Job Search Classes at Wake Technical Community College

Looking for a Job?

Are you looking for a job?  Wake Technical Community College has classes to help you find a job in the United States.

Go to to learn more about these classes and decide which class is best for you.  We have classes on building a resume, writing a cover letter, interviewing, and searching for specific jobs that you may be interested in, such as childcare, writing, office work (human resource assistant or administrative assistant), and many more.

All of these classes are fee-waived for qualifying individuals who are unemployed, “underemployed,” or who have received notice of layoff or pending layoff.

For Students Who Have Degrees from Another Country

Do you have a university degree from outside of the United States?  This degree may help you to find a job in the United States.

Who decides whether your degree has value in the United States?  There are three authorities who can make this decision: the company that hires you, the university that you apply to study at in the United States, and/or a credential evaluation service.  To learn more about the United States’ policy on foreign degrees click here.  This website also has a link to a comprehensive list of credential evaluation services for many careers and advice for finding work and studying in the United States with the help of foreign degrees.

How to Use Career Builder to Find Jobs

1.  On the left side of this website, you can see the phrase “Job Resources”.  Under “Job Resources”, click on “Career Builder” Job Search Website.  I took some pictures to help you see how to use this website.  If it is difficult to see the pictures on your computer, click on the pictures to make them bigger and more clear.

2.  Under “Keywords”, type a job skill that you have.  For example, maybe I have cooking experience.  I type “cook” under “Keywords”.  Under “Location”, type your zip code.  For example, maybe I am a student who lives near Wade Avenue.  I type the zip code “27607”.  Then, I click “Find Jobs”.

Picture 1

3.  For this example, I found 84 job opportunities!  Maybe I don’t have time to carefully read 84 job ads today.  I want to find the cook jobs that are best for me.  I click on “Advanced Search“.

Picture 2

4.  Now I have many options to find the best jobs for me.  Maybe I need a job that is very close to my apartment.  Under “Include Jobs Within“, I will select “5 miles“.  I only want jobs that were posted recently.  I don’t want old job opportunities, so under “Include Jobs Posted Within“, I will select “Last 7 Days“.  Then, I click on the orange “Find Jobs” link at the bottom left corner of this screen.

Picture 3

5.  Now I have 18 job ads.  I have time to carefully read 18 job opportunities today.  I begin looking at the job options by clicking on each of the orange links below “Search Results“.

Picture 4

6. Now it is your turn to look for jobs!  Good luck!

If you have any questions about searching for jobs on, type your questions in the “Leave a Reply” box below.


Understanding Your Pay Stub

Look at the example pay stub below.  Answer the comprehension questions on a sheet of paper.  Then, read the article explaining vocabulary related to paychecks.  When you are finished, answer the reading comprehension questions below on a sheet of paper.  Check all of your answers to make sure that they are correct.  Then, type your answers into the website:

1.  Click Leave a Reply

2.  Type your first name in the first box.

3.  Type your email address or “” in the second box.

4.  Type nothing in the third box.

5.  Type your questions in the fourth box.

Employee Pay Stub

Employer Name: Raleigh ESL Hotel
Employer Address: 2958 Gorman St./Raleigh, NC 27607
Employer Phone Number: (919) 555-1234

Employee Name: Ibrahim Mohammed Ali
Employee Address: 2947 Wade Ave./Raleigh, NC 27606
Employee Phone Number: (919) 555-5678

Employee No.: 3957293
Employee Social Security Number: XXX-XX-1234
Pay Period: 9/4/2014-9/18/2014
Pay Date: 10/3/14

       Current Earnings                                                                          Taxes Withheld

Type Hours Wage Total Type Current Year to Date
Regular 80 $10.00 $800.00 FICA-Medicare $18.30 $63.50
Overtime 20 $15.00 $300.00 FICA-Social Security $77.59 $486.27
Federal Tax $176.24 $1,090.62
State Tax $52.19 $292.43

Total Gross Income: $1,100.00
Y.T.D. Gross Income: $7,850.00

Total Taxes Withheld for this Pay Period: $324.32
Y.T.D. Taxes Withheld: $1932.82

Total Net Income: $775.68
Y.T.D. Total Net Income: $5917.18

Pay Stub Comprehension Questions

1.  How many hours did Ibrahim work?

2.  How much money did Ibrahim receive before taxes?

3.  How much money did Ibrahim receive after taxes?  How much money will he take home?

4.  How many weeks did Ibrahim work to earn this money?

5.  Why does Ibrahim earn more money for some of the hours he works?  Does he do two different jobs?

6.  What are the four different types of tax that Ibrahim has to pay?  Why do you think he needs to pay four different types of tax?

