What to Wear to an Interview

By Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers

Most high school job seekers aren’t interviewing for professional positions. Instead, they’re usually looking for part-time jobs in retail, restaurants, babysitting, or even applying for volunteer positions. Accordingly, a teen’s interview attire doesn’t have to be exceedingly formal. In fact, a teen would look pretty silly in a full-blown business suit.

After submitting your resume, you will—hopefully—get a call back to schedule an interview. But, as is the case with any ​interview, it’s important to look well dressed and put together.

Choose Appropriate Interview Attire

When you’re dressing for a job interview, your clothing should be in good condition, wrinkle-free and, of course, work-place appropriate. Because a teen’s level of maturity is a significant factor for employers looking to hire young people, it’s especially important that teens dress modestly and tastefully.

Button-Down With Dark Slacks or Khakis

While high school job interviews generally don’t require formal clothing, it’s still important for teens to look well-dressed. A  button-down with a tasteful plaid pattern is a good choice for both young men and women, as it’s a look that appears properly put-together, but still relaxed and laid back. Paired with khakis, it’s the perfect choice for a first interview.

Polo Shirt With a Skirt or Slacks

A nice polo shirt is a fine choice for a high school job interview, especially if you’re applying for a summer job or interviewing in warm weather. Because it’s a more casual choice, though, make sure your pants or skirt make up for it. For example, choose khakis, not jeans, or tuck it into a modest-length skirt.

Button-Down With a Sweater and Khakis

A layered button-down, sweater, and khakis are a great option for an interview that might require dressier attire, but not something so formal as a blazer and tie. In fact, this look is a great one to have on hand in the closet, as it’s versatile enough that it’s appropriate for both casual and formal situations. Plus, having a few different sweaters and button-downs to combine in different ways also means you’ll automatically have an effortless selection of multiple interview outfits.

Polo Shirt With Dark Slacks or Khakis

Polo shirts work for boys, too. Even a “preppy” look bodes well for an interview. Remember to round off the look with something a little dressier, like a pair of pressed khakis, for example. And, both young men and women should take care to avoid sneakers or sandals! A pair of penny loafers or brown dress shoes would be a great way to finish off the outfit.

Button-Down With a Cardigan

Young women can opt for a button-down, too. Paired with a bright accessory to liven it up, the outfit is classic but contemporary. In this case, navy blue pants provide the finishing touch, but the ensemble would also work well with khaki pants or a skirt, too.

Dress Shirt and Slacks

A simple dress shirt is a perfect choice for a high school job interview. Paired with khakis, dark slacks, or maybe even tailored darkish jeans, it’s a look that is mature and tasteful, but still comfortable. But, without the addition of a tie, a blazer, or a sweater, it’s important that the shirt be stain-free, ironed and tucked in, so it doesn’t look like a random old button-down grabbed last minute from the back of a closet.

A Tie Can Make a Great Impression

Just because high school job interviews tend to be more casual, you don’t have to rule out a tie! After all, looking a little dressed up never hurt anyone. A solid button-down and conservative striped tie can be a great a choice for a young man looking to make a good impression. You could roll your sleeves to make the outfit feel just a bit more casual, rather than stuffy.

What Not to Wear

Your shoes should be moderate and you should avoid extreme hairstyles or colors. Also, keep makeup and perfume to a minimum. No jeans or shorts, no tank tops, crop tops, or anything especially low cut (shirt or pants) or too short (skirt or blouse)—keeping everything professional is a must.

Wednesday Workshop: College Apps 101

Need help with your college applications? Have a question about a scholarship? Want a second pair of eyes on your application essay? We’re here to help!

The first Wednesday Workshop will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 7:45-8:30 a.m. in the Guidance Office conference room. This week, members from the Guidance Office staff will be available to answer any questions Seniors have related to college applications, essays or scholarships.

Students are encouraged to stop in at any time during this time block. Bring your Chromebook to the workshop!

Please click here to RSVP for the 9/26 Workshop.

Alumni Feature | Tyler Hedge ’06

Why are you proud to be a Mountie? We’ve asked alumni to tell us about their postsecondary path, what they’re doing now, and how Southmont made an impact on their success. Check out our third alumni testimonial video in our “Proud To Be A Mountie” series!

Are you a Southmont alum who would like to participate in the “Proud To Be A Mountie” series? Or do you know of a former Mountie who we should talk to? Contact Samantha Cotten for more information.

