Implementation Guide

Job Application Essentials

Help your students think about and prepare for their firstjob—and help them earn a digital badge for their resume!


Are your students about to enter the working world for the first time? Are they getting ready to apply for summer jobs or internships? Are they stressed about the resume and interview process? SkillsBuild for Students and Educators’ “Preparing for your first job” course is a great resource to help them get comfortable with all aspects of a first job search. It covers:

  • how to build a personal brand
  • how to research the companies and roles you might like to apply for
  • how to craft a stand-out resume, even with no work experience, and
  • how to ace your interviewCo-created by IBM and NAF, this course is geared toward first-time job-seekers, but contains skills and practices that are relevant throughout your career, so it’s perfect for high school and college students alike.


Tags: workplace skills, job prep, high school, internship prep, mock interviews, resume


Language availability: English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), French


Recommended student audience:

  • K-12: 9th-12th grade 
  • College-level students


Connections to other SkillsBuild for Students and Educators learning: Students can further develop their employability skills further by completing IBM’s Professional Skills courses and badge.

Estimated time for students to complete the learning

~ 2 hours per module

~ 7-8 hours to complete 4 modules and earn badge

Implementation ideas

Do it in a week: Hold a “job prep week” and ask your students to complete one module per day (Monday-Thursday). On the final day, hold a live (virtual or in-person) interview day and reward the top three “candidates” based on the quality of their resumes and interview performance at the end of the day.


Do it over a unit/summer session: Use the corresponding educator resources and assign a module per week over a four-week time period. Build in time to check-in with students each day on what they’re learning and review the work they’re doing as part of the course. Assign credit or a grade based on their ability to earn the digital badge at the end of the unit.


Embed it in a class: Whether you’re a college and career readiness teacher, workplace learning teacher, or youth development professional working with students outside of school, you can assign the course periodically over the course of the academic year and use the educator materials that align to the course to ensure students have an opportunity to practice and debrief the skills learned through the course. Use our Job Application Essentials Curriculum Map lead your students in a comprehensive look into the subject. 

What others are saying

Overall, I found the Preparing for Your First Job course to be extremely helpful. It was user-friendly, the content was right on, and it gave my students a good reflection component to help broaden their point of view. — Latonia Atkins, Skyline High School


The Preparing for Your First Job course was excellent – the lessons were informative, broke down concepts step by step, and included engaging videos in each module. I loved that it was online and totally self-directed for my students. — Glenda Algaze, Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College