10 Tips For Teens To Prepare For An Interview

Job interviews are infamously anxiety-inducing, particularly when you haven’t ever experienced one before. The good news is that basic preparation goes a long way toward quelling those inevitable nerves.

10 Tips For Approaching Your Interviews

Here are 10 tips for approaching interviews so you can be sure you’re best conveying your strengths and charms when it matters.

(1) Read up on the company.

Research the business you’re applying to on its website so you can directly relate your own interests and skills to its mission.

(2) Have another set of eyes proofread your application.

You may think your application is concise and flawlessly constructed. It’s tough, though, to spot even glaring spelling or grammatical errors in our own work, especially if we’ve been slaving over it endlessly. Have somebody else proof the materials so silly mistakes don’t slip through.

(3) Role-play. 

Don’t just tremble at what you imagine an interview will be like—rehearse! No, you don’t know exactly what an interviewer will ask, but it’s easy to brainstorm a list of sample questions. Have somebody assume the role of your questioner and do several dry runs so you can practice your presentation and bearing.

(4) Plan a “business casual” outfit.

Appearance matters: You want your interview outfit to reflect your professionalism and suggest the diligence with which you’ll approach the job. Dress conservatively and smartly; don’t try to impress with bold fashion statements.

(5) Arrive early.

Come to the interview 15 minutes early: Punctuality shows organization and commitment. Don’t forget to turn off that cell phone: You don’t want a blaring ringer abruptly ruining your first impression.

(6) Send the right signals.

You may be saying all the right things, but if your body language is off you may be sabotaging yourself. Maintain direct eye contact and don’t give a limp handshake. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward, which project confidence and engagement. And remember to smile!

(7) Demonstrate your preparation.

Mention the research you’ve done on the company: Specifically cite a few details from the website (or whatever other materials you perused) and how they resonated with you.

(8) Be ready with questions.

Your interviewer will likely conclude by turning the tables and asking whether you have any questions. Don’t make the mistake of saying, “Nope!” Have some queries—about the company or the position, say—ready in advance.

(9) Inquire about the next step.

If it’s obvious that the interview is indeed winding down, highlight your initiative—and prove you really want the position—by inquiring about next steps. Ask, for example, about the hiring committee’s decision-making timeframe and whether you can provide any more details.

(10) Follow up.

Send a thank-you email after the interview, and again offer to supply any further information about yourself.

If you do your homework and rehearse a few times before an interview, you’ll likely discover on the morning of the big day that you’ve actually developed some well-earned self-confidence: You know your material and you’re ready to put your best foot forward. And that’s a great feeling!

How To Turn An Internship Into A Job

If you’ve managed to land an internship in a field that interests you—and if that internship introduces you to a strongly appealing corporate culture—you’re likely hopeful the experience will lead to a full-time position.

Approaching the opportunity like an extended interview will help get you in the proper mindset. Given an internship is easier to get than a job, it makes sense to directly leverage your time as an intern and the relationships you foster during it.

The following tips should help steer you in the right direction.

Work hard, act professionally, become invaluable.

Those admonitions are deceptively tough to follow, and in practice separate the outstanding intern from the merely capable one. Keep in mind at all times the promise of your internship—it could fundamentally shape your career—and use that wide-lens view to focus your efforts.

Dress and behave on a professional level. Even if workers around you gripe, don’t complain about the tasks at hand. Steer clear of office politics and gossip, and use social media only if the job requires it. Don’t call in sick unless it’s totally legitimate.

As you finish your internship, wrap up the projects assigned to you. For those tasks you won’t be able to complete before you leave, touch base with the colleague who’ll take them over, and brief your supervisor on your progress and the work that remains to be done.

Network and build relationships.

Introduce yourself around the workplace. Schedule regular meetings with mentors and supervisors, keeping them fully apprised of your work. If there’s a problem, present it—along with a possible solution.

An important component of any internship is asking questions. Take advantage of your position: It’s understood you’re here partly to learn the ropes of a particular industry, so pick the brains of your co-workers and superiors. They’ll be impressed with your forthright desire to learn. If you finish one task and don’t have another yet assigned, take the initiative and request more work.

Express gratitude and follow up.

Write a note to your supervisors and your colleagues thanking them for the internship experience and all of their assistance. Send follow-up emails, and ask straight-out for a full-time job by demonstrating your hard-earned inside knowledge and suggesting where your unique strengths could benefit the organization.

Doing well on that “extended interview” that is an internship can pay off hugely—sometimes directly with a job. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Winter is the time to think about a Summer Internship.

November has been a very busy month in our office, with many inquiries coming from college students home for Thanksgiving. The job market is still very tight for college graduates and those students in the know realize how important it is to describe internship experiences on their resume. These days, employers expect students to have multiple internships before they graduate.

