Helping young Eagle County job hunters |

Helping young Eagle County job hunters

Matt Terrell
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Matt Terrell/Vail DailyStudents at Berry Creek Middle School practice filling out job applications. Mangers from Smiling Moose Deli spent a class with the kids

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Ed Montovani regularly sees young, first-time job hunters walk into Smiling Moose deli in Edwards, Colorado at noon, the lunch rush hour, looking for an interview.

Their applications are sometimes unreadable. Misspelled words are everywhere. Sometimes they’ll come in wearing their dirty soccer uniforms after practice. Even if a student might make a great employee, he or she doesn’t know how to show it.

“As an employer, it’s all about first impressions,” Montovani said. “If I had to hire one, it’s the one who makes a good impression. Many kids who come in looking for a job don’t know what they’re doing.”

Montovani and Bryan Brutsch, director of operations for Smiling Moose, spent a couple class periods at Berry Creek Middle School this week, showing students what exactly is expected of them when they’re applying for jobs.

These students are in Christine Lundholm’s “Life Management Skills” class at the Edwards middle school. Students learn a little bit of everything here ” sewing, knitting, how to cook a three-course meal, growing herbs and how to throw together healthy snacks.

How to effectively hunt for a job seemed to fit right in.

The most important things, really, seem to be the basics that so many kids forget: look presentable, don’t show up sweaty and dirty after basketball practice, turn in a neat, proof-read application, and show up when the business isn’t hopping. He suggests that when kids look for jobs, that they ask for two applications, just so they have a backup and can correct mistakes.

After that first impression, students often aren’t ready for the interviews themselves.

“They don’t realize a manger is going to ask them personal questions,” Montovani said.

It may be as simple as “How would you describe yourself? and “What are your interests and hobbies?”

So, if students have skills ” they need to let their employer know, he said.

“I’m bilingual!” one student says.

“I’m on the soccer team!” another says.

Athletics are a great thing to see on an application, especially for students, Montovani said.

“It shows you’re a team player,” Montovani said.

Brutsch, while showing the students how to make a “Mighty Mo,” the deli’s signature ground beef sandwich, taught the students about sanitation and kitchen safety, which he said can give them a heads up for the work place, and also make cooking in their homes safer.

Asking the students if they helped cook in their homes, all of them raised their hands.

He told them about washing hands constantly, how to safely cut a tomato with your fingers bent under, how to let other people know you’re walking behind them with a knife, and how to make sure meats are cooked to the right temperature.

“Why do chefs wear hats?” he said.

“To keep hair out!” one student says. “And they look cool!” another says.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or

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