7.  Is this paycheck correct?  Check the math to make sure that Ibrahim received the correct amount of money for his work.

8.  What is the minimum amount that Raleigh ESL Hotel can legally pay Ibrahim for his work in the state of North Carolina?  Does Ibrahim earn more than or less than this amount?  If you do not know the minimum wage in North Carolina, read the information below.

Understanding Your Pay Stub

This pay stub has a lot of difficult vocabulary.  These are words that we need to understand finance in the United States.  Let’s look at some of these difficult vocabulary words and phrases:

  • Current Earnings – A person’s current earnings are the amount of money a person is receiving from a paycheck.
    • When you receive a paycheck, it is usually giving you money that you earned one week ago, two weeks ago, or even a month ago.  This gives your manager time to complete paperwork and send your taxes in for you.
      • This is very difficult for new employees, who often have to wait an extra week, two weeks, or even a month to receive the money that they already earned.
      • However, when you leave your job, you will probably receive one more paycheck after you leave to cover your last week of work.  If you quit your job, remember to ask your manager when you will receive your last paycheck.  Some jobs require you to collect a paycheck in person, while other jobs mail your paycheck or deposit it directly into your bank account.
  • Wage – A wage is the amount of money that you receive for one hour of work.
    • The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour before taxes.  This means that it is illegal for an employer to pay less than $7.25 per hour before taxes.
      • There is one common exception to this law: If a person is working in a job where he or she is earning tips that are expected to result in more than $7.25 per hour total, the employer is not required to pay this amount in addition to tips.
        • For this reason, servers in restaurants may earn as little as $2.13 per hour.  However, most people give a 15% to 20% tip to the server, when they pay for a meal.  For example, if a person orders a $20 meal, he or she would normally give a $3 or $4 tip to the server in addition to the $20 that he or she pays for the meal.  This causes many servers to earn significantly more than $7.25 per hour for their work.  They receive most of their money in cash.
    • Employees who work more than 40 hours in one week are required to receive overtime pay.
  • Overtime – An employee who works more than 40 hours receives overtime pay.  This is an increased wage for all hours worked after 40 hours.
    • Overtime pay is usually 1.5 (or one and one half) times the regular pay rate of an employee.
      • If an employee earns $7.25 per hour, overtime pay would be $10.88 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $8.00 per hour, overtime pay would be $12.00 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $10.00 per hour, the overtime pay would be $15.00 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $20.00 per hour, how much would the overtime pay be?
  • Gross Income – Gross income is the amount of money a person receives before taxes.  Most people never see this money in person because most companies pay your taxes to the government before they give you your paycheck.
    • Sometimes companies send in too much money for taxes.  This is why some people receive part or all of their money back from the government when they file taxes in April.
  • Year-to-Date – Year-to-Date is a term used to describe the amount of money that is earned or spent on taxes beginning this January and ending with this paycheck.  On some pay stubs, the words “Year-to-Date” are written as “Y.T.D.”
  • Taxes Withheld – The taxes withheld are the amount of money the company takes from your paycheck to give to the government.
  • FICA-Medicare – Medicare taxes are money that we pay to the government, so that we can have Medicare when we are older.  Medicare is a form of government health insurance offered to people over the age of 62, who have paid taxes throughout their lives.
  • FICA-Social Security – Social Security taxes are money that we give to the government, so that when we retire (at age 62 or older) or if we become disabled, the government will give us money each month to live.  How much money the government gives a retired or disabled person each month depends on how much money this person paid in taxes throughout his or her life and how old the person is when he or she accepts the money.
  • Federal Tax – The Federal Tax is money that we give to the United States government each time we receive a paycheck.
  • State Tax – The State Tax is money that we give to the state of North Carolina each time that we receive a paycheck.
  • Net Income – Your net income is the amount of money that you receive after your company pays taxes for you.  If you are self-employed, this is the amount of money you receive after you pay taxes.  Even if your company pays taxes for you, you still need to file taxes every April to make sure that your company paid the correct amount!  Not paying taxes can cause problems later if you apply for a visa, government assistance, or for US citizenship.

