Pragmatic Tips for Parents: Internship Connection Interview with Boston Tech Mom

“My son is great in math. He may be interested in engineering but is not sure if he should apply to a liberal arts college or engineering school.”

Getting exposure in high school to a field the student may be interested in gives them the chance to “try on” a career. They will absorb the work culture, understand what the day-to-day experience is like and the types of projects people work on. Often the experience confirms a career interest but sometimes the student realizes that field is not right for them. It’s certainly better to discover this early on. These days too many students lose time and money by changing their college majors mid- course.
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Should You Include High School Experience On Your College Resume?

Continuing our series on resume writing, college students often ask us if they should include their high school experiences on a college resume.


Staff members at college career centers will often tell students that once in college, you should never list high school activities on a resume. However, from our perspective, most college freshman and even sophomores really don’t have enough college experiences that would reveal enough to a potential employer.


Plus, students should really be focusing on academics for the first year! Therefore, we suggest a combination resume that lists college activities first and relevant high school activities second. As the student gains more experience each year, high school activities can be pared down or eliminated.


Here is a resume that includes both high school and college experiences:

Sample College Resume

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High School Resume Guidance For Upward Bound Students

December/January is the time of year students should be thinking about summer jobs and internships. Creating a high school resume is the first step necessary before reaching out to a potential place of work.


We recommend that students create a 1-page resume, listing only their most important activities and experiences. The rule of thumb for resumes is 1 page per 10 years of experience.


Sample Format for a Chronological Resume using Action Verbs.


* The sections for athletics and honors can be omitted if not applicable.


high school resume


When describing degree of expertise in language:


For basic knowledge, use the term: “working knowledge of Mandarin”

Higher level, use the term “proficient in Spanish”

Most advanced would be “fluent” in French”


Now you are ready to apply!


Once you create a resume, you should update it every year, putting your most recent experiences first. Not only will you have a resume on hand as positions come up but you will have one ready to go for your college applications.


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5 Tips To Help You Think About Your Career

Thinking about a career


As early as sophomore year in college, students are expected to choose a college major, but without workplace exposure, how is a student really able to make that determination?


Too many college students switch their majors, mainly because they haven’t gained the career exposure necessary to make a career decision. Participating in a summer internship is one of the best ways for a high school or college student to “try on a career,” gain work experience in the field of their choice and walk away with a solid letter of recommendation.


An internship can either confirm a career interest or lead the student in a new direction, saving valuable time and money. Often an internship is the first step in building a resume, offers the opportunity for networking, and provides the student with confidence and life-skills for the future.


Identify an initial career interest, then gain career exposure through an internship related to that interest.


1. Think about a subject in school that interests you.


Perhaps you have several interests that could be combined in an internship. If you like to write and you also enjoy music, the communications department of a symphony orchestra would be one place to begin. If you are interested in the environment but also business, you might think about a green technology start-up.


2. Do you spend time on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter?


These days students are versed in social networking and employers simply don’t have time to dedicate to these important tasks. If you a decent writer you could even work on a company’s blog.


3. Do you have a particular talent?


An internship would provide an opportunity for you to understand how that talent could be applied to the workplace. For example, artistic ability is sorely needed for every organization in terms of web design, marketing materials and photography. If you enjoy acting, interning behind the scenes for a theater company would be great exposure.


4. Computer skills are sought out by every business.


If you are familiar with Power Point, Excel or basic programming, your skills would be highly valued in the workplace.


5. Has a travel experience inspired you?


Perhaps you participated in a travel program or school field trip that inspired you. Community Service work can be parlayed into an internship. For example, previous experience with Habitat for Humanity abroad could be applied to organizations in your own city. A field trip to Washington, DC could be inspiration for a government internship in your own city or state.


Whatever your initial thoughts are related to a potential career, early and successive internships will help you decide on what career is best for you.


Learn how Internship Connection made an impact on these students’ careers.


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6 Tips on Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

Recommendation letters students received during Internship Connection program


Whether on a job or internship, asking for a letter of recommendation is one of the most stressful but important tasks. Students in our program tell us that they use their letters for many years to come.


Here are a few helpful tips:


1. Ask your immediate supervisor, the person who you are working directly under.


2. Don’t wait until the end of your internship. Two weeks before your end date would give your mentor enough time.


3. Ask if you could possibly get the letter on your last day but have a stamped, self-addressed envelope ready to give them in case they need more time.


4. Hand them a written request. This will make it much easier for your mentor.


Your letter requesting the recommendation should look something like this:


I have learned so much working here. If possible, I would appreciate a letter of recommendation on your company letterhead for my files. I will be using this letter for college and work applications.


