All posts by TaylorWrites Creative

I am a freelance journalist/blogger/copywriter based in Portmore, St Catherine. I blog about writing, education, small business, children ministry, lifestyle, current affairs personal technology and island life. I offer the following Writing Services - website pages - social media posts/ updates - blog posts and articles - tests and quizzes - family and life memoirs - corporate profiles - magazine and newsletter copy - email marketing copy - news reports - sales reports - press releases and press kits - advertising and sales promotions copy Editing and Proofreading I have an eagle eye for errors. I can edit or proofread your books, essays, technical/ business documents, academic documents- teacher and student materials, correspondence, resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Call or Email me today to discuss how I may help you with your writing or editing projects. Tel: 797-5997 Email: Find me on Facebook @ Polished Proofreading

Over 1K Young Jamaicans Set to Benefit from Job and UpSkilling Opportunities at Utech/Nestle Career Fairs This Week

nestle jamaica

Over the next two days, young career seekers will have a chance to grab opportunities to gain jobs and skills training with Nestle and other private sector partners that could advance their career paths.

The events will be sponsored by Nestle on separate days this week. The first on Thursday, March 16 will be The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) Annual Career Fair. Then on Friday, March 17, will be the Nestlé Needs YOUth Career Fair. Both events will be held at at the UTech Auditorium.

The Nestlé Jamaica-staged Career Fair is in keeping with a commitment made under its Nestlé Needs YOUth Initiative which will see the company providing job internships and training opportunities for youth over a three- year period. Nestle will recruit at least 10 young people between the ages of 18 and 29, offer at least 50 internships, provide employability skills training to at least 1,500 young people, and forge partnerships with suppliers and other private sector companies to create even more opportunities for recruitment, internships, and training.

Nestle will recruit at least 10 young people between the ages of 18 and 29, offer at least 50 internships, provide employability skills training to at least 1,500 young people. Through an Alliance for Youth campaign, the company will also be forging partnerships with suppliers and other private sector companies to create even more opportunities for recruitment, internships, and training.

Nestlé Needs YOUth Initiative was first launched in May 2016.

The Univeristy will also stage another Career Fair in the Western Region  on April 7.

jobfair2017 Mobay


Learn more about the UTech Annual Job Fair and registration details  here and more about the NESTLE Fair in this Observer report.


Day in the Life of A Hotel Laundry Attendant (The Job Deets You Need To Know)

Day in the life of a laundry attendant


One of the most damaging reviews a hotel guest can leave on a travel review site is to say that their hotel rooms was dirty, and scant attention paid to laundry and bed linen changes.

But it happens, and I’ve actually read a few of those, as recent as this morning.

People will forgive a lot of things but dealing with a lack of cleanliness during their vacation is not one of them. So hotels have to ensure they have staff that keeps rooms sparkling clean and guests/rooms stocked with clean, fresh linen and laundry.

To do this, they hire housekeeping and laundry attendants.

Do you get excited at the swish and churn of washing machines and turning dirty into clean?

Do you have an appreciation for the feel and smell of laundry fresh towels and linen and how they can give joy to your guests?

Then a laundry attendant’s job could be right up your alley.

What does the job entail?

The Laundry Attendant working in a hotel setting is a self-motivated person who can work well with a team. Your main duties involve assisting with washing, drying, sorting, folding, transporting, and distribution of all linens and guest clothing. Other duties may be assigned.

The ability to operate industrial laundry equipment is required. So is the ability to be understood by guests and work associates. Being courteous to guests is also a given if you’re signing up for any job in the hospitality sector.

This position requires continuous standing and movement, frequent bending, lifting and pulling up to 75 pounds of linen and carrying up to 50 pounds of linen during a shift.

The schedule requires flexibility and you’re expected to be reliable, patient and work quickly and cohesively with your team or alone.

You’ll need to follow instructions and work with minimal supervision.

A Day in the Life of A Laundry Attendant

Here is a list of your daily duties and competencies required to successfully perform the job:

  • Knowledge in hotel services especially in preparing and washing guests’and hotel’s laundry.
  • Knowledge and skills in washing, ironing and folding clothes and other hotel sheets.
  • Knowledge in operating big washing, drying and folding machines.

Daily, you are expected to apply diligence and care to

  • Ensure that all linens and guests’ clothes are covered at all times during transportation.
  • Treat Stains. Treat clothes and linens with stain remover and rubs with sponge or brush to remove spots or stains.
  • Sort and load clothes and linens according to colour and material in correct machines, add specified cleaning agents and set automatic controls on machines to handle cleaning task.
  • Remove clothes from equipment.
  • Sort and fold or hand clean dried items.
  • Use accepted techniques of folding linens and clothes for delivery to rooms.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the importance and use of infection control techniques.
  • Use protective equipment when working with soiled linens and possess the ability to learn the procedures for processing isolation linens.
  • Maintain inventory of all cleaning supplies and communicate needs to general manager
  • Maintain all laundry equipment and inform facilities manager as to any maintenance needs.
  • Perform additional laundry services when necessary.