Reading Comprehension Questions:

1.  What is the difference between gross income and net income?

2.  Why do we pay Social Security and Medicare taxes?

3.  When is it okay for an employer to pay less than $7.25 per hour in North Carolina?  Why?

4.  What does Y.T.D. mean?

5.  When does a person earn overtime pay?

6.  If a person who earns $12 per hour earns 2 hours of overtime, how much overtime pay will this person receive.

Answering Common Questions that Appear on Online Job Applications

Here are some common questions that often appear on job applications and some ideas about how to answer the questions.

1.  What are your salary requirements?

  • This is a very difficult question.  Why?  The manager of a company knows the maximum amount that he or she can pay an employee.  If you ask for a salary that is too high, the manager will not call you for a job interview because the manager will think that you will not be interested in the job.  If you ask for a salary that is too low, the manager will hire you, but pay you less than other employees to do the same work.
  • How can I answer this question?  If possible, type “open.”  This means that you are willing to negotiate the salary.
  • If you are required to type an answer, it may be a good idea to do some research.  If you have a friend who works at this location, ask the friend what the salary for this position is.
  • You can also search for a company on to get an estimate of the salary of a given position at a given company.  Use this information only if you have no other options because the information can be outdated or inaccurate.

2.  Why did you leave your previous position?

  • This is another difficult question.  American employers do not like to hire applicants who complain about previous managers.  If you did not like a previous employer, it is not a good idea to talk about it on a job application or during a job interview.
  • It is better to use a personal reason, such as “I moved to the United States,” “I was offered a job with a higher salary,” “I wanted to go back to school,” or “I wanted to explore other career options.”
  • Do not offer too many details.  This answer should be short.

3.  List three references.

  • Your references can not be family members.
  • Your references should be someone who you know would say good things about you.
  • Good reference choices include: former supervisors who were impressed with your work, current or former instructors (teachers), or friends.
  • Remember to always tell your references when you are using their reference to apply for a job.  You want your references to be ready to say good things about you.

4.  Describe your job duties for a previous position.

  • A job duty is a responsibility that you had in a previous position.  Talk about what you were required to do.
  • Always list any responsibilities from a previous job that are similar to your current position first.

5.  Why are you interested in this position?

  • This is an opportunity to show that you have learned a little bit about the company that you are applying to.  You should say something positive that demonstrates understanding of the position.
    • For example, if the job requires serving large numbers of customers quickly, you can say “I prefer to work in an exciting, fast-paced atmosphere.”
  • If you have skills that are related to the position, this is an opportunity to talk about those skills.
    • For example, if you are applying for a cook position in a busy restaurant and you already have three years of cooking experience in a restaurant, you can say, “I would like to apply my extensive cooking skills to an exciting, fast-paced atmosphere.”
  • If you do not have the skills required for this position, now is the time to express interest in developing those skills.
    • For example, if you are applying for a cook position in restaurant, you can say, “I have always been interested in learning how to cook the highest quality food possible.  I think that I could develop excellent cooking skills in the environment that this position has to offer.”

English Exercise:

While applying for jobs, write down questions that are difficult to understand.  Write down questions that are difficult to answer.  Then:

1.  Click Leave a Reply

2.  Type your first name in the first box.

3.  Type your email address or “” in the second box.

4.  Type nothing in the third box.

5.  Type your questions in the fourth box.

I will add any questions that I see in the “Leave a Reply” box to the bottom of this article.  I will write an explanation for each question and some ideas for how to answer the questions.

The Conditional Tense Used in a Job Interview

Read the grammar lesson below.  Answer the questions, using the conditional tense.  Then, read the job interview dialog below the grammar lesson to see how the conditional tense is used in our everyday lives. 

