Weekly Calendar (FALL)

This page lists the topics, learning objectives & activities for each week during the Fall semester of the VOTP program. (make the following changes for Fall 2016: move more quickly through Research Yourself, especially the book for that part, spend more time on the interview section of the book, have speaking practice EVERY Friday before interviews, include discussion topics that students can both prepare for and handle on the spot, add a small segment on going directly to businesses and asking about jobs, and see survey results from F15 for more ideas; check out sample interview Q's & A's). Virginia Tech Division of Students Services has a great Career Services website (link to videos on networking, interviews, etc)
  1. The core topics are listed in the table below. 
  2. The specific learning objectives are listed, week by week below the table. 
Core topics: 


Core Topic



Research yourself  & your professional potential

1, 2, 3, 4


Research the job market

4, 5


 Networking & LinkedIn

 5, 14



5, 6, 7


Cover letters



Job interviews

Prep = 8-14; Interviews = 14-17


Follow-up after an interview

14, 15



16, 17,18

Specific learning objectives: 

Course text books: Job Hunting (JH), required; Apply Yourself (AY), optional; Let's Speak Business English! (LSBE), optional

Week 1: Research yourself & your professional potential (starts Fri, 8/12) - Job Hunting (JH) Unit 1
  • Understand class syllabus
  • Identify stages of the job search process & compare to other countries: JH 6-8
  • Discuss an individual's qualifications for a specific job: JH 7-8
  • Discuss strengths & weaknesses: JH 8-9
  • Create a mind map to identify your strengths & weaknesses: JH 10
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - In a circle, describe your strengths & weaknesses (other Ss can ask questions, and T probes Ss to draw out best answers)
Week 2: Research yourself & your professional potential (starts Mon, 8/22) - JH Unit 1
Week 3: Research yourself & your professional potential (starts Mon, 8/29) - JH Unit 1
  • Assign Fri Discussion questions at beginning of week to give Ss chance to prepare
  • Match job duties to specific positions AY 12-15
  • Describe job duties
  • Create a list of key duties for each of your jobs & prioritize according to importance & difficulty
  • Correctly pronounce simple past forms ("ed" ending) of regular verbs, using pronunciation rules
  • Understand & use good action verbs to describe duties (List of Action Verbs, based on skills)
  • Read & discuss a table of most common skills & clerical duties
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - Ss explain career goals, and the qualities, skills, education & experience that match the goalsl; Talk about past & current jobs & duties performed (Use correct grammatical forms); pick your favorite job & explain why you liked it: pick you least favorite job & describe why you didn't like it
Week 4: Research the job market (starts Tues, 9/6 - Monday is Labor Day) - JH Unit 1
Week 5: Research the job market, Networking & LinkedIn (starts Mon, Sept 12) - JH Unit 1
Week 6: Resumes (starts Mon, Sept 19) - JH Unit 2
  • Discuss purpose of resumes, types of resume and difference with CV: JH 19
  • Discuss tips on resume writing (see our Resumes webpage)
  • NEW: Focus early on one best resume style & Ss produce ONLY this one, but know about others
  • Analyze organization of one page resume (one page resume with Comments)
  • Compare 2 sample resumes (one page) & decide which most appropriate for specific job
  • Analyze a version of one page resume with a Summary statement to find differences & determine how it is better for the entry-level office assistant job
  • Analyze resume Summaries: JH 23-24
  • How to write a summary statement
  • Read sample resume summary statements & how to write them (our Resumes webpage, About Career's How to Write a Resume Summary Statement)
  • Use a template to create a one page resume: One page with summary; one page without summary (make sure to remove tables from template)
  • LAB: Create a draft of a one page resume (2 page only if appropriate)
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - Talk about your job, what you learned about the company, any contacts you found through LinkedIn & how it's a good match for you; answer the questions, "Why are you a good match for this job?" and "Why do you want to work here?" 
Week 7: Resumes (starts Mon, Sept 26) - JH Unit 2
Week 8: Cover Letters & Interviews (starts Mon, Oct 3) - JH Unit 3
  • Assign this week's Fri Discussion questions
  • NEW: Introduce Interview projects early: Tell me recording & Key interview Q video (pass out project descriptions, examples, key questions, etc) (decide whether to do early or later)
  • Explain Tell Me so that Ss can get started while we're doing cover letters