For high school students, December and January are the perfect time to meet with Internship Connection to discuss career interests. Often students are not returning to summer camp, they may have already spent a summer traveling and college applications loom ahead.

We suggest taking advantage of Winter Break to begin the process of establishing an internship. Why so soon? The process is time consuming and actually involves the same steps as looking for a job:

  1. Thinking about your innate talents and/or academic interests.
  2. Researching which career fields would be relevant.
  3. Creating and sending a business resume.
  4. Prepping for a workplace interview
  5. Contacting businesses and organizations.

Let us make the process easy for you. Over the last eight years, we have established hundreds of internships with workplace mentors who trust our program and the students we send to them.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Internships for January Freshman

As the Director of Internship Connection, I have just finished arranging a fall government internship and homestay in Boston for a January freshman from Mexico. Joaquin has been accepted to Babson College starting in January.

“J-Frosh” is a concept that’s gaining popularity at many colleges including the Ivy League. There are so many wonderful students that colleges would like to accept but dorm rooms are at a premium. Space opens up when juniors take a semester abroad in the Spring- thus freeing up campus housing.

Joaquin wisely felt that the fall semester would give him the opportunity to build his resume, get familiar with Boston and brush up on his English. I look forward to welcoming him at the airport, giving him a tour of Boston (including Fenway Park of course)and taking him to his homestay.

Never too soon to create a Boston sports fan!

-Dr. Internship

Give your Internship Time to Develop

Now that many of our interns have started their internships, it’s important to stress that an intern should give the internship a bit of time to develop. Sometimes a student jumps to the conclusion on the very first day that the internship may not meet their expectations. That can be a crucial mistake.

Often in the beginning the two parties are just starting to get to know each other. Mentors need to appraise a student’s strengths and talents and interns need to learn about the organization. Simple assigned tasks will allow the student to get to know the office routines and employees’ roles in the company. At the same time, the mentor will learn which projects would best utilize the student’s skills.

After a while, mentors will be able to assign more meaningful projects and the interns will feel more confident about letting the mentor know the types of assignments they would like to work on.

Patience is the best policy!

-Dr. Internship

Internships: Enjoy the Unexpected

I just had an interesting conversation with a parent that I wanted to share. Sometimes the best part of an internship is what happens “between the lines.” When high school students and their parents are so hyper-focused on achieving an internship placement limited to a very narrow career choice, they may be missing the point. Students benefit from all aspects of an internship.

While on a college internship in production at MTV, my own son, when filing the contracts of the VJ’s (yes, that dreaded activity) he realized that he wanted to become the lawyer who drew up those contracts- hence his current career as a corporate lawyer in NYC.

Another son, while in high school, interned at a science start-up in Boston. He was fortunate to participate in many science-related activities, but what he found most interesting was learning about the VC firm that provided their initial round of funding- hence his current career in venture capital.

So, my advice is to be open to all types of internships- interning at a non-profit cooking program for inner-city kids may peak your interest in culinary, social work, marketing or fund raising. Expect the unexpected and run with it!

-Dr. Internship

Resume Tips for High School Students

Often the high school students we meet wonder if they have enough experience to list on a resume. The answer is yes! Activities outside of school that show responsibility may include mowing lawns, baby sitting, delivering newspapers, life guarding, camp CIT, etc. Activities in school may be newspaper staff, band member, a school trip to to Washington, D.C., Model UN, debate, etc.

Many of the students in our program have volunteer experience at a soup kitchen or at the Special Olympics, have participated in walks for charity, or delivered meals to the elderly. The best way way to describe these experiences is to use action verbs and “resume language”. If you were a lifeguard at the Dedham Racket Club, you might say: Responsible for monitoring pool area for violations and potential hazardous situations, maintaining pool and recreation areas, and teaching swimming classes.

Students tell us that once they have their resume, they simply add new experiences. More tips to come!

-Dr. Internship

Internships for College Graduates?

Lately, We’ve been contacted by graduates from prestigious colleges who haven’t been able to secure a job related to their college major. Well let us emphasize this; there is no shame, for many of you are in the same boat. An internship after college, paid or unpaid, gives you career exposure, builds your resume and provides valuable networking contacts that often lead to a job.

We recently placed an Ivy League English major on a prestigious government internship where she is using her writing talents, communicating to constituents. We connected a RISD furniture design major to a set design company for theater and trade shows. We brainstormed together and thought about different career fields that would make use of their talents and skills. A little tweaking of their resumes and voila- they were off in a new career direction. All it took was a little “out of the box” thinking.

Internship Connection

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