This article outlines an alternative approach to marketing yourself in the working world. It summarizes an idea of Jim Beqaj stressing the development of a personal infomercial which addresses four questions: What should you pay me for?; Who do I work best with?; How do I like to resolve conflict? and What’s my perfect day?.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):


Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is a personal infomercial?
  • What is its primary purpose?
  • What should it contain?

New Terminology:


Materials Needed:

Copies of the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

With the proliferation of social media and their increasing use by the younger members of the work force, ways of communicating and obtaining personal information have changed considerably. No longer are prospective employers and applicants restricted to such formal and established processes such as resumes and interviews. Indeed, even the nature of many interviews has changed dramatically.  Employers now frequently use social media to gather information on prospective employees and have much more varied and far-reaching interview strategies. To this new mix, Jim Beaj, a former president of CIBC Wood Gundy, adds the idea of a personal infomercial which serves not only as a self-introduction method but also as a process of self-discovery to ensure that the job is an appropriate fit. This lesson will lead the students through the nature of these infomercials and have the students develop one as a means of deepening their understanding of this approach.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students what they would expect would be the normal process for applying for a full time position.
  • Once they have presented their ideas ensure that both resumes and interviews have been identified as part of the normal process.
  • Ask them to identify what they think happens in a typical interview.
  • Once you have heard their ideas indicate to them that many interviews now involve a performance task and other activities which allow the candidate to demonstrate their skills and experience rather than just talk about them.
  • Indicate to them that the nature of hiring practices is rapidly changing and that social media are now considered a legitimate source of information about an individual.
  • With this as basic background talk with them about the true purposes of hiring practices and that, in addition to the employer getting an opportunity to take stock of the potential hire there is the added purpose of allowing the applicant to decide if this is the job they would like to have.
  • Explain to them now that there is a proposal for a different way of making yourself known and determining if the job is the right one for you.
  • At this point give them a copy of the article and tell them that this deals with the idea of developing a personal infomercial.
  • Allow them time to read the article and then get their responses to it.
  • With these activities completed indicate to them that they are going to be asked to develop an infomercial for a person that their group is going to create.
  • Put the students in groups of five or six and give them the following task.
    • Create a fictitious character who is going to develop an infomercial in order to present to prospective employers.
    • In order to have a complete profile to work with you must develop the following information about your character:
      • Age
      • Sex
      • Marital status (identifying children if appropriate)
      • Field of employment
      • Years of experience and nature of the experiences including positions held
      • Financial situation
      • Any other relevant information you deem necessary
  • Allow the groups time to create their character and then have each group present their profile to the class, getting responses relative to any additional information that might be helpful.
  • Once this has been completed have the groups prepare an infomercial for character. Each group should appoint a member of their group who will perform the infomercial live for the class.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • The students will perform their infomercial and respond to any positive and constructive suggestions from the class.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • understand that hiring processes are changing
  • recognize that social media are being used to gather information
  • experience a potentially new form of marketing yourself to prospective employers and ensuring basic understanding of yourself and whether this job is a good fit for you.

Confirming Activity:

  • Once the presentations have been made conduct a plenary session during which the students can discuss the merits and demerits of this approach and what they learned about themselves in the process.