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Preparing High School Students for the World of Work

April 18th, 2023

A female student being interviewed by a teacher.

Equipping students with the skills they need to be career and life ready is part of HCPSS’ Strategic Call to Action. One skill all students will need at some point in their life is interviewing, whether it’s for a part-time job while they’re still in school, an internship or even as they take their first step into their post-secondary career.

As part of HCPSS’ Career Preparation requirements for graduation, all students develop and update an individual four-year plan. The plan begins in 8th grade and gets revised annually as students meet with their school counselor. In their junior year, students create a resume and participate in simulated interviews during their high school’s World of Work event, which aims to help students prepare for the interview process.

A student participating in an interview.

“Interviewing is a skill that everyone needs and will use at some point in their life,” says Jill Altshuler, HCPSS Career and College Readiness counselor. “This event helps students understand how to approach and prepare for, and how to conduct themselves during the interview. We want to give students the skills and knowledge to perform at the highest level during an interview.”

All 12 HCPSS high schools host a World of Work event each year. Schools solicit local businesses and community members, and parents/guardians to interview students and provide feedback.

A female student being interviewed by a teacher.

Preparation for World of Work begins in students’ English classes, where they are taught how to craft a resume. Students are given tips and templates to help them create a usable resume that serves as a foundation they can build on as they finish high school and head to college or career.

School counselors visit each class to help them prepare for the interview itself. Students are given tips on subjects from how to dress professionally to what to expect from the interview process. They practice sample interview questions in class to help them feel more confident during the interview.

“Our goal is to help students feel like they can apply for a job and feel more confident when they interview for it,” says Jennifer McKechnie-Howe, Marriotts Ridge High School (MRHS) counselor. “We’ve helped them build their first resume, which they can continue to build on as they move through college or enter the workforce.”

A male student speaking to a woman during an interview.

MRHS held its World of Work event in March and here’s what some students had to say about their experience:

“I’ve already done a few interviews in the past, but I still think this was really helpful because it taught me more about resume building.” – Ethan

“It’s an incredible experience, especially to be offered at every school. It definitely saves a lot of stress if you were going into an actual interview because I know a lot of people right now are applying for jobs, as am I, so I think definitely it’s great to prepare for real-world situations. It also offers experiences for people to get to know themselves better and their strengths because it’s not something people think about a whole lot so to get the opportunity to do that is very special.” – Sarah

A male looking at a computer interviews a woman across the table.

“My interviewer asked really good questions and gave really good feedback about what I should keep or what I should change with my answers, so now when I go do an actual interview, I know how I can answer questions and what I did right so I can keep on doing it.” – Narah

“I think I was a little bit nervous as I went into it. But as I continued to talk to the person I was interviewing with, I definitely got a lot less nervous, and I think it definitely prepared me especially since the interview process is so multi-faceted. This definitely helped make sure I was learning how to properly interview for future experiences.” – Archana

“My interviewer gave me a lot of good advice and valuable critiques, like how to express myself in a future interview.” – Jaden