  • NEW: The Ss will focus on about 8-10 key questions (that all will do) and with a partner record a video of themselves answering these questions. These will be uploaded to YouTube and a link added to site
  • All the other questions will be divided up and distributed to groups (2-4 Ss?) to research, discuss, and report on. They can also be responsible for posting their analysis (strategy, what's expected, sample answers) to class website, and these will be the focus of Friday discussions (groups reporting on their questions, and exchanging feedback) - Maybe this part should be included in the Interview Q video recording as an additional research part posted to website
  • Tell Me resources:
  • Look at a sample cover letter (see version with comments)
  • Look at an alternate cover letter version for the same job
  • Analyze sample cover letter with table style
  • Identify features of a cover letter: AY 149-151; JH 34-36
  • Analyze special cover letter style w/ table to match job qualifications w/ your skills & experience
  • Read theladders.com article about Getting your Cover Letter Noticed
  • Write an effective cover letter JH 36-44
  • Write a cover letter relevant to the job you want: AY 151; JH 45-46
  • Business English - Useful Language Appendix JH 107 (esp. about Opening & Final Paragraph)
  • Analyze samples of cover letters: AY 150
  • Use a cover letter template
  • Discuss an interesting LinkedIn article about an unusual process for contacting the hiring manager
  • LAB: Finish cover letter & references
  • Speaking practice (Fri): Practice Tell Me answers so far; Discuss the strategy of your cover letter and which qualifications you included and why; weekend plans, hobbies & leisure activities; Unprepared topics (Ss are given topics & have 10 minutes to prepare what to say): when you are elderly and reflecting back on your life, how will you evaluate whether you were successful or not? What was the most challenging situation you ever faced & how did you handle it?
  • Submit final resume & references by Friday (grade = 25%) (Post to website PORTFOLIO section)
Week 9: Interviews, Job Fair (starts Mon, Oct 10) - JH Unit 5 (phone interviews)
Week 10: Interviews (starts Mon, Oct 17, Tuesday Oct 18 is FLEX day) - JH Unit 4
Week 11: Interviews (starts Mon Oct 24) - JH Unit 4
  • Deal effectively with interview questions - JH 50-2
  • Talk about yourself appropriately - JH 52-3
  • Watch sample videos of how to answer question, "Tell me about yourself"
  • Answer the question, "Tell me about yourself" (See VOTP & ESL Pod's interview questions lists)
  • Avoid common mistakes - JH 53-4
  • Answer the question: What are your strengths? (See VOTP & ESL Pod's interview questions lists)
  • Prove you've done your research - JH 55-6
  • Answer the question: Why do you want to work here? (See VOTP & ESL Pod's interview questions lists)
  • Demonstrate you've got what it takes & are a good fit for the job - JH 56-8
  • Answer the question: Why should we hire you? (See VOTP & ESL Pod's interview questions lists)
  • Watch video samples of interview answers:
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - Beginning of interview (handshake, smile, greeting). Tell us about yourself. What are your strengths? Why do you want to work here? Why should we hire you?
Week 12: Interviews (starts Mon Oct 31) - JH Unit 5
  • Handle competency-based questions JH 59-60
  • Use the STAR method to demonstrate your ability to handle situations JH 61-2
  • Talk about your weaknesses (turn negatives into positives) JH 63-6
  • Answer common interview questions (VOTP questions #6-20)
  • Ask questions of your own JH 67-8
  • Additional common interview questions - JH 110
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - Answer competency-based questions and other interview questions
  • LAB: Record answer to question, "Tell my about yourself" (1 hour)
Week 13: Interviews & follow-up after an interview (starts Mon Nov 7 - Fri is Veteran's Day) - Interviews

Week 14: Interviews (starts Mon Nov 14) - Interviews

  • Job interviews (3 per day, 5 days)
Week 15: Interviews (starts Mon Nov 21 - Thurs, Fri off for Thanksgiving) - Interviews
Week 16: Interviews (starts Mon Nov 28) - JH Unit 6 - Interviews, Filing
Week 17: Filing (starts Mon Dec 5) - Filing
  • Interpret indexing & filing rules
  • Practice filing, using Indexing software in computer lab
  • Update student data base with "permanent" emails
  • Invite all students to Facebook & LinkedIn
  • Transfer resume info into LinkedIn
  • Distribute end-of-semester survey (email & paper) to students to begin to fill out
  • Successfully pass 10 filing tests with a score of 100%
Week 18: Filing (starts Mon Dec 12) - Filing, course evaluation, graduation

Other possible topics:
  • Business English - Useful Language Appendix JH 108
  • Business English - Socializing LSBE 3-8 (see compilation of exercises, Small Talk)
  • Business English - Socializing LSBE 9-13; Useful Language Appendix JH 105-6
  • Business English - Useful Language Appendix JH 106