When Should You Take the SAT?

Content Credit: The College Board Blog

Generally, students take the SAT for the first time in spring of their junior year. They usually test a second time in summer or fall of senior year, but the best time to take the SAT is different for everyone. It can depend on factors like your level of preparation and college application deadlines.

Key Things to Know About SAT Test Dates

The SAT is administered nationally in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. There are also school day administrations in the fall and spring for participating schools. So, you have at least seven opportunities to take the test each year.

Check out upcoming SAT test dates,  including anticipated test dates through 2021, and SAT registration deadlines.

When to Take the SAT

4 Things You Need to Know Before Picking an SAT Date

#1 Deadlines for college applications

It’s important to consider deadlines for your college applications when scheduling an SAT date so your scores will be delivered on time. Typically for a high school senior, regular decision deadlines are in December or January and the most common early action or early admission deadline is in NovemberBe sure to check the official deadlines for the colleges you plan on applying to. Use them as a guideline when figuring out when to take the SAT. And leave time for multiple attempts in case you want to retake the SAT.

FREE TOOL ALERT: Use Make a Plan at BigFuture with your College Board account to create and manage a list of key deadlines and dates you can access anywhere.

#2. Make time to practice 

Give yourself enough time to prep before the test date you choose. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel as you approach your SAT date. Set aside study time during breaks (summer and winter). Going on vacation? Take your study materials with you just in case you have some spare time (our Daily Practice app is great for this—see the link below). Here are a few quick links to get you started with your SAT prep:

  • Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy®: Free and personalized study for everyone. Take official full-length practice tests, use interactive practice, and get a tailored practice plan based on your PSAT/NMSQT results.
  • Daily Practice App: SAT prep you can use anytime, anywhere.
  • SAT Practice Tests: Simulate test day with official full-length SAT practice tests.
  • Sample Questions: Check out these questions so you’ll know what to expect on test day.

#3. School and personal commitments

You have a lot going on—classes, homework, extracurriculars, exams, jobs, family, and more. Consider these when picking a test date. Try to avoid taking the SAT at a time you might be EXTRA busy with finals, AP Exams, family occasions, big games, or school club events.

#4. High school classes help you prepare

The SAT tests general concepts you’re learning in your high school classes. All the English/language arts classes you’ve been taking since middle school will come to your aid when you take the SAT. Math classes like trigonometry, geometry, and algebra (elementary and intermediate) will be helpful too. So, if you haven’t taken a trig class yet, that’s a topic you might spend more time focusing on. If you’ve already taken classes like geometry and algebra, you can use your knowledge as a guide when you’re practicing and during the test.

When Should You Take the SAT?

College planning is a big step in your high school career and the SAT can be an important factor in your college admission process. Planning early and choosing test dates in advance will make your college application process a lot easier.

Check out this video for tips from other students on creating a timeline that works for you:

When should you take the SAT for the first time?

Take your first SAT in the spring of your junior year. This is the most logical time to take the SAT because it gives you time to make a study plan during the winter and during breaks. (Or even before that if you’re trying to be super prepared.) Once you get your SAT scores back you can use them as a guide to help you prepare for the next time you take the SAT if you need to.

When should you take the SAT a second time?

Didn’t reach your goal the first time? That’s totally okay—you have time to prep harder and get the score you want. Test again in fall of your senior year. There are three fall SAT test dates (August, October, and November), and 67% of students improve their score the second time around.

So pick the dates that are right for you and register here. If you have more questions, check out The College Board help page.

Alumni Feature | Dr. Dane Mishler ’06

Welcome back, Southmont! Why are you proud to be a Mountie? We’ve asked alumni to tell us about their postsecondary path, what they’re doing now, and how Southmont made an impact on their success. Check out our second alumni testimonial video in our “Proud To Be A Mountie” series!

Are you a Southmont alum who would like to participate in the “Proud To Be A Mountie” series? Or do you know of a former Mountie who we should talk to? Contact Samantha Cotten for more information.

Alumni Feature | Jessica Shelton Miller ’14

Why are you proud to be a Mountie? We’ve asked alumni to tell us about their postsecondary path, what they’re doing now, and how Southmont made an impact on their success. Check out our first alumni testimonial video in our “Proud To Be A Mountie” series!

