Have you ever done an interview before? Chances are, you probably have not. After all, you’ve probably had other things to worry about in your teen years. And doing interviews is usually what adults do when they try to find work, right? Even though interviews are thought of as something that adults do to find employment, many teenagers begin doing them as early as middle school. If you’re interested in learning about how you can prepare for a future interview, or if you’re looking for some general tips, then you’ve come to the right place!
I’ve done many interviews in the past school year. But like other teens, I didn’t do my first until high school. If this is you, don’t worry! In this guide, I’ll first begin by explaining why most teenagers have interviews. Next, I’ll give some examples of what you should do before any interview. And finally, I’ll explain things you should do during the interview, so you show the interviewer your best side.
Teens like you have many reasons to be interviewed. Sometimes you might be interviewed for a club officer role. Other times it might be for a school elective, such as ASB. But most of the time, teens are interviewed for their first jobs.
Even if you don’t have an interview coming soon, it’s a good idea to prepare for a future one. There are many things you should do to adequately prepare. These include setting up a resume, getting a proper outfit, doing a mock interview, and more!
MAKING A RESUME
First and foremost, it’s a great idea to create a resume. Unfortunately, they do take a bit of time to make. But even if the job or officer role doesn’t require one, making a resume is a fantastic way to learn about yourself. The easiest way to make one is through Google Docs or Word. Both applications have resume templates for you to use. The image shown in this post is one of Google Docs’ resume templates. This guide will cover a few of the sections shown in this example resume. However, many websites online can explain additional sections you may need and give you more temples to choose from.
(from Google Docs)
The first section you might see is the one labelled “Education”. Here, list what schools you’ve gone to, from elementary to your current school. As you get older, that section will eventually fill up with post-secondary education, so the elementary school and middle school info can be removed later on. However, you want to make your interviewer know that you are the best choice. Because of this, keep the elementary school/middle school info for now, especially if you won any awards during that time. The order of schools should be from current school to first school attended– so high school at the top, middle school in the middle, and lastly elementary school at the bottom of the section (kindergarten/pre-school is not needed on your resume!). You can discuss things like awards, achievements, club experience, and GPA there.
The next section is the one titled “Experience”. This is especially important because your interviewer wants to see if you’ve ever held a job/officer position before. Of course, this isn’t the sole factor in deciding whether you get the position or not. Even then, you should try your best to include this section in your resume. Try to make it relevant to what you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a job, list any instances where you have worked or volunteered.
On the bottom, you may see a section labeled “Projects”. Unless you have been part of a large project (such as a volunteering or fundraising project), you can ignore and remove it from your resume.
Finally, to the right, there are small sections labelled “Skills”, “Awards”, “Languages”, and “Hobbies” (not shown in the image). While they may be small, they’re still very important! Interviewers want to know your non-academic skills and passions.
In the skills section, you can write down what things you’re good at. Can you code? Good at using Excel/Google Sheets? Is it easy for you to go up to a stranger and make a conversation with them? Skills like these are very important and you should definitely write them down on your resume.
The next section asks for awards. It’s pretty self explanatory- just add any awards or achievements you won. These can be things such as winning a tennis tournament, placing in a writing contest, or any other relevant award. But stay away from participation awards!
The “Languages” section is also important for your interviewer. They want to know that you have acceptable English skills so you can easily communicate with others. In addition, knowing a non-English language is extremely useful, especially for a job, because you can communicate with customers/clients in another language they may prefer over English. If you do put a non-English language, write down the level which you can understand, speak, and read it. But, if you don’t speak another language, that’s totally fine! Unless you’re applying to be a translator, your interviewer should not count this against you.
My suggestion is that you wait for a break to make your resume. From my experience of making mine, it might take you several hours to finish it. Of course, if you have an interview coming up soon and a resume isn’t required, then you don’t have to spend time working on it.
RIGHT BEFORE AN INTERVIEW
If you have two weeks or less before your interview, don’t panic! While you still might have to do a few things, it will all pay off during the actual interview.
To begin, make sure you have the proper attire. That might sound a bit strange, but an interviewer (especially if they see you in-person) will see you before they hear what you have to say. In other words, your clothing will matter. Usually, club officers, school, and job interviews require you to wear business formal. This is typically a suit for guys and a pantsuit (or skirt) set for girls. Make sure you have a set before the interview happens! If you are unable to obtain business formal clothing, clothes that are clean and plain (no words) is acceptable. Just remember: if you dress to impress, then you will impress your interviewer, and they will prefer you over the other candidates!
Next, make sure you know how interviews work. You’ll be given a set time to be interviewed, and you will be expected to arrive a few minutes before this time. Once the interviewer lets you in, they will greet you and begin asking questions. You will answer each one of them as best as you can with a good amount of info. Finally, at the end, the interviewer will thank you and tell you when results will be sent out. After this, you can say farewell to them, and leave.
One final thing you can do to prepare for an interview is to set up a mock one. Ask a close friend, older sibling, or adult to be an “interviewer” and set up an interview with them. At this mock interview, answer the interviewer’s questions as if you were doing a real one. Once it’s finished, you can ask the person who mock interviewed you for any feedback. But don’t do this at your actual interview!
DURING THE INTERVIEW
The day of your interview has arrived. Everything you’ve done to prepare will pay off soon. However, there are a few things that you need to do during the interview. These things are extremely crucial. The interviewer has probably never seen you before, and does not know how you are as a person. Because of this, use your interview to demonstrate your best personal self.
First, make eye contact. It might be scary to do so, but the interviewer will appreciate doing so. It will help them understand that you are paying attention and are putting in effort in the interview. It’ll also keep the interview from feeling awkward. If you have trouble with keeping eye contact, then try practicing doing so during your mock interview. Also, make sure to sit with a good posture, too. Both of these will make your interviewer see your preparedness, so don’t skip them!
Next, be happy. That might sound a bit strange- after all, you might be feeling anxious. But by making yourself appear happy and eager to talk to the interviewer, you will score more points than someone who doesn’t do the same. So make sure you smile when you first meet the interviewer! And try to talk with some interest regarding the topic/job/role.
Lastly, remember that you are, well, human. You have interests, stories, knowledge, hobbies, and non-academic things that help define you. And your interviewer is human, too. When you answer questions, you can always bring up feelings, hobbies, and interests as you do so. It’s even better if those interests align with the interviewer’s (of course, this is only possible if the interviewer is a teacher). Your interviewer will realize that you have passion, and are willing to do things for your happiness, not just your college application or to earn money. Your “humanity” is one of the most important things that you should remember during (and even before!) an interview- and is one of the things that will help you the most.
All in all, interviews are only a small portion of the average teen’s life and worries. Whether you’re being interviewed for a job, officer role, or a class, proper preparation (and a bit of luck!) will ensure that you get that role. In fact, many of these tips will even help you as an adult, where you will have many more interviews. Whether it’s writing a resume or figuring out what to do during the interview, I hope that my experience doing interviews has helped you in some way, shape, or form. And, if you do have an interview coming up, I wish you good luck on that, as well as any future endeavors you partake in!
Post By ~ Sana