3 tips on nailing your next job search from West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

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By UCD Program Managers
At the end of 2017, over 40,000 Philadelphians were unemployed, meaning that thousands of people were out looking for work. How many of those individuals were approaching their search with the right mindset?

Here at University City District, we started the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to connect talented West Philadelphia residents to employers in the district, and we help neighbors cultivate the tools they need to run a successful job search.

Our approach to soft and technical skills training has proven remarkably effective, with 93 percent of last year’s graduates obtaining living wage jobs that provide growth opportunities.

(Courtesy photo)

In the seven years since launching the Skills Initiative, we’ve talked to thousands of individuals who are looking for jobs; in 2017 alone, we received over 3,000 applications for our program. As a team, our expertise is helping people crack the code on finding meaningful work and thriving once on the job.


When people first come to the Skills Initiative, they have often been unemployed for long stretches of time, and feel understandably frustrated by the impersonal experience of sending résumés out into the void (or, most likely, into algorithm-driven online systems).

As a result, we see a lot of individuals taking a disorganized approach to their job search. The pressure to earn an income can lead people to apply for any open job they find, using a generic (and sometimes error-filled!) résumé without considering if they are qualified or even interested in the position.

From the moment someone connects to the Skills Initiative, we help them reframe their job search process. During our information sessions, we take the opportunity to illustrate how the WPSI application process mirrors the job search process. We ask — “Do you possess the skills and experience that we’re recruiting for? If you have those skills, did you fill out the application completely?” We discuss how a complete application demonstrates interest and attention to detail to a potential employer.

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