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Job Readiness

Career Planning

Finding the right job at the right time is a small miracle in itself. It takes time to find "your niche in the world".  Dr. John Holland theorized that people and work environments can be loosely categorized into six different types. People who choose careers that match their Holland code are most likely to be satisfied and successful. Many career inventories are based on Dr. Holland's theory.  The following assessment tools will help you decipher knowledge of your personal interests and skills thereby resulting in marketable job skills. Using these tools will give you direction and acts as a stepping stone towards meaningful employment.

  • Self-Directed Search - Please note that there is a charge to take this assessment online. 
  • Forced-Choice (pdf) - Print and complete this inventory. A Workforce Development Specialist will help you to interpret the results.
  • Interest/Skills Checklist (pdf) - A Workforce Development Specialist can determine your Holland code based on the number of check marks in each of the categories.
  • Interest Profiler - Helps you to identify your highest interest area, which can point to the kinds of occupations you are more likely to find rewarding.
  • Best Colleges in Utah - Provides information such as top colleges and universites, available financial support, and fugure employment opportunities to further assist students in making the right decision for their future.
  • Online Degrees in Utah

If you choose to use these tools on your own, please see a Workforce Development Specialist for guidance and interpretation of the results. Other inventories and assessments are available in our Resource Center. 

Now that you have matched your skills and interests to prospective careers, the next step in the process is to narrow down your list. Information that you need to know about each career is the level of education or training required, salary, job market trends, and employee expectations. A Workforce Development Specialist can help guide you through this process.  Learn all about your career choice using these links:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics - Learn about the nature of the work, working conditions, qualifications, job outlook, and earnings.
  • Workforce Explorer - Utah labor market information that can be researched by county.
  • Video Career Library - The library consists of brief video snapshots of what each job entails and can help you make a decision in which direction you would like to pursue.
  • College Net - Locate the schools in your area that provide necessary training in your career choice.
  • State Workforce Investment Board- The Board understands the key workforce needs of business and industry, both now and in the future.

Job Seeking

What is preventing you from being employed?  Everyone has hurdles to jump over before finding that ideal career. These hurdles, also known as barriers, may prevent you from being employed. Some common barriers include no GED or high school diploma, lack of training, and childcare issues.  Your situation is unique and you are not sure where to start. Remember that every employer is different. A pending charge or felony conviction is not the first thing that employers consider. Employers desire qualified, reliable employees. Do not narrow your search based on your legal situation. When job searching, try local job fairs and hiring events; state employment programs; and networking.

Keep in mind:

  • Searching for work is a full-time job - start your day early.
  • First impressions are important - dress as you would for an interview.
  • Be prepared - carry a folder containing copies of your master job application, resume, and references.
  • Employers want positive employees - be polite and thank people for taking the time to assist you.
  • Most importantly, don't give up! There is a lot of competition out there and everyone has to deal with rejection. Seek assistance from a Workforce Development Specialist. We are here to help you.


A resume is a snapshot of your work experience, skills, and education. Think of a resume as a print advertisement, your own personal marketing tool. A well-written resume will make a good impression on a potential employer. There are two basic forms of resumes: chronological and functional. Decide which is best for you based the descriptions below.

  1. Chronological Resumes lists work experience beginning with most recent position held.
    • When to use this type of resume:
      • You have demonstrated experience in the field for which you are applying
      • Your strongest work experience is reflected in your most recent job
    • Sample Chronological Resumes
      • Sample Template 1 (pdf) / (doc)
      • Sample Template 2 (pdf)
  2. Functional Resumes are organized by specific skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
    • When to use this type of resume:
      • You are re-entering the workforce after a long absence
      • You have gaps in your work history
      • Your work history is not related to the job you want
      • You are just entering the job market
    • Sample Functional Resumes
      • Sample Template 1 (pdf) / (doc)
      • Sample Template 2 (pdf)

Resume Tips

  • Must be type-written
  • Use bulleted lists to emphasize strengths
  • Describe skills with action words
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors
  • Consult with a Workforce Development Specialist
  • Emphasize your accomplishments
  • Don't forget to include your volunteer experience
  • Focus on skills you enjoy using

Cover Letters

Cover letters accompany your resume and are designed to capture the employer's attention by highlighting the specific skills that the employer is seeking. There is no standard cover letter. Make your cover letters job-specific by using the skill words that appear in the job description. 

Employment References

Carefully choose four employment references that compliment your resume. Possible references are current or former supervisors, colleagues or co-workers, contacts made while volunteering, and supervision officers. This list should include the reference's name, title, company, and phone number. Inform your references when they may be contacted by prospective employers. This type-written list is given to the prospective employer at the time of the interview. 

Master Job Application

Filling out a job application completely takes time and effort on your part. Reduce this added stress by completing a master job application (pdf) that you can take with you when applying for jobs. With all the information at your fingertips, you are able to fill out the application right there and then. By the time you take it home, fill it out, and bring it back, the position may already be filled.

Here are some tips on filling out an application:

  • Print clearly with a blue or black pen
  • Don't leave any blank spaces. If the question does not apply to you, write Not Applicable or N/A
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors
  • Suggested responses for reasons for leaving (be truthful with your answers and prepared to explain if asked in an interview)
    • Better growth opportunity
    • Career change
    • Raise family
    • Reduction of workforce
    • Seasonal work
    • Temporary work
    • Further education
    • Relocation
  • "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" Answer this question truthfully.  A signed job application is a legal document. Provide truthful and accurate information.

Letter of Explanation

Have you ever been convicted of a felony?  You will encounter this question in just about every application you fill out whether it be for employment, school, finances, or housing. ANSWER TRUTHFULLY. Remember that these applications may serve as legal documents and not being truthful can lead to criminal charges.  For employment purposes, a letter of explanation will provide a potential employer with a clear understanding of your circumstances. Remember, your focus is on the future and not the past. A letter of explanation is two to three paragraphs in length that explains your past, present, and future.

  • Provide a brief description without going into great detail or glorifying the incident
  • Explain what you have done to correct the behavior (treatment, class, training, etc.)
  • Emphasize why you are a different person today
  • Establish where you would like to be and how this opportunity would benefit you and the prospective employer
  • Consult with a Workforce Development Specialist to proof read your letter for format and more importantly content, to confirm that your message is being delivered in a positive light

Examples (pdf)

Common Barriers

Identify the areas that you need assistance with and click on the links to find resources to help you minimize those barriers. Talk to a Workforce Development Specialist to work through these barriers.

You will need to identify these barriers in order to remove or minimize them. Some will be easy while others are going to take more effort on your part.  Use this worksheet (pdf) to help identify your barriers. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Consult with a Workforce Development Specialist for assistance.