Westhill Consulting and Employment

Getting that Job Takes Work

With the school year winding down, many high school students are looking for employment. Whether it’s our first job or our tenth, applying for a job always seems a bit challenging. First, we have to find a job we believe we can be reasonably happy with. If you’re unhappy indoors, try to find an outdoor job … then fill out the job application, and then have the job interview.

Interviews make some folks nervous. We have to maintain a balance of selling ourselves to our employer and yet not coming across as conceited. A nice middle ground is to be confident. If we are truthful about what we put on a job application, and know that we can do the skills that we’ve listed, our confidence is appropriate.

Work Wise Kauai is an organization whose vision is “To develop the skills of the entire workforce of Kauai and to ensure a smoothly functioning total economy. Their mission is “To support the economic development of Kauai through the workforce development system.” In other words, they will help people find, and prepare for jobs as well as list job availabilities on their website: Workwisekauai.com

There is a link on the website to Hire Net Hawaii. On that site you fill out your zip code and a radius in miles of places you’d be willing to work. I typed in 96746 for Kapaa and 10 miles as a distance. Up came 7 pages of 25 jobs in that area. For advanced info on how to apply for the job, you have to fill out an online registration form. Many of these do require specific skills, but many would be appropriate for first jobs, such as working as sales clerks for Safeway, Macy’s, Long’s, Papalani Gelato and more.

Work Wise will post your resume on their site for employers to review. They also provided a very thorough checklist of do’s and don’ts for a successful job interview. Since they specifically work with employers on Kauai, it’s good to know. I did some minor editing.

“Make sure to fill out your application completely using excellent spelling and penmanship.

Have all the dates, addresses and phone numbers you need, as well as your own blue or black ink pen, pencil and eraser.

First impressions are very important. Have clean hair, teeth, and clothes.

Dress properly even if you are only picking up or dropping off an application. You might be asked to have an interview on the spot. Dress appropriately without heavy makeup, perfume, aftershave or jewelry. It’s work, not a date. Be neat and clean.

Arrive 10 minutes early and go alone, without friends, relatives or pets.

Turn off all cell phones and pagers.

Smile, smile and smile. Give good eye contact. Be enthusiastic, friendly and courteous to everyone you meet. Sit up straight and confidently without fidgeting.

Have a good attitude. No “Genuine Aloha Spirit” was a common complaint!

Answer questions thoughtfully, and speak clearly. It’s recommended to leave the pidgin English at home. You will be representing the company and employers want to make good impressions on their clients.

Answer questions honestly and completely, but don’t talk too much. You should both talk about 50 percent of the time.

When asked a question that you don’t understand, get clarification. Don’t just agree for the sake of agreeing. Then organize your thoughts before you speak.

Don’t talk badly about a former employer or any co-workers.

Leave personal problems at home, and don’t say that you’ve been “stressed out.”

Know the basic duties of the job you are applying for, and know about the company. You may ask about the job duties and the company, but avoid discussion of salary. That comes later, after they’re interested.

Keep a record of all contacts so you can follow up on your applications.

If you leave your phone number with your potential employer to call you back, make sure that your answering machine message is polite!

Do not list a skill that you don’t have. This can backfire and put others at risk.

Review yourself! How do you think you’d come across in an interview. Would you want to work eight hours a day with you?

There were two other websites that show job opportunities: hawaiijobengine.com/i-kauai-jobs listed 37 jobs, craigslist.org takes you to a page with all of its listings. Click Hawaii. Then at the top click Kauai. Jobs are listed by category. There were several of food and beverage industry jobs listed. Since craigslist is open to anyone, scams sometimes do occur.

Do your own personal investigation! If you’ve frequented a restaurant for years and like the place, go to the manager and ask if there are any job openings. Not all jobs get listed on websites or in the window. Word of mouth from employees is important. It always helps to “know someone who knows someone.” Ask others if they know who’s hiring.

When filling out applications and previous work experience is asked for, remember that babysitting and yard work are worthy to list. List where you’ve volunteered and provide references. Also ask your teachers, coaches, neighbors or pastors if they will give you a good reference on a job application. Good luck! And the next time it will be easier!

  • Hale Opio Kauai convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org
  • Stand Out, Never Stand Down

    Equally as important as learning how to get a job is learning how to keep one. Working is much like dating: Keep the relationship exciting or your employer might get a wandering eye for greener pastures. You need to stay at the top of your game to prove to your employer that she was right to pick you in the first place. You can stand out at work by being a stand-up person. Be honest, act with integrity and treat everyone with kindness and respect. Westhill Consulting and Employment in Jakarta has recognized the need of many employees to stand out among colleagues. You cannot expect any development when you continue to stand down to others.

    1. Make a habit of introducing yourself.

    Whenever you walk into a meeting, go up to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. People with the confidence to do this stand out. Work out a few questions to ask to get to know people, and you’ll quickly boost your visibility. More people you know more chances of being popular.

    2. Sit next to new people.

    As an extension of tip one, if there’s an opportunity to sit next to new people at a meeting, a talk, at lunch, on a training course – you should take it. Whether they may be from different nations like Jakarta, Indonesia, Ghana, Africa or Tokyo, Japan, treat them with respect. Often the shared experience creates an opportunity to build a relationship. Not only does this again demonstrate your confidence, but it’s also a great way to show senior managers you take an interest in other people and have the skills to develop a widespread network. If you can show that, it will be noted.

    3. Be first to act.

    If you’ve heard someone ask for a volunteer, or open the floor for questions after a presentation, you’ve likely experienced the awkward silence that follows. But by being the person to stand up and volunteer to be the one at the flipchart or taking the action points, or by having a question ready to start the ball rolling, you show you’re willing to get into action when the structured part of the meeting stops – something senior managers equate with leadership ability and the ability to make a career leap successfully.

    4. Smile.

    Even when it's the last thing you feel like doing, still smile -- and others will smile with you. Instead of having complaints with the system or any negativity in your workplace, smile and treat them with optimism.

    5. Seek opportunities to learn new skills and maintain old ones.

    Don't make the mistake of becoming a dinosaur; keep yourself marketable by remaining current in your profession. Review what you need to improve on and learn where you need to excel more.



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