:00] it’s something that you really wanna do. You can also, like, don’t be afraid to, when they do call you and tell you that, uh, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Um, ask them if they have any suggestions for what you could do in the future when interviewing. Uh, also ask what characteristics or what you could have done to have made you the right fit. Um, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Um, you can send them an email over it, or just when they call you or send you an email, however, they get in contact with you, you can always contact them back and be like, “Hey, like what, what do I need to do?”, “What- what- what- what advice can you give me?” That just lets you know, like when they tell you like what- what you did that they didn’t like, then you’re aware of it. It makes you aware of it and you can start working on it, if it’s something that’s an issue.
Um, next slide.
And one last thing. Next slide. Uh, this is one of the most important things when it comes to job interviews, is that always let the interviewer know in advance if you [00:50:00] can’t make the interview time, if you’ve accepted another position, or if you’ve changed your mind about the po- about the position. Um, if something comes up, something happens like your car breaks down, or someone calls you and something happens and you can’t attend the interview, um, always let them know as soon as you can, that you won’t be able to. Um, if you have applied for multiple jobs, and one of those jobs gets back to you before another one and hires you, be sure to let all- all the jobs that you have applied for, let them know that you’ve accepted a different position and won’t be able to follow through. Uh, they’ll appreciate that and respect it. And it’s also- it might not affect you immediately, but it’s just a good thing about just showing good integrity. And also you never know, in the future you might want to go, you might be applying for a job again, and they might have a job open, and if you go and apply for it, they might look at you, and remember that you’re the person who- who ghosted them after they were trying to hire you or whatever it may be.[00:51:00]
Um, and of course, if you just change your mind, you decide that you just don’t want the job for whatever reason you should always let them know that, they will appreciate it. And then for the future, if you apply again, they’ll- they’ll know.
Uh, so this does bring us to the end of the presentation. Uh, I do know that we have one more video left, but I do wanna thank everyone for attending. Um, if there’s any questions or anything about it so far, we will answer those after the interview- after the, um, after the video. But once that is done or for the video, I am going to hand it back over to Amber now.
Amber Hamm: Yes, we will be starting a short video. Please stay tuned cuz we have just a little bit more to share following the video,
Nick Carpenter: (background music plays) Presenting your best self, Kentucky SPIN.[00:52:00]
Arrive on time and ready to go.
(background music continues)
Nick Carpenter: Virtual interview? Test your technology, know the platform, test your speaker and mic. Join by phone if needed.
Don’t forget: resume, important documents, license, ID, social security card, et cetera, notebook, and pen.
(background music continues)
Nick Carpenter: Be on time.[00:53:00]
Make a positive first impression
In a job interview, smile, sit up straight, make eye contact, discuss training, and work experiences in an upbeat manner.
Show interest in the company, research the company before the interviews, so you’re able to tell them what about the job makes it a right fit for you and them. Know, and be able to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Practice answering this question with someone you trust, so you’re comfortable ask- answering this question if asked.
(background music continues)
Nick Carpenter: Stay calm, follow up after the interview.[00:54:00]
Interview etiquette. Remember to reach out to the hiring manager if you: have found a job and won’t need to be interviewed, have an emergency or a scheduling conflict. Keep your future options open by staying in communication with the company if you would like to reapply at another time.
Oh. And get some sleep.
Amber Hamm: So we wanna thank everyone for joining us today for Session Two, Preparing for Employment. Uh, as you can see in the chat box, there is a link to our evaluation as well [00:55:00] as handouts. Uh, you can also use your cell phone for the QR code located on the screen. We do ask, uh, for you to complete the evaluation here at Kentucky SPIN, we value our families across the state of Kentucky and your voice.
And we wanna hear from you, good, bad or indifferent. Um, we- we wanna hear how we can make things better, um, if you feel that or if you feel that it was great, we would love to hear that too. Uh, also, upon completion of the evaluation, you- it will generate a certificate for today. This is something that you can attach to your resume showing that you are preparing for the employment world.
So it’s a great opportunity to hand into a potential employer. Um-
Rhonda Logsdon: Uh, Amber?
Amber Hamm: Yes, ma’am?
Rhonda Logsdon: I’m sorry to interrupt, but I did want to- because we did get a question, a wonderful question by email. [00:56:00] Um, if each- cuz I know we have a lot of teachers and providers that are joining with their students, um, and a way, um, so we want everybody, regardless of who you are to complete the evaluation just as Amber had said, but this same link, if each student completes it as well, um, and for each session that you attend, if you did yesterday’s as well, each student will get a certificate, too. So you use the same link, um, and that way, uh, students cuz one of the, uh, things that was asked, which was great, um, is that the students are gonna put their certificates, um, in with their IEP and transition plan, too, um, as work that they are doing.
So make sure that, uh, each student has access to the link. They’ll put their email address in there, their school email, and it will send them a certificate as well. So I just wanted to mention [00:57:00] that.
Amber Hamm: That is absolutely wonderful, Rhonda, and it is a great resource, um, to put in with transition plans, to have alongside of your IEP, as well as handing into your potential employer.
Uh, these certificates mean a lot. It means you’re focused and dedicated and- and want to get started and that’s wonderful. Um, we do ask that you come back tomorrow, uh, same time, 9:30 to 10:30, and we will conclude our mini conference on Preparing for Employment.
Rhonda Logsdon: We do have a hand [00:58:00] raised here. Um, could you, in the chat, uh, put your question, please?
Amber Hamm: Adam. (crosstalk)
Rhonda Logsdon: Yes, absolutely.
Amber Hamm: We will be emailing out, following the presentation, everyone will get an email with the slideshow, um, as well as resources.
Rhonda Logsdon: And that may- that’ll come, so you’ll get all three sessions will come. Uh, it may come tomorrow after tomorrow’s session with all of it together. Um, but you will be getting that. So if you weren’t able to click in the chat to access it, you will get it though.[00:59:00]
Have a wonderful day y’all.
Amber Hamm: See you tomorrow.