Education and Training Requirements

No O’Levels are required for a laundromat attendant job. Read the job description provided by the company in its  job post. Three overseas job sites  I surveyed listed differing requirements:

  • At least High School graduate with 2-5 years experience as a laundry attendant.
  • Less than high school education; or up to one-month related experience or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Language Skills. Be able to read and write and understand the English language. Have the ability to read and comprehend simple instructions, short correspondence, and memos. Ability to write simple correspondence. Ability to effectively present information in one-on-one and small group situations to “resident or resident’s families” and other employees of the organization.
  • Mathematical Skills. None needed
  • Reasoning Ability. Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out detailed but uninvolved written or oral instructions. Ability to deal with problems involving a few concrete variables in standardized situations.

Prior job-related experience is preferred but not required. Attendants should be 18 years or older.

Other Qualifications – The Soft Skills

To perform the job successfully, the ideal candidate should demonstrate the following soft skills, traits and competencies:

  • Attention to detail and quality
  • Good judgement
  • Problem Solving
  • Professionalism
  • Customer Service
  • Safety and Security
  • Oral Communication skills
  • Attendance/Punctuality
  • Teamwork
  • Initiative
  • Ethics
  • Dependability
  • Planning/Organization

How Much Do Laundry Attendants Make?

According to, the average Laundry Attendant salary in the United States is approximately $US9.98 per hour.

In Jamaica, no salary report for a laundry attendant was immediately available at the time this post was published. However, according to salary survey of Jamaica reported by, a waiter with similar qualifications in the hotel sector earns about $40,000 per month.

The National minimum wage in Jamaica currently stands at $6,200 per 40 hr work week.



New Job Leads: Conduent Business Services Staffing Customer Care Jobs in St James & Kingston (Open House Tuesdays)



If you live in MoBay, you may wish to head over to Montego Freeport to apply for some immediate customer care/call centre openings that will be up for grabs at Conduent Business Services’ weekly Open House for job seekers held every Tuesday from 10 am to 4 pm.

These three jobs are listed on the company profile on the Caribbean Jobs Online  website, all for the company’s Montego Bay operations.

Job Field/Specialities:   

5. Travel and Telephone Banking Agents

6. Online Chat Agents

7. Collection Associate

Conduent Business Services is the company that recently took over XEROX’s BPO Services market when the companies separated back in December. Conduent has now launched itself as an independent company.

The company largely operates from 18m Southern Cross Blvd., Montego Freeport, Montego Bay in St James. Prior to its separation, Conduent was operating under the Xerox which is based in Naggo Head, Portmore, St Catherine.

Another search of the company Careers page turned up numerous other job leads. I’ve noticed that the company has job postings for Kingston. I have not been able to confirm whether Conduent does have a Kingston-based BPO, or if they will continue to operate on the Xerox Portmore premises despite the separation.

A search of the XEROX job revealed no BPO jobs. So the big question is whether the company intends to relocate its BPO services to Kingston. I don’t have the answers, but since the jobs have been posted and candidates are expected to apply online, then my best recommendation is to complete the electronic application on the site and see what comes of it.

The leads are legit, based on the dates they were posted, and a few have been listed on at least one other job search website as I’ve noted here. The links will take you to the actual job postings.

Conduent Job Board and listed the following:

Job Fields/Specialities:

  1. Customer Care – 18 positions
  2. Credit and Collections – 4 positions
  3. Administrative Support – 1 position
  4. Workforce Administration – 1 position

Go here and here to see lists of the available posts and apply online.

If all goes well, please come back and leave a review of your experience in the Comments below.

Who is Conduent?

Conduent is the world’s largest provider of diversified business process services for a significant portion of the healthcare industry in the United States as well as public transportation systems around the world.

The company says it does this by providing leading capabilities in transaction processing, automation, analytics and constituent experience.

“We work with both government and commercial customers in assisting them to deliver quality services to the people they serve.Whether it’s digital payments, claims processing, benefit administration, automated tolling, customer care or distributed learning –Conduent manages and modernizes these interactions to create value for both our clients and their constituents” the company literature states.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Conduent is an Equal Opportunity Employer. This means it considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, gender identity, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, use of a guide dog or service animal, military/veteran status, citizenship status, basis of genetic information, or any other group protected by law. People with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to apply or compete for employment with Conduent Business Services or one of its subsidiaries may request such accommodation(s) by sending an e-mail to Be sure to include your name, the job you are interested in, and the accommodation you are seeking.

Shift differential refers to the extra compensation a staff member receives for hours worked that are outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. A typical shift differential schedule would consist of hours worked between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Monday through Sunday.

Staff Benefits

The company also claims its employees enjoy these benefits:

  • Compensation package inclusive of base plus incentive and shift differential for some shifts
  • Convenient onsite clinic,7-days per week providing affordable healthcare access
  • Free shuttle service
  • Health Insurance Benefits
  • Company paid Life Insurance coverage
  • Educational Assistance Program
  • Free internet access
  • Flexible shifts
  • Career and Employee Development –Grow your career and earn possible promotions to Leadership positions and Operational roles in Information Technology, Human Resources, Accounts
  • Exciting opportunity to work across diverse industries-Healthcare, Retail, Travel, Banking and Technology
  • Twice-monthly Business Day (on-site financial company visits, providing service and convenience to employees)
  • Active Sports Programs with vibrant interdepartmental and business house competitions in basketball

Go here to learn more about Conduent.


