Weekly Calendar (FALL)

This page lists the topics, learning objectives & activities for each week during the Fall semester of the VOTP program. (See green text at bottom of page for Suggestions for improvement in Fall 2017)
  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 Mon, 8/21) - 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, 8/28) - JH Unit 1
Week 3: Research yourself & your professional potential (starts Tues, 9/5 - Monday is Labor Day) - 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 Mon, 9/11) - JH Unit 1
Week 5: Research the job market (starts Mon, 9/18) - JH Unit 1
Week 6: Resumes (starts Mon, 9/25) - JH Unit 2
Week 7: Resumes (starts Mon, 10/2) - JH Unit 2
Week 8: Resumes, References & Cover Letters (starts Tues, 10/10 - Mon is FLEX day) - JH Units 2, 3
Week 9: Cover letters, Situational Judgment Test, Phone screening, Job Fair Wed, 10/12 (starts Mon, 10/16) - JH Units 3, 5 (phone interviews)
Week 10: Interviews (starts Mon, 10/23, Tuesday Oct 18 is FLEX day) - JH Unit 4, 5 (telephone interview)
Week 11: Interviews (starts Mon 10/30) - JH Unit 4
Week 12: Interviews (starts Mon 11/6 - Friday is Veterans' Day) - JH Unit 5
Week 13: Interviews & follow-up after an interview (starts Mon 11/13)

Week 14: Interviews (starts Mon 11/20 - Thanksgiving is Thurs, Fri) - Interviews

  • Job interviews (3 per day, 5 days)
Week 15: Interviews (starts Mon Nov 27) - Interviews
  • Job interviews (3 per day, 2 days)
  • Using Instructions for recording interview videos, discuss process of interview video project.
  • LAB:  Start recording & uploading answers to interview questions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 (from the short list of questions given to interviewers - 9 questions total)
Week 16: Interviews (starts Mon 12/4) - JH Unit 6 - Follow-up, Negotiating salary, Filing
Week 17: Filing (starts Mon 12/11) - Filing
  • Interpret indexing & filing rules
  • Practice filing, using Indexing software in computer lab
  • Successfully pass 10 filing tests with a score of 100%
  • 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
  • LAB: Create LinkedIn accounts & profiles & find contacts
  • Use LinkedIn to build network, research companies, find jobs & identify contacts working for companies you're interested in (read a brief summary of what LinkedIn is)
  • Read 14 Steps to a Better LinkedIn Profile
Week 18: Filing (starts Mon 12/18) - Filing, course evaluation, graduation

Suggestions for Improvements for Fall 2017:
  • 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
  • Learn more about local jobs and work culture:

    o    Ask local businesses in retail, bank, SFO, hotel, health to visit us, especially at beginning of semester before Ss select their jobs (so they will know more about what’s available & how it suits them)

    o    Try to arrange job shadowing or volunteering opportunities

    o    Find some websites with info about salaries, conditions about local career options

    ·         Provide more examples of live interviews:

    o    T could interview volunteers

    o    Good interviewer (Neela, Lisa, Roland, etc.) could interview Robert in front of class

    o    Have Robert also do live phone interview

    o    Let volunteers have more freedom in how they interview (it they have experience). They can show a different style and questions by doing it their own way, when appropriate.

    o    Allow volunteers & Ss to schedule interviews after class (& volunteer could arrive later), so Ss won’t have to miss class to get their additional practice

    ·         Reduce repetition:

    o    Do not do job description – resume match 3 times! (maybe only one general one and then their own)

    o    Do not have groups (or members) talk about same question, so they repeat same info

    ·         Interview Videos:

    o    Start video project as soon as we start the Interview Questions section of class

    o    Ss can record videos one by one each week as we work through the questions. T can watch and give high level feedback and Ss can meet in Trios to watch each other’s and critique. Ss can then rerecord incorporating feedback and continue to improve the 5 key videos until submitting “final” versions.

    ·         Filing:

    o    Stream line the class to 5 units only (but consider doing all 10 because Ss seemed to want it.

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:
  • Virginia Tech Division of Students Services has a great Career Services website (link to videos on networking, interviews, etc)
  • 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