The Conditional Tense: What would you do?

-We use the verb would to say what we think we may do in a hypothetical or imaginary situation (a situation that is not real at this time).

-To ask a question about a hypothetical situation, we use a past tense verb with the verb would.

        -If you were _______________, what would you do?

        -If you had _______________, what would you do?

        -If you worked ______________, what would you do?

.       -If you could _______________, what would you _________?

Examples of Questions:

1. If you were president, what would you do?

2. If you were rich, what would you do?

3. If you had children, what would you do?

4. If you worked on a farm, what would you do?

5.  If you could have any job, what would you be?

-To talk about a situation that is not real, we construct the sentence using a past tense verb and the verb would:

        -If I were _______________, I would ______________.

        -If I had ________________, I would ______________.

        -If I worked ________________, I would ______________.

Examples of Answers:

1. If I were president, I would try to increase the number of jobs.

2. If I were rich, I would open a homeless shelter with a school and a library.

3. If I had children, I would try to live in a small and safe city with good schools.

4. If I worked on a farm, I would harvest corn, strawberries, and tomatoes.

5.  If I could have any job, I would be a police officer.

Examples of Questions and Answers:

A: If a friend helped you to find a job, what would you do?
If a friend helped me to find a job, I would cook a special dinner for my friend.

B: If you had a headache, what would you do?
If I had a headache, I would take some aspirin.

C: If a customer was angry, what would you do?
If a customer was angry, I would remain calm and listen. Then, I would fix the problem. I would always be polite and professional.

D: If you could have any job, what job would you have? If I could have any job, I would be a nurse.

Conditional Tense: Practice Exercises

Now try answering the following questions, using the conditional tense.

1. If a friend helped you to find a job, what would you do?

2. If you had a headache, what would you do?

3. If a customer was angry, what would you do?

4. If you could have any job, what job would you have?

5. If you were rich, what would you do?

Job Interview Conversation Practice

Are you here for the job interview?

Yes. I am here for the job interview.

I see that you are ten minutes early. That is wonderful! It is nice to meet you.

It is nice to meet you too.

Let’s take a look at your job application. You have a very interesting job history. Tell me about it.

I have had many different jobs. I worked in a restaurant for three years, so I have a lot of customer service experience. In my country, I worked as a math teacher for five years, so I have a lot of teaching experience too.

What did you do before you were a math teacher?

Before I was a math teacher, I worked in a factory, where I used a sewing machine to make clothes. As a child, I also worked on my family’s farm for many years, so I have experience working in agriculture as well.

You have had a very interesting life. Now, I am going to ask you a couple of hypothetical questions. If a customer was unhappy, what would you do?

If a customer was unhappy, I would ask the customer about his or her experience. I would listen politely and find a solution to the problem as quickly as possible. I think it is very important to always be professional, efficient, and offer excellent customer service.

That’s a wonderful answer. If a coworker’s child was sick, what would you do?

If a coworker’s child was sick, I would offer to cover his or her shift.

Good. You sound like a team player. I think, given your experience and customer service skills, that you would be perfect for this job. When can you start?

I would like to start working immediately.

Excellent! Let me show you around and tell you more about the job.

Conversation Practice: Calling in Sick for Work

Answer the writing questions.  Then, read the conversation below with a friend.   

1.  What are some acceptable excuses for missing work?  When is it a good idea to call and tell your manager that you can not come to work?  For example, is it okay to miss work because you had a terrible car accident?

2.  What are some unacceptable excuses for missing work?  When is it a bad idea to call and tell your manager that you can not come to work?  For example, is it okay to miss work because you are feeling tired?

3.  When is it acceptable to miss school?  For example, is it okay to miss school when your child is in the hospital? 

4.  When is it unacceptable to miss school?  Is it okay to miss school when it is rainy outside?

Hello, this is ____________.  I need to speak to a manager.

None of the managers are available right now.  My name is ____________.  May I take a message?

Yes, thank you.  I am calling in sick for work today.

Oh no!  I am so sorry to hear that.  What’s wrong?

Well, I have a terrible cough, a fever, a headache, and some stomach problems.