Here are a few hacks that make my search faster and less tedious.

JOB SEARCH TIPS: It can get tiring to hunt for new leads every day when you are searching for a job. But did you know that you can subscribe to many of the popular job sites and receive updates in your email inbox , cutting the time spent searching?


You can also use search filters to narrow your search to exact job match. What do I mean by search filters? When you next visit your favourite job site, start by stating the  LOCATION, COUNTRY and even CITY you only want search results for. Other filters you may find are JOB TYPE (permanent, full time, part time, contract etc); then see if you can dig deeper to filter Job Category or Field (Education,Customer Service, Construction etc).

Some websites will allow you to filter your job search according to the relevancy and currency (most recent dates) as well as by COMPANY. Once youve ticked the boxes and enter the info into the relevant filter boxes, you should be provided with a list of job opportunities that closely matches exactly what you are looking for.

You can also use this search feature to filter jobs by job title and location as I did. My search returned this list of vacancies in Portmore.


Look for a prompt inviting you to register and sign up for job alerts.

All you have to do is register at the site.

Here are a few companies that offer job alerts for jobs.

  • Caribbean Jobs Online. To register to receive updates on jobs that meet your requirements,go here.
  • iBex Global is another. The company posts new job leads on its job portal, and promises several benefits to signing up. This is what iBex tells its subscribers:Joining our Talent Network will enhance your job search and application process. Whether you choose to apply or just leave your information, we look forward to staying connected with you.

    Receive alerts with new job opportunities that match your interests

    Receive relevant communications and updates from our organization

    Share job opportunities with family and friends through Social Media or email

  • See what the alert and search results look like here.
  • At Jam Jobs, there is no email alerts facility, however, you can sign up, gain a profile and search for jobs by applying search filters such as by city, title and company.

Go check them out now and see. You may find the job you’ve been looking  for.


Before you go. . .

Do you have an updated resume to upload to Conduent’s online platform?

Need a fresh set of eyes on an old one? Check out my discount offer to help your talent shine through the pages of your resume.

Check out my discount offer to help your talent shine through the pages of your resume.

resume-prep-adupdated Find the details (including my rates) here. Hop onto this opportunity today.



Spike Industries Needs Bike Salesmen

Do you have a bike with a cargo box attached? Spike Industries is currently employing bikers to join their sales force for their distribution region in and around Kingston.



Company Profile:  Spike Industries

Spike Industries is considered one of the leading manufacturers in the domestic beverages industry in Jamaica. The Jamaican-owned company was established in the early 1980’s and since has been producing fruit juices and other healthy beverages for domestic consumption. With one of the largest state-of-the-art beverage manufacturing plants in the country and a sizable fleet of trucks, Spike Industries’s known brand and distribution footprint has enabled the company to maintain a dominant position in the wholesale and retail distribution market. It continues to improve its product offerings based on local consumer demands and initial trends.

Business Name: Spike Industries Ltd.

Company Size: Medium

Business Address:  99 Windward Road, Kingston

Phone: 930-7414 / 938-3816

Total Number of  Employees: 50


How Many Vacancies Exist?

Unlimited, although I’m sure there will be a cut-off point. When asked, a contact at the company stated there was no specific number of bikers needed, so it’s pretty much open if you want to apply for the opportunity.

Required Education/Qualification: None stated. All you need is a working bike which has a cargo box attached to the back.

Where are these jobs?

Candidates will serve the company’s Kingston operations mostly, however, if it is convenient for you to travel from other parishes, the Spike contact said, you may apply. The company also has an operation in Sav-la-mar but the company spokesperson said she was uncertain whether there was a need in that area.

Best Advice: Apply even if you are outside the immediate region. If not needed for Kingston routes, your application would still be placed on file for consideration when rural sales work opportunities turn up.

I’m Interested. How Do I Apply? 

Use any of these three options to submit an application or express your interest.

Phone:930-7414 / 938-3816

Email: Send resumes to

Hand Deliver/Mail: Spike Industries Limited, 99 Windward Road, Kingston 2.





Job-Seekers: Send a professionally written resume that’s customised for this post. I’ll rehaul your current resume to showcase your experience, skillsets, and talents, all while de-emphasizing your weaknesses and career gaps. I’ll also write one for you from scratch.

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Sweetie Confectionery Is Hiring 10 Happy Workers (NVQJ Machine Operator Opportunities Included)


Are you a happy person? Would you work in a candy factory? If so, Jamaican candy manufacturer and distributor, Sweetie Confectionery needs you.

The fruit candy brand is hiring 10 happy workers. ‘Cause if you’re miserable, the candy may taste bad,’ a headline on the job pages of the company’s website explains cheekily.

Two job opportunities for certified National Vocation Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) factory staff are in the lot, so read on.

About Sweetie Confectionery

Sweetie Confectionery is a candy manufacturing start-up owned by TV weather woman and radio host Patria-Kaye Aarons. In 2015, the start-up launched its Caribbean-flavoured hard candy product line to include jujus, toffees and lollipops and has grown quickly with the opening of export markets in the Caribbean and United Staes.