My email is:
My mailing address is:


I would appreciate a hard, signed copy as well as a digital signed copy.


It should be addressed as: To Whom It may Concern


Since colleges are particularly interested in my academic interests, I have described them below. If possible, I wondered if you might mention them and how they related to the internship.


 My academic interests are:


I have also bulleted a list of tasks and activities that I participated in on this job:


Thank you for taking the time to mentor me on my internship.


-Your name


5. Don’t pester your mentor if you haven’t received the letter. Wait 1 month and only ask them one more time.


6. After you receive your letter of recommendation, send a hand-written thank you note.


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What To Wear: Fashion Dos And Don’ts For Your Summer Internship

business people professional clothes

Dear students,


Many of you have asked me about how to dress professionally for work and my suggestion is to dress as professionally as possible, especially for the first day. Once you begin, you will be able to pick up clues from your co-workers. That being said, if someone is wearing flip flops, a top with their midriff showing, or torn jeans, that does not mean that you should too!


I have had several interns at a fantastic company called Wayfair where business casual is welcomed. The Director of Recruitment once told me that as the summer goes on, they notice that some of their full time employees’ mode of dress tends to get more and more casual (inappropriate shorts, T-shirts and flip flops) He mentioned that the executives in the company take note of this and not in a good way.


For some of you working in a start-up environment, you may pick up cues from your office mates. Startup workplaces may be much more casual.


Summer attire Dos and Don’ts

Experts offer the following guidelines for business casual dress:



– Khakis
– Dark dress jeans may be ok but consult with your mentor.
– Low heeled shoes. Sandals are fine but not flip-flops.
– Polo shirts
– Tailored jackets
– Blouses
– Skirts, not too short.
– Sundresses are OK but wear with a cardigan sweater



– Flip-flops
– Shorts
– Wrinkled clothing
– Clothes that are too tight, too loose or low cut.
– Torn jeans


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15 Guidelines For Interns To Achieve Professionalism In The Workplace

good and bad behavior

Here are 15 helpful guidelines for interns who want to achieve high levels of professionalism in the workplace:


1. Most important- Always be on time! In an emergency, call if late.


2. Dress in a professional manner.

• Ask your mentor what’s appropriate for the office.


3. Develop a good relationship with your Mentor:

• Make sure you understand his/her expectations.

• Keep your mentor up-to-date on the projects you’re involved in.

• Follow-up on your mentor’s requests right away.

• Be willing to take on new (and sometimes dull) responsibilities.

• Distinguish between problems that require your mentor’s attention and those that you might handle alone.

• Don’t take things too personally- do your best to think positively.


4. Develop a good relationship with co-workers:

• Be friendly.

• Don’t speak critically of others or the company policies.

• Be a good listener.

• Know where you fit in the hierarchy-this effects how you deal with others.

Develop a team mentality:

Take the initiative, but don’t over-step your bounds.

• Complete assignments on time.

• Ask if there’s anything else you can do.


5. Arrange to receive a schedule, if applicable, to learn what meetings to attend, what information you should have in advance, what role you should play, etc.


6. Speak up! Don’t be afraid to make suggestions and ask questions. Your mentor is a busy person and will want you to take as much initiative as possible in establishing a good working relationship.


7. Get to know your mentor’s secretary/assistant. She/he can be very helpful.


8. Try to learn as much as you can about your work environment. With permission, move around to other offices; try to meet other key people to learn what they do, etc.


9. Let someone in the office know where you are at all times: where you are going, where you can be reached by telephone, when you will be back.


10. Plan to spend the first two weeks getting to know your mentor, the staff and the company. Ask your mentor if there might be a special project that you might work on. This will help you to establish your own activities at the workplace.


11. Take notes about everything. Notes provide a good record about what you should be doing at work and will be a handy reference for journal entries and later on your college application essays.


12. See if you can establish a meeting time with your mentor on a weekly basis when you can discuss questions you have written down, what you’re learning, plans for the future, etc. You may have to take the initiative in this regard, but it’s very important that they get to know you as an individual.


13. Be a volunteer. Think of additional ways that you can increase your value and learn more about the office. For example, you might volunteer to follow-up on phone calls and or correspondence.


14. When calling other offices, emphasize the name of the Mentor rather than your own name. Example: “This is Commissioner John Smith’s office calling, and my name is Joe Johnson.” You will get faster results this way.


15. Finally, at the end of your internship, send a hand written thank you note to your mentor.

Many of our students keep in touch with their mentors for years to come.


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10 Tips For Teens To Prepare For An Interview

Interview preparation


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!


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How To Turn An Internship Into A Job

Students and mentors gathered around laptop

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!


Photo credit: Saad Faruque

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