Weekly Calendar (FALL)

This page lists the topics, learning objectives & activities for each week during the Fall semester of the VOTP program. (purchase class sets of books & have Ss buy binders with index tabs; add dates & sections to each handout & as we use them, have Ss add them to binders; 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



 6, 7


Cover letters

8, 9


Networking & LinkedIn



Job interviews

Prep = 9-14; 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
  • Identify key skills from a List of Skills
  • Read & discuss a comprehensive list of skills with examples & explanations
  • Select good verbs to describe duties that demonstrate skills: JH 13
  • Talk about 2 key skills (connected to YOUR career) & explain or give examples to demonstrate (see Robert's example)
  • Match job duties to specific positions AY 12-13 (continued below)
  • Practice using alternative ways to talk about duties: my duties included + V-ing ...; I had to + v1...; I needed to + v1 ...; I was responsible for + V-ing ...; I handled many duties, including + V-ing ...
  • Talk about your past job duties (see Robert's example)
  • Speaking practice (Fri.) - Describe 1-2 of your most important skills (for your career) and explain or give examples that clearly demonstrate that skill; Describe past (& present) job duties; UNPLANNED: Take 10 minutes & plan to talk about  your favorite job & 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 (starts Mon, Sept 12) - JH Unit 1
Week 6: Resumes (starts Mon, Sept 19; Friday is Native People's Day) - JH Unit 2
Week 7: Resumes (starts Mon, Sept 26) - JH Unit 2
Week 8: Resumes, References & Cover Letters (starts Mon, Oct 3) - JH Units 2, 3
Week 9: Cover letters, Situational Judgment Test, Phone screening, Job Fair Wed, 10/12 (starts Mon, Oct 10) - JH Units 3, 5 (phone interviews)
Week 10: Interviews (starts Mon, Oct 17, Tuesday Oct 18 is FLEX day) - JH Unit 4, 5 (telephone interview)
Week 11: Interviews (starts Mon Oct 24) - JH Unit 4
Week 12: Interviews (starts Mon Oct 31) - JH Unit 5
  • Interview body language JH 50
  • Interview question overview JH 50-51 (VOTP Interview Q's & Answers, p.1)
  • Talk about yourself JH 52 (VOTP Interview Q's & Answers, Q2)
  • Practice & record TELL ME about yourself question
  • Conduct research before the interview JH 55
  • Additional video resources (not used in class):
  • 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)
  • 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:
  • Introduce students to great interview question resources:
  • Prepare for an interview & make a good 1st impression - JH 48-9
  • Introduce yourself & make small talk: JH 48-49 (see Q#1 on VOTP interview Q's & Answers)
  • Select interview days
  • 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?
  • 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

Extra possible speaking topics:
  • 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?; Additional situation: you are a new employee talking to coworkers in coffee area. Engage in small talk as they ask you about your hobbies, hometown, past jobs, education.

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
Di Liu,
Oct 14, 2016, 4:28 PM
Di Liu,
Oct 19, 2016, 11:42 AM