The company lately introduced a sour line of candies and has embarked on an expansion programme which its CEO says will mean Sweetie Confectionery having its own factory space. The company has been using a coworking space arrangement with Jamaican mints candy manufacturer Miel.

The new Sweetie Confectionery factory space which will be launched in a few weeks, Ms Aarons noted, will accommodate the new hires that the company is now seeking. This expansion will also see island-wide distribution of the Sweetie candy products to wholesalers.


The positions that are now open for application are

1. Factory Supervisor

Job Type: Full Time

Required Education/Certification: NVQJ certification in Machine Operation, or equivalent

Job OverviewYou ensure that orders are filled and delivered on time.You will oversee our daily production operations and ensure that production remains an efficient process; meeting international health and safety regulations. You will be responsible for monitoring employees’ performances, organizing workflows and arranging employee shifts and schedules.

Qualifications: To be considered for this job, you’re required to have

  • problem-solving skills and a results-driven attitude
  • experience as a Factory Supervisor before or work in a similar role.
  • experience in the Food Industry would be a distinct advantage.
  • experience in using various types of manufacturing machinery and tools
  • organisational and leadership abilities
  • communication and interpersonal skills

2. Marketing Executive

Job Type: Full Time

Required Education/Certification: Diploma in Marketing

Job Overview: You ensure that the company achieves its Sales targets.
You will undertake Sales and Promotional activities to grow the Sweetie brand. You will organize campaigns and activities in the trade to ensure the company’s Distributors and Retailers are well supported. You will have a passion for getting products into the hands of Sweetie Confectionary’s customers at home and abroad.

Qualifications: The Marketing Executive is also required  to be “full of personality.” You will need to have

  • at least two-year Marketing and Sales experience.

You are expected to demonstrate these competencies to get the job:

  • Exceptional communication skills and attention to details
  • Understand market research techniques and data analysis
  • Be Familiar with social media and web analytics

Visit the Caribbean Sweetie website to see a full job description.

3. Production Team Member

Job Type: Full-Time

Required Education/Certification:

  • NVQJ certification in Machine Operation, or equivalent. (No Levels are stated)
  • 3 CXC subjects including Mathematics and English.
  • Food Handlers Permit

Job Overview: You ensure the brand’s candies look and taste the same way every time. You will be reliable and have a keen eye for detail, taking pride in ensuring that only the best products go through our factory doors. You will set up, maintain and execute the entire production process. Being a team player is essential since all tasks will require close collaboration with co-workers.

Qualifications: Sweetie’s ideal Production Team Member will meet the following criteria:

  • 2 years’ experience as a machine operator or Factory Production experience
  • Working knowledge of diverse high-speed machinery and measurement
  • Understanding of production procedures
  • Adherence to health and safety regulations
  • Attention to detail
  • High level of confidentiality
  • Teamwork and communication skills

Get the full job description here.

4. Driver


Job Type: Full-time

Required Education: 3 CXC subjects including Mathematics and English

Job Overview: You transport staff and products safely.

You must be a responsible driver who will represent our company well; pleasant and professional. The role will include daily transportation of staff, delivery of goods and general bearer duties.

Qualifications: You’ll have responsibility for the company’s valuable assets so you’ll need to have

  • a good driving record with no traffic violations
  • proven working experience as a driver (minimum 5 years)
  • a valid professional driver’s license
  • excellent organizational and time management skills

Learn more about this job.

What You Should Know to Increase Interview Success.

As mentioned before, happiness seems one of the non-negotiable criteria that successful candidates should possess to work at Sweetie Confectionery. So much that you should be oozing it, company CEO, Patria Kay Aarons says. So let your naturally happy and outgoing countenance and personality shine through at the interview.

Talk about interviews, this will not be your usual face to face two or three person interview where you answer a series of common questions posed by the interviewer facing you. Expect something a little different, says Ms. Aarons.

While your resume must make you look good on paper, you will have to demonstrate a number of employability skills to show you are a good fit for the company. Candidates will be interviewed in groups. You will answer some questions, but for the majority of the interview session, you should expect to participate in work-related improvisation type challenges which will evaluate your ability to function in a team, handle challenges and think critically.

Are you game for some Taboo?

If you’re applying for the Marketing executive job, expect to put your best game face on as your assessment will involve playing a game of Taboo, a classic card game that involves guessing. Never played before? Get familiar with the rules in this tutorial from wikiHow.

The boss will be watching not so much your aptitude for the game but your play attitudes. Do you exhibit fearlessness?

Can you use language, anticipate and answer questions skillfully?

Can you think critically?

Do you demonstrate grace under pressure? Are you a  good sportsman when you lose?

Are you a  good sportsman when you lose?

If you wrote a great résumé, played smart, demonstrated that you are a happiness engineer, have excellent group relations skills, communicated adeptly, proved that the skills outlined on your résumé are actual competencies, and prove throughout the exercise that you would fit well into the happy company culture at Sweetie Confectionery, you could walk away with the job.

