Putting Your Best Foot Forward

How to prep for an interview

Sophomores Audrey Callen and Maddy Schlautman practice their handshaking skills for a job interview.

Applying for one’s first job can be very stressful. As many high school students search for jobs, many wonder if they are putting their best foot forward. Luckily, there are people to help students prepare for every step of the application process, from finding the right job to deciding what outfit to wear during the interview.

The first step in the job application process is choosing which job you want to apply for. This step seems simple, but it can be challenging. One might be unsure which position would suit them best; however, there are helpful tips people can use.

One can take a career test. While these tests are not always accurate, they can help one discover their passions. Although, just following one’s passion may not always be the best choice. One website advises overlapping three of one’s passions to determine a job that would apply to all three. It is also essential to be practical when choosing a job. Don’t choose something that is too much of a “long shot.” One should choose a job that will help the person gain expertise and that is exciting to them.

Sophomore Audrey Callen worked as a lifeguard last summer.

“My job gave me a lot of skills I didn’t realize I was going to gain. Most importantly, I learned how to communicate with people on an everyday basis and in a professional way,” Audrey said.

Like Audrey, once a person finds the job they want, the next step is to apply for it. To apply, one might be asked to upload their resume. Many online websites provide free templates for people to create a resume. Some sites include Canva, Zety, Adobe, Novoresume, and Jobscan. However, many still wonder what to include in their resume.

Ms. Christine Holladay, Director of College Advising, has many tips to help students apply for a job.

“You should include any previous job experience [on your resume]. If it’s your first job, put volunteer experience in place of work experience. You can also list your clubs and activities if they can showcase traits that would be helpful for that particular job,” Ms. Holladay said.

If the workplace you applied for likes a person’s application and is interested to learn more about them, one might be asked to participate in an interview. Interviews may seem scary, but one can ease stress by adequately preparing for it.

One important thing to consider when going into an interview is what the interviewer will first see when one walks in. First impressions start with one’s outfit. If a person is unsure what to wear, dressing formally is always better than underdressing. Some employers may address appropriate attire to the applicant beforehand. Some might want applicants to dress in semiformal/business, business casual, or even casual.

Ms. Holladay knows that dressing appropriately for an interview is vital.

“You need to be comfortable, so it’s a balance. Think about the type of job you are applying for. Are there any expectations for what you should wear?” Ms. Holladay said.

Moreover, one should greet the interviewer with a firm handshake when stepping into the meeting. This shows that the applicant is formal and amiable. One should also bring any necessary paperwork the employer asked them to bring. Bringing a notebook and a pen is also helpful for taking notes.
Overall, one should apply for a job that highlights their passions and skills. When participating in an interview, one should show the interviewer what they can offer the company. They should ensure their character and skills are presented to the interviewer to consider; however, one should not stress about finding a job too much. If a job is meant to be, it will work out.