I’m very sorry to hear that.  I will leave a message with the manager.  Can you repeat your name for me?

Yes.  My name is ____________.

Can you spell that for me?

Yes, my name is spelled _______________.

Okay.  Your name is spelled ______________.  Is that correct?

Yes, thank you.

What is your phone number?

My phone number is ______________.

Okay.  Your phone number is ______________.  Is that correct?

Yes.  Do you need any other information?

Yes, what time does your shift begin?

My shift begins in three hours.

Okay.  That’s everything I need.  I will ask the manager to call you back as soon as possible.  In the meantime, get some rest and drink lots of tea.  I hope we will see you tomorrow.

I hope so too.  I hate to call in sick.  I really need the money.

I understand, but it is better to stay home for one day, than to get sicker and have to miss a whole week of work later.  It is also important to protect other people from getting sick.

That’s very true.  Okay, I am going to drink some more tea and go to bed.  Thank you very much for taking that message for me.

You’re welcome.  Get well soon!

Thanks!  Bye!

Conversation Practice: Asking for a Job Application

Answer the questions about setting goals and looking for a job.  Then, read the conversation below. 

1.  What is your ideal job?  If you could have any job that you wanted, what job would you choose?  Why would you choose this job?

2.  What do you do when you need a job?  What can help you find a job?  What are good things to do during a job interview?  What should you not do during a job interview?


Hello and welcome to Raleigh Restaurant!  How may I help you?

Hello!  May I have a job application?

Absolutely.  First, tell me a little about yourself.  What is your name?

My name is ___________.  What is your name?

My name is ___________.  I am the owner of the restaurant.  What position would you like to apply for?

I would like to apply for the cook position.  I saw in the newspaper that you are hiring cooks.

That’s right!  Tell me, do you have experience as a cook?

I have been a professional cook for three years, but I have been cooking since I was twelve years old.  I have worked in three excellent restaurants.

Fantastic!  Are you looking for full time work or part time work?

I am looking for full time work.

Can you work on weekends?

Yes, I can work anytime on weekends and almost anytime on weekdays.

What times are you not available to work?

I cannot work in the mornings on weekdays because I have English class on Monday through Friday in the morning.  I am available any other time.

Okay.  When are you available to begin working?

I am available to begin working immediately.

Wonderful!  Here is a job application.  Can you come tomorrow at three o’clock in the afternoon for a job interview?


Excellent!  Fill this out and I will see you tomorrow at 3:00 in the afternoon!  Have a wonderful day!

You, too!  Bye!

Thinking About Your Future

It is important to make goals for the future, both for your English, your career in the United States, and your continued education here.  If you plan carefully, you can improve your English, get a job, get a better job, get a GED, learn new skills in Wake Tech classes, and/or get your degree.

Answer these questions to help you plan.

1.  We all have important skills and knowledge.  What skills and knowledge do you already have from your country or from the United States?

2.  What is your job today?

3.  What job do you want to have?  If you do not need a job, what do you want to do with your English?  What else do you want to learn?  What are your goals?

4.  What skills and knowledge do you need to reach your goals?

5.  What do you need to do to achieve these skills?  Do you need to go to class?  Do you need to practice at home?

6.  How much time will you spend each week working toward this goal?

7.  How long do you think it will take to achieve your goals?

8.  What do you need to do everyday to achieve your goals?

Asking for a Job Application

Read the dialog once with a friend.  Then, practice typing the dialog as a comment.

Hello, how are you?

I am wonderful, thanks.  How are you?

I am fine.  Can I have a job application?

Can you repeat that, please?

Yes, can I have a job application?

Yes, of course.  Wait one minute.


Here is a job application.

Thank you.

Are you available to work on weekends?

Yes.  I can work on Saturdays and Sundays.

Are you available to work nights?

Yes.  I can work any night of the week.

Fantastic!  By the way, my name is Daniel.  What is your name?

It is a pleasure to meet you, Daniel.  My name is _____________.

It is very nice to meet you, too.  Come back tomorrow with the job application, and we will talk about a job.

Thank you very much.  See you tomorrow!  Have a nice day!

You, too!  Bye!