Application deadline: February 17, 2017.

Send your application to

Learn about the company at

On Tuesday, the CEO revealed that the company has received nearly 1000 expressions of interest in the 10 jobs. This number will be whittled down to a short-list from which invitations for the interview will be sent.

 Impress with your Resume Documents

This means you have to make a good impression with your application documents. To help you prepare top notch cover letters and resumes, here are four resume blunders of note that the Sweetie Confectionery boss and other hiring managers aren’t amused by, and a fix for each.

BLUNDER #1. Applicant uses desperation by begging for a job or resorting to Christianese language. Desperate email headlines such as this one: “Lawd Jesus, please give me a job” may be outlandish enough to get her to open your email and view your application but if you do not possess the required skills, you’ll need much more than a will and a prayer to prevent your application from missing the disposal bin.

  • FIX: Keep the tone and language of your application appropriately formal and professional to match the context in which you are writing. You are not writing to a buddy, so don’t use casual language. Also, always specify the job post you are applying for.

BLUNDER #2.  Resume list hobbies that suggest time wasting activities. Modern resumes rarely list hobbies. If you are inclined to do so, however, try not to list “internet surfing” as a hobby. This may send the hiring manager the wrong impression about how you may choose to spend your time at work.

  • FIX: Leave ‘internet surfing’ off. If you must, list only hobbies that are applicable to the work context. Using heading such as INTERESTS or ADDITIONAL STRENGTHS may be the better ways to add other knowledge and strengths to your resume.

BLUNDER #3. RESUME only lists past jobs and dates worked. Or, past work experience has no relevance to the job being applied for.

  • FIX: Bosses don’t really care where you have worked. what they are interested in is how you can bring the best achievements from those experiences to their business to help them succeed. Therefore, only select related past jobs and your best achievements in the job role and elaborate on it to show that you are experienced, results-oriented and can deliver. As seen in the examples below, some people separate achievements from experience. Other persons combine the information under the EXPERIENCE heading.

BONUS TIP: To help you recall those targets you accomplished daily, weekly, monthly and/or quarterly, ask someone to interview you about your past jobs.

Use these questions:

  • What did you do daily at Company X?
  • What targets or quotas were you expect to achieve on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis?
  • Can you recall a particular time when you met or surpassed that target?
  • Explain in numbers or quantity, what the team’s or your personal work target, goal or quota was.
    • Example: My weekly target was to label and pack 3400 candies. 

Now, go further and quantify the significant achievement .

  • I increased this figure by 20% weekly for 3 consecutive quarters.

The thing to do is focus on the results of your work and you should be able to recall ideas to add to your resume.

Review these phrasing examples from an actual Factory Supervisor resume. Note the customised headings.


  • Initiated and implemented an extensive internal auditing process that enhanced the productivity by 20%
  •  Revised the company policy regarding Fab operations resulting in minimization of manufacturing faults
  • Received the best Manager Award in May 2011
  •  Provided extensive training to seven new inductees regarding Fab specifications


  • Factory Supervisor
    Burlington Coat Factory, Boynton Beach, FL | October 2011 – Present• Oversee the functioning and operation of open plant facility and related equipment
    • Coordinate with engineering and design team for productivity enhancement
    • Ensure timely stocking of material
    • Drive sales via maintenance of fruitful potential customer relations

    Factory Manager
    NIKE, Boynton Beach, FL | March 2010 – September 2011

    • Supervised and monitored the factory automation service cell
    • Performed cashier duties, processed transactions while receiving and delivering scheduled shipments
    • Coordinated with the factory staff and prepared notes for worker’s shift timings

  • BLUNDER #4: REFERENCES: To include or not include. Some resume experts feel it is not necessary to put your references on your resume. They argue that it is redundant as the hiring manager will most likely ask for these when they need them.

    I agree. I usually put a statement saying “Provided upon request.” But even that is seen as redundant as well by many modern resume writing coaches. The blunder many applicants need to be cautious about though is randomly stating referrers names and not assuming that any named references you add to your resume will be checked. Hiring managers recall on occasion when the person giving the reference did not give positive recommendations of the individual who listed the person as a reference.

    FIX: Don’t use or list references on your resume that won’t give a worthy recommendation of your past work. to avoid embarrassment, it’s always best to ask the person before putting their names down on your resume.

    It’s also quite okay ( I’ve read elsewhere) to jot down a few points summarising your achievements and milestones etc at the company or institution to jolt the memory of the referrer where the person may be busy and may not remember you. Also, inform them to expect the call from the HR department. If you are asked to bring in recommendation letters from your past company or training provided,  give your referrer a deadline to have said recommendation letter ready.

These are just a few of the pitfalls to avoid as you go after these job opportunities. Prepare your cover letters and resumes and ace that interview.


Need help preparing your application and resume? I can help you write a professional, customised cover letter and resume which markets your best qualifications for the post you are interested in and lets your personality shine through. Leave a comment below

Contact me for an affordable quote:Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor

Phone/ Whatsapp: 797-5997





NVQ-J Level 1 Paper: An Introduction to Effective Workplace Communication -Part 1




We spend most of our time doing it. We do it even in our sleep.