 

 

Are you a Southmont Alumni who would like to participate in the “Proud To Be A Mountie” series? Or do you know of a former Mountie who we should talk to? Contact Samantha Cotten for more information.

Help Wanted

Are you still on the hunt for a summer job? Are you graduating next week, and ready to start a career immediately? Then don’t miss these new opportunities for Southmont students!

On Monday, May 21, two local industries will be at both A &B Lunches to promote their employment opportunities, and to recruit YOU! Be sure to visit the representatives from:

  • LSC Communications for more information on their summer help and their entry-level manufacturing jobs
  • The Maschoffs for information on their entry-level hog production positions, and their veterinary science internships

Additionally, SIX new job openings have been posted on the Job Board since last week. Check them out!

Need help with your resume? Not sure how to write that first email to an employer? Want to practice your interview? Then plan to visit Mrs. Cotten in the Guidance Office for more help.

 

Hey, It’s OK If You Don’t Know What You Want To Be When You Grow Up

With graduation just around the corner and another school year coming to an end, it’s nearly impossible not to think about the future and contemplate what may be in store for you. When thousands of high school and college students graduate this year, commencement speakers across the country will tell them to follow their dreams and pursue their passions. But how can you pursue your passions when you don’t know what they are yet?

The Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” taught us from childhood that we can steer our feet in any direction we choose. If you don’t know which direction you want to go in, fear not: Taking time to explore your interests and experiment with different career paths can actually benefit you in the long run.

Scroll through the list below for five reasons it’s OK if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up — and why that may even be a good thing.

 

1. It’s Better To Explore Than To Pigeonhole Yourself.

Before you get too stressed about not knowing what you want to do with your life, consider how much worse it would be to force yourself to do something that you’re not truly excited about. Getting stuck in a career when your heart isn’t in it will ultimately set you back more than taking time to find the right career for you. According to a 2008 School of Life survey, over half of 20s-somethings regret their career choice, and would choose a different path if they could go back and do it all over.

It’s scary to not know what you want to do or what the future will hold for you — but embracing that uncertainty and giving yourself time to experiment and explore is what will lead you to something you really love. So don’t rush to choose a career just because you think everyone else knows what the want to do.

 

2. Job & Career Changes Happen All The Time.

Particularly in the earlier part of your career, it’s likely that you’ll jump around between different jobs — which may or may not be in the same field — a number of times. It’s estimated that most American workers will change their careers roughly seven times in a lifetime, although that number is contested.

You can have a long, prolific career even if it doesn’t follow one linear trajectory. Martha Stewart started out as a stockbroker, and actors like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have gone on to find success and fulfillment in behind-the-camera roles after years of acting.

 

3. It’s Not About Finding Your Passion — It’s About Doing Something Valuable.

William MacAskill, founder of ethical career service 80,000 hours, recently wrote that the best career advice isn’t to follow your passion: It’s to do something valuable. “Do something that genuinely helps others and makes the world a better place in a major way,” he says.

So instead of creating an idea in your mind of what success looks like and how you can climb up the ladder to get there, instead think about how you can use your particular strengths and talents to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all for your career — just get started with something that serves others and makes you feel good, and let things develop from there. As MacAskill notes, research has found that job satisfaction is directly correlated with how much your work affects the well-being of others. Anyone can find a fulfilling career this way, without knowing exactly what they want to do.

 

4. It May Not Feel Like It, But You Still Have Lots Of Time.

And discovering your passion (or finding something valuable that you enjoy doing) doesn’t happen overnight. Some people know exactly what they want to do from childhood, while others discover their passions in college elective courses, and still others stumble upon what they truly love years into their first, second or third careers.

Vincent van Gogh, for instance, didn’t learn how to paint until his late 20s. Sylvester Stallone wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for “Rocky” in three and a half days when he was 29 years old, while balancing jobs at a deli and a movie theatre. The point is, you never know when inspiration will strike, so give it time to happen naturally.

 

5. You Can Enjoy The Exploration.

Figuring out what you want to do is about exploring all different sides of your personality. There are so many possibilities within ourselves, and choosing a career path is about looking at all those possibilities and turning one (or a few of them) into something lucrative. That process itself can give you a better understanding of who you are and what you value, so it’s not worth skipping over it in your race to the picking-a-career finish line.

Trust us, taking the time you need to explore will ensure that you end up doing exactly what you want to do!

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Content Credit: Huffington Post