By Helen Zeidman
Senior year of high school may seem to be full of freedom, but that luxury comes at the price of more responsibility. For example, without proper preparation, the required mock job interview can throw a curve in senior year.
Beginning on Nov. 9, seniors will arrive to school in blazers, ties, and pantyhose to look their best for the simulation. Over a span of three days, 368 seniors will present cover letters, resumes, and interview techniques to professionals from all fields.
Mrs. Kimberly Morris, the career awareness coordinator at Red Lion Area Senior High School who is in charge of the event, has been preparing students to exercise their life skills. Recently, Mrs. Morris has spent her days guiding students to perfection, or at least as close as they can get with a cover letter and resume.
The interview process includes coaching students on how to write the perfect materials. To impress their interviewers, both now and in the future, she stresses the importance of making a cover letter and resume spotless.
“There are no mistakes, whether that means spelling, grammar, or inconsistent spacing,” she said. “The thinking behind HR [human relations] is if you have all this time and it is not perfect, what will you do for me on the job?”
For high demand jobs, Mrs. Morris said that hundreds of applicants could be applying for one position. In these cases, a grammar error or a weak handshake could send an application to the garbage can.
Mrs. Morris encourages students to “proofread, proofread, proofread” and to have multiple people, including friends and teachers, look over their materials.
The seniors will need to present their resume and cover letter on the day of their scheduled interview. The process starts with an anxiety-filled wait in the library, where Mrs. Morris will give last minute tips and encouragement. Then, the students are introduced to their professional interviewer and the exercise begins. After answering questions for about 15 minutes, the professional will give the student feedback, both positive and negative, on their performance.
Her best advice is to prepare well, which includes planning the perfect outfit and practicing interview questions.
“The better you feel, the more confident you come across,” Mrs. Morris said. “Those 15 minutes could pass like it had only been two.”
Although the hopes of perfection can be intimidating, Mrs. Morris sticks by the benefits of practicing the life skill of interviewing successfully.
“Each one should be a learning experience,” Mrs. Morris said of job interviews. “Just learn something from it. It doesn’t have to be monumental. It can be something simple.”
For those who still have the pre-interview jitters, Mrs. Morris recommends practicing the soft skills that will impress interviewers, such as maintaining eye contact, keeping a firm handshake, and even just smiling.