Even when we are not deliberately doing it, our bodies give away thoughts and feelings, so we end out doing it without trying.

It is a human activity, but some feel animals do it too. ( The jury is still out on that one as far as I am concerned.)



Whether we agree or not, a good grasp of communication skills is one of the key 21st century skills or the 4 C’s (AMA 2008) that are in demand by employers today.

In fact, based on an article carried in the 2011 Winter edition of the Journal of Career and Technical Education, your success as an employee and the stature you achieve going forward will hinge heavily on it.

According the document  titled ‘Employment Skills for 21st Century Workplace: The Gap Between Faculty and Student Perceptions’  cited three major business surveys  itemised communication as one of “the work skills that is  important for employment in the 21st century.”

These employer surveys were conducted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2008), The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the American Management Association (AMA).

All three found evidence that communication was the top-rated skill.  “When compared, these studies appear to build upon and reinforce one another in addressing the entry-level skills desired by employers, ” the writers concurred.

Here is what each report cited:

  • “. . . the top five skills employers sought were professionalism, teamwork, oral communication, ethics and social responsibility, and reading comprehension.” (Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2008)
  •  “. . . the top five skills sought by employers are communications skills, analytical skills, teamwork skills, technical skills and a strong work ethic.” (The NACE Research Report)
  • “. . . respondents indicated that not only do future workers need to be able to read, write, and perform arithmetic; but also they need the following skills: critical thinking (problem solving), communication, collaboration, and creativity (innovation), which will become even more important to organizations.” (AMA 2010)


Executives surveyed by the AMA were reportedly concerned about the high level of underskilled high school graduates who were entering the labour force and stated that “there is much room for improvement in today’s workforce in these areas” (AMA, 2010).

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills report further advanced in its conclusion the need for business and community leaders, policy makers, and educators “to work together so that future workers will have the workplace skills necessary to succeed”.

If that bit of data did not put to rest  any skepticism you may have as to why you need communication training, I hope that by the time you’re finished with your NVQ Level 1 Communication class, you will be able to appreciate and know the Why, What and How of effective communicative discourse.

The purpose of this and upcoming posts is to help you achieve this goal.  I will be looking at the essential points you need to know to be ready for your paper.


Let’s start with a definition of the term ‘Communication’.

The website offers this precise and extensive definition: “Communication is giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages through appropriate media, enabling individuals or groups to persuade, to seek information, to give information or to express emotions.”


Essentially we communicate so as to

  • exercise our influence on others
  • establish and maintain relationships, i.e. to foster friendships, networking and polite discourse
  • to give and seek information
  • to evoke changes in our and other’s attitudes
  • to  motivate others

Understanding the communication process helps you to receive and broadcast information that will have an effect on the flow of communication in the workplace. It doesn’t matter whether you are a plumber, electrician, hairdresser or IT technician, good communication skills are required in any job.

When working in a retail environment, you will be in contact with a wide range of people daily, including:

♦ Work colleagues

♦ Supervisors or managers

♦ Customers and/or clients

♦ Suppliers of goods and services such as delivery persons, banks, contractors, etc.

♦ General visitors

Developing effective communication skills is extremely important when you are in constant contact with people. Let’s look at why this is so.


The development of effective communication skills can greatly affect:

♦ The quality of customer service

♦ The delivery of customer service

♦ Workplace productivity

We communicate effectively when the same message sent is the same one received. In other words, the message that the sender transmits should be interpreted as closely to if not exactly what the sender intended and meant.

So if I tell you ”the sun is hot’, you should not hear, ‘get my hat’. And if that happens, it would indicate a breakdown in communication has occurred.

Effective communication skills can also assist you when:

♦ Resolving complaints and handling confrontations

♦ Participating in staff meetings

♦ Maintaining your personal rights as an employee

♦ In a learning and/or training situation



The communication process has seven basic elements that are essential for effective interaction. Those elements are:

♦ The context – the settings in which we communicate. Context can refer to

  • Place – church, conference, construction site, a client’s home or business place,
  • Event – staff meeting, customer’s meeting, party, wedding, funeral
  • Culture – Jamaican, American, Indian etc.

♦ The channel or mode – the methods, forms or types of communication we use to send our messages

  • Channels
    • Contracts
    • Blueprints
    • Safety talks
    • Health and safety committee minutes
    • Instructions
    • Face-to-face conversation
    • Telephone conversation
    • Email
    • Operating manuals

♦ The sender – the person or source who/which sends the message to the receiver.

♦ The receiver – the person or source who/which receives the message; this would be the listener or the reader.

Interference, distractions, or noise – anything that hinders, distorts or interrupts the transmission of a clear, positive message to the sender.

♦ The message – the what and how relayed during the communication transaction; the ideas, thoughts, feelings, and responses encoded and  conveyed by the senders and receivers.

  • The feedback – the response message sent by the receiver to the sender.

This Mindtools Video explains fully how each component works in what is known as the communication loop.


We communicate in three broad modes:

1. Verbally – using words (includes speaking and writing)

2. Non-verbally – using non-word based channels, such as body language

3. Visually – using graphics, images, colours such as signs, symbols, signals

We’ll explore this topic further in another post.

