Job Ads and Applicants: Elementary Discussion

Design Guide

Designers for Learning - Adult Learning Zone

Part 1: Lesson Description

Lesson Title

Job Ads and Applicants: Elementary Discussion


This is a group-work lesson designed for students with low-intermediate to intermediate communication skills. The purpose of this lesson is to help students to familiarize themselves with basic elements of job ads (e.g. job title, role responsibilities, minimum qualifications, and company description), and how to compare the description in these categories to target job applicants. Through this lesson, students will learn how to analyze a job advertisement (nursing assistant job ad provided) and match example job applicants to the target job. They will also work to improve their discussion skills.

Learner Audience / Primary Users

This lesson is intended for a classroom setting with learners in groups of three to four. The content included in the lesson is targeted at learners with limited English communication skills. The lesson is targeted at learners who are interested in entering the job market, and who need to build confidence navigating and evaluating online job advertisements quickly and efficiently. Students’ backgrounds can include those with work experience or those entering the job market for the first time.

Educational Use

  • Curriculum / Instruction
  • Professional Development

College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment

  • Level: Adult Education
  • Grade Level: B
  • Subject: English Language Arts / Literacy
    • Strand: Reading
      • Sub-strand: Reading of Informational Text
        • Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently. (RI.2.5)
    • Strand: Speaking and Listening
      • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (SL.3.1)
      • Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail. (SL.3.3)



Material Type

  • Instructional Material

Learning Goals

In this lesson ABE ESL learners will:

  • Identify and describe the elements of a typical online job ad
  • Recognize and locate keywords in typical online job ad
  • Summarize a job applicant’s key skills and qualifications
  • Appraise and compare appropriate job applicants with target job ad


  • Designers for Learning
  • Adult Education
  • Job
  • Employment
  • Ads
  • Discussion
  • Applicant
  • CNA - Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Experience
  • Preferred
  • Required
  • Patients
  • Certification

Time Required for Lesson

30 minutes

Prior Knowledge

The learners must be able to read at an elementary level. Although work experience or experience applying for jobs would be valuable for the discussion, it is not essential.

Required Resources

Download: Job Ad CNA.docx

Download: Sample Job Applicants.docx

Lesson Author & License

  • Lesson Author: Martin Tuttle

Part 2: Lesson

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, the learner will:

  • Identify and describe the elements of a typical online job ad
  • Summarize a job applicant’s key skills and qualifications
  • Appraise and compare appropriate job applicants with target job ad

Lesson Topics

Key topics covered in this lesson include:

  • Online job ads
  • Ideal job applicants
  • Employability discussion
  • Job skills
  • Job qualifications

Context Summary

A common goal of many Adult Basic Education learners is upward mobility, whether it is attaining their first job, or changing careers based on new skills or qualifications achieved, learning to find and apply to an appropriate job can be daunting. This lesson aims to support learners with low levels of English communication skills develop confidence in understanding elements of online job ads and what employers are looking for and how they express that in their job ads. This lesson also helps point learners at possible valuable skills and qualifications that they themselves may already have or are near to achieving by examining some example descriptions of job applicants. Finally, it helps to develop communication language skills by providing opportunities for discussion.

Relevance to Practice

This lesson seeks to serve as a bridge for learners to move from their own individual employments goals to identifying appropriate online job advertisements and confidently apply for these jobs in the future. This can be achieved by developing an understanding of what job skills are needed in several Adult Basic Education common target fields of employment, how to identify any gaps in the job roles, responsibilities and qualifications described in the online job advertisement and their own current abilities and experience. Finally, they can set meaningful goals to chart a course to bridging these gaps in the future.

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Job Title
  • Job Duties
  • Qualifications
  • Required / Preferred Experience
  • Job Applicant
  • CNA - Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Patients
  • Certification

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Time: 3-5 minutes

Tell the students that they will be looking at job ads and descriptions of job applicants. To warm up ask students to brainstorm in groups or individually different kinds of jobs they know about, have worked, or wish to have in the future. After two to three minutes have them write their ideas on the board.


Time: 5 minutes

Tell the students that today’s goals are to become familiar with how these kinds of jobs are described in job ads and what qualities jobs applicants need to get these kinds of jobs. In groups ask the students to choose one of the jobs from the list on the board, and to work together describing the job and what skills or qualifications would be needed to perform this job. Then ask them to share their ideas as a class. You can write the qualifications they identify on the board under the job they describe. To transition to to the next part of the lesson, ask the students if they have ever read a job ad, and could name the different categories typically found there.

Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration

Time: 5 minutes

Handout the job advertisement that has been cut along the dotted lines. The sample job advertisement is a typical entry-level nursing position that has been simplified for the target learners of this lesson. In pairs or groups ask students to match the different sections with their appropriate heading, and put them in order: job title, job roles/responsibilities, qualifications, experience (required, preferred), and company description. Check back as a class, and show them the complete ad. Answer any questions about information in each section that learners found troubling. If it is not addressed, draw their attention to the difference between required and preferred. Finally, tell the students that they will decide between four job candidates who should get this job and why.

Guided Practice

Time: 8 minutes

Get students in groups of four. Cut up and hand out the sheets with the job applicant descriptions one description for each student. Have the students preview the information and underline important information. Then have them dictate a simple summary of that applicant to their group. The other students will take notes about the applicants they are told about, so that at the end they have all four applicants described on their paper.


Time: 7 minutes

Students will discuss in groups and decide which applicant they think should get the job. They must include a reason for their choice and each group must decide on only one choice. Finally, they will share their group’s choice with the class and discuss as a class. Through this the teacher can determine if the students understand the various elements of a job ad, and the information included in the description of each job applicant.


Time: 5 minutes

Ask students to write down their target job, describe it and its roles, responsibilities, and qualifications. Then ask them to circle which of these elements they think they already have. Underline the ones they don’t have and think about how they can get these. This could be done as a homework assignment. Learners could be directed to online job search engines and try to find an ad they are interested in and bring it into the next class, with their response and questions.

Part 3: Supplementary Resources & References

Supplementary Resources

Newspaper Job Ad Reading Practice:

Online Job Search Engines:

Online Job Search tips:



Attribution Statements


CC Attribution

This course content is offered by Designers for Learning under a CC Attribution license.
Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.        

(Design Guide effective March 29, 2016)

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