This page is designed to support ESOL tutors in their lesson development for beginner and intermediate students. It also serves as an easy reference for advanced students seeking additional resources about employment in the Berkshires. For lesson plan overviews and ideas, please click here.
Online: The easiest place to start is with an online search tool. The Berkshires has several local resources that maintain large “job boards” or lists of up-to-date job opportunities:
The Berkshire Eagle and other local newspapers and publications also have jobs listed in the Classified section, and online search engines like Indeed.com can also be helpful.
On-site: For students, if you are familiar with a particular place of business, and you feel that you have the skills to perform the work that is done there, don’t be shy! Ask to speak with a manager or other member of the workforce, and speak with them directly about your interest. Leave your name and a reliable contact telephone number. For tutors, please share your knowledge of the area and of high-quality employment opportunities with your students.
Networking: For students, if you know someone who has a job that interests you, ask them to help you connect with the right person at that workplace. Use your friend as a reference, if that seems appropriate. For tutors, consider those individuals in your network who may be willing to talk to your student about past education or employment experience or individuals who may know of open job opportunities.
Job Fairs: MassHire Berkshire Career Center hosts regular “job fairs” and recruitment events. During these events, employers gather together in one central location and provide information to potential applicants about job opportunities at their companies. Job fairs and recruitment events are a great way to network with employers AND to find real job opportunities at the same time.
The MassHire Berkshire Career Center has trained career counselors available for one-on-one meetings and offers a variety of workshops to help job-seekers prepare resumes, interview skills, and more. See their complete calendar of events at this link. Please note: MassHire Berkshire Career is a government-funded program and potential clients are screened for eligibility according to state and federal guidelines.
Sometimes, job-seekers may need additional job-related skills or certifications in order to obtain the job of their choice.
Berkshire Community College has more than 15 different certificate programs that may be completed in one year or less. Certificate programs can be a great way to learn important skills and can make you immediately ready to enter the job market after the program ends. For more information about enrolling at BCC, please contact the LitNet office at 413-243-0471. We can connect you or your student with the right departments at BCC. You can also submit preliminary questions to BCC directly using their online contact form.
The Berkshire Career Center can connect job-seekers to skill training seminars and educational opportunities.
How to Complete an Application
The best way to learn how to complete a job application is to practice! Download these sample applications from two local employers:
Some employers will request paper applications, but others will only take applications submitted through their online systems. When completing an application online, be sure to collect important information about employment history and have it available– sometimes you cannot save your application part way through! With other systems, you can create an account and return to it at a later time. Both tutors and LitNet staff can be a great help to students who need to complete job applications online. Check out this link for more tips about how to apply for a job online.
If the employer is looking for a cover letter, don’t ignore it! It is very important to follow all of the instructions on job applications. Click here for some cover letter samples in various career fields provided by Indeed.com.
Being bilingual is a huge advantage. Berkshire County employers are seeking qualified, bilingual staff members. Don’t forget to mention your language skills!
The Interview (and Post-Interview)
YouTube has many recorded interview options. We suggest that you watch several of them to see how body language, voice, tone, and, especially, advance preparation, result in a successful interview. Check the “Resources” section below for links to several sample interview videos.
When preparing for an interview, make sure you know about the business to which you are applying. Look online or ask others about the business’s purpose. Think about specific reasons why you want to work there.
We recommend you practice answering interview questions with your tutor. Some typical questions are:
- Why do you want this position?
- Why do you believe that you are a good fit for this place of business?
- What are the days and hours when you are available?
- How would you describe your work ethic?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
After an interview, it is important to write a sincere, specific note of thanks to the person who interviewed you. You can send this thank you note by email, but for special attention, a handwritten letter will make a strong and positive impression. Make sure that your letter is well written: if you are uncertain about grammar and spelling, ask your LitNet tutor to check it before you mail or send it.
Books and Materials
Don’t forget about the books and materials in LitNet’s lending library!
- Conversations for Work (Beginner): Introduces the culture of the American workplace and the skills that ESOL students need to be successful at work. Topics include People and Places at Work, Time and Work, Job Safety, and Working Together. Click the link for free resources to accompany the text.
- At Work in the U.S. (High Beginner): This book follows an immigrant family as they encounter a variety of job scenarios. Includes: expressing personal information, job procedures and benefits, workplace safety, and workplace culture. Click the link for audio clips, a teacher’s guide, and other free resources to accompany the text.
- WorkWise (Intermediate/Advanced): WorkWise is a multi-booklet series. We have the first three books that introduce “soft skills” necessary for finding, obtaining, and maintaining a job. Topics include: exploring career pathways, applying for jobs, writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, etc. Click the link for worksheets, links, and correlations.
- OPD Workplace Skill Builder (All Levels): From the makers of the Oxford Picture Dictionary, this helpful resource introduces detailed workplace vocabulary to promote success on the job. Click the link for free audio and video clips.