It’s now time to check what you have grasped from the lesson.


Read the scenario below and answer the questions that follow.


A site supervisor is in his office and wants to get some information about a new safety product being advertised by his supplier. He decides he will email the sales representative instead of phoning. He asks in his email about pricing, and has listed his requirements on an attachment.

An hour later, the sales representative sends a message back thanking him for his enquiry. However, he says that he did not receive the attachment.

The site supervisor re-sends the message with the attachment, and the sales representative responds shortly after with a listing of the varying versions of the product that the site supervisor expressed an interest in, along with prices and availability.

With your understanding of the communication process, and using the above example, answer the following questions:


1) What was the setting?


2) Who was the sender?



3) Who was the receiver?


4) What mode of communication was used?

5) What interference did the communication encounter?



6) What feedback did the sender receive?

I’ll discuss the answers in the next post. But go ahead and leave your answers in the Comment box below.



Writer’s Conundrum: Three Problem Word Pairs that still Confuse Me, and My Fixes for Them



I am ashamed to say it. I can’t remember the difference between fiction and nonfiction writing. No matter how many times I look it up, this pair of words continue to embarrass me. They refuse to stick in my brain.

A couple of homophones are also among the problem pairs that frequently force me to stop midsentence to go check my dictionary. These are

  • enquire and inquire
  • discreet and discrete

Today I am going to beat this confusion once and for all. Are you ready to join me?

Enquire vs inquire.

My conundrum most happens when I am writing a job application letter to enquire about vacancies. I stop to ponder, should I write, “I wish to enquire about the post … or “inquire about the post…”?

I’ve drawn on my word analysis knowledge about other verb/noun forms starting with the en– vs  in– initials. But the fact that this pair has verb forms and noun forms which are equally close in spelling doesn’t help to un-muddy the concept in my mind. Context clue knowledge, another strategy that can help decode unknown words, doesn’t help in this case either.

To tackle the problem I reach for my dictionary. Oxford online. Oxford, because my British English schooling has engendered a reserve about American dictionaries and word spelling, not meanings. Hence when I need to check words I habitually reach for a British dictionary. My regard for  Merriam Webster has grown. Web writing has changed the rules so I can write using both the Queen’s English and  American English. But,  I am still a creature of habit. No doubt you’ve noticed that in how I spell ‘colour’ and ‘programme’. But I digress.

Condundrum solved!

So, it turns out that all the hullabaloo was much ado about nothing. According to the reference page at, the usage of ‘enquiry’ vs ‘inquiry’ is more of a regional preference than any major discernible difference in meaning!  (Well, whoduv thunk it?)

It explains further that Americans like to use ‘inquire/inquiry’ and the British, ‘enquire/enquiry’.

Old habits are hard to divest and I now understand that the source of my confusion may have emanated from my old school English classes sticking with me. This explanation in the reference explains exactly where I am coming from:

“The traditional distinction between enquire and inquire is that enquire is to be used for general senses of ‘ask’, while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation’. In practice, however, enquire (and enquiry) is more common in British English while inquire (and inquiry) is more common in US English, but otherwise there is little discernible distinction in the way the words are used.”

I’m a tiny bit peeved, but much relieved that I no longer have to worry about committing  any grammatical gaffe at my next encounter with this troublesome pair, although I suppose with this new knowledge, I must now choose which to use based on where my audience comes from. As my American friends like to say, ‘no worries’.

One bugbear down.  Now It’s time for  no. 2.

2. Fiction and non-fiction

Hold a minute. Let me check up on this pair.  See what I told you?  I can’t tell you which is which without having to go look them up.

I know they refer to the two classifications of writing; I also know that one discusses an imaginary world, and the other is based on real world ideas, facts or opinions. The challenge I have to tackle is calling each by its right name.

I went in search of a reliable literary source to guide me.

Dan Kurkland at Critical posits these definitions:

Fiction: poems, stories, plays, novels

Nonfiction: newspaper stories, editorials, personal accounts, journal articles, textbooks, legal documents

How The Conundrum Happens

Further, Kurkland has posed one interesting reason why these words have gradually become more confusing to persons like me. The lines between fictional writing and nonfiction have become blurred because more writers of both genres are crossing over by using elements of each form.

And they have license to do so. “Writers of fiction such as novelists can write about real life experiences and characters (nonfiction) while historians  (writers of nonfiction) have incorporated imagined dialogue (fiction) to suggest the thoughts of historical figures,” Kurkland writes.

Let’s look at the movies. All fictional, right? Not quite. If  it’s a documentary movie, it  is nonfictional, and so is a movie review because the text is based on someone sharing their opinions about the movie.

Newspaper articles are nonfictional even when fabricated.

Well, if you have to figure out all this each time you have to use the term, wouldn’t you have a conundrum too?

My Fixes

Knowing all this really helps, but, I still have to unfog my mind so as to avoid making these blunder once and for all. So let’s look at three solutions to tackle these problem words.

1. Look at the  form  The writer, Dan Kurkland suggests looking at the appearance of the text to determine whether the work is fiction of non fiction. For example, fiction is commonly divided into three areas according to the general appearance of the text:

  • stories and novels: prose–that is, the usual paragraph structure–forming chapters
  • poetry: lines of varying length, forming stanzas
  • plays: spoken lines and stage directions, arranged in scenes and acts

That clue is very usable. I can see myself using that. But that’s not all.

2. Test the assertions    The next thing you can do is to look at the assertions in the text. “The test is not whether the assertions are true. Nonfiction can make false assertions, and often does. The question is whether the assertions claim to describe reality, no matter how speculative the discussion may be,” Kurkland explains.

3. Retain with mnemonics   After using these guidelines, it’s time to memorise. To help my students retain a difficult concept during my teaching days, I often used a memorisation strategy called  Mnemonics. Remember how your music teacher taught you the music score EGBDF by reciting Every Good Boy Deserves Favour? It’s almost thirty years and my mind has retained it. Can I apply it here to help me distinguish between fiction and nonfiction in the future. Let’s see.  I only need to know what ‘fiction’ means. I know that the prefix non– means not, so I don’t need to study ‘nonfiction’ since both words share a common base (fiction).

Here’s my mnemonic:

F– Fiction-writers

I – iconise

C– Cinderella

T– tales (as)

I– imaginative

O – organs of

N– tertainment

Now, to remember that. Oh well, I’ve tried. I’ll post it where I can see it frequently and recite it over the next three days until I know it.

This mnemonic may need further reinforcement to learn it. I am confident that writing this post will also help to rivet the differences in my mind. There are a few other tricks up my sleeve that I’ll be using additionally. Read on.


3. discreet and discrete

 Like many people you are probably very familiar with the adjective ‘discreet‘. People may have cautioned you to do this or that ‘discreetly’. But not many persons (unless they are math buffs)  know there was a word twin, spelt discrete. (I must admit the word is not new to me. If you read avidly you would have met the word.)
The pair constitutes what we call in English homophones (words that sound alike but are different in spelling or meaning or both). Both can be very confusing.
Problem lies in the differences
The confusion for most people including me, arises from not knowing or remembering what ‘discrete‘ means. Those who know may have trouble spelling the words correctly in usage.  offers this distinction between the two: 
Discreet implies the showing of reserve, prudence and cautiousness in one’s behavior or speech.
Discrete means something quite different – ‘distinct, separate, unrelated’.
My Fixes and Recommendations
Know. First learn the different meanings. It’s a good idea to read as many sentences as possible to see how the word is used. The Reference page of most online dictionaries provides a fair number of examples, but you can google the terms and find additional sites with plenty more examples.
Practice. For words to be committed into your personal vocabulary and your working memory, you need to reinforce through practice. In short, use the words. Practice on your family and work peers, even if it feels a little silly. When you speak and when you write, use them, repeatedly until they fall off your tongue easily.
Here are my attempts to do what I just advised.
Note how I’ve included the synonym (s) for the featured word at the end of the sentence in parentheses.
Usage Examples
  • A man who wants to  hide an affair from his wife is going to be very discreet. (cautious)
  • If you want to explain why an apple is not an orange and vice versa, you’ll probably talk about their discrete tastes and appearances. (separate, individual)
  • The organisation has three discrete divisions that handles consumer affairs. (separate, individual)

Try writing your own now.


Tackle spelling

If you are having difficulty with the spelling, this quick and easy mnemonic may be helpful. It’s simple to remember. Say it over and over. Write it on a sticky paper and attach it to your mirror, refrigerator or laptop cover. The frequent exposures can do the trick

Double duty Mnemonic:
The “ee’s” in discreet hide together in the middle of the word,
but the “t” in discrete separates them.
I love this one because it does double duty to help me attack my double trouble pair. Notice the key words in bold. Use them as synonyms to help you remember what each word means.
So let’s go over the strategies I’ve used and recommended  to conquer these vocabulary conundrums.
1. Look up the troublesome words in a dictionary. Get familiar with the part of speech; read the etymology (word origins)
2. Pay attention to how each word is used in sentences, lots of sentences. If you are hearing the word for the first time, try to figure out what it means from the context in which the speaker is using the word.
3. Practice using them in speaking and writing. Create your own sentences.
4. Use a memorisation strategy– mnemonics, frequent visual exposures, flash cards, anything that works for you– to help you retain the distinctions  you have learnt.
5. Bonus Fix: A bonus fix I haven’t discussed in the post is one that may be useful for those who learn visually. Use a Visual Thesaurus. I found one at It is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus with over 150,000 words and 120,000 meanings that allows you to discover the connections between words in a visual way. It comes with a subscription, but you can check out its 14-day trial version.
There may be some free ones out there so search and see what other sites have to offer.
Now that we have some word attack tools, go forth and fight for your write (pun intended).  Tell yourself you will not be defeated. Conquer the Conundrum.
Want to know whether my battle strategies were effective. I’ll do a follow post when next I have to use any of these words and tell you who won: the words or me. If these conundrums I’ve shared are yours also, I hope these fixes will help you too become a better writer.
Is there another Problem word pair you’d like me to look at? Share it in the Comment box below.