How long should my resume be? What questions do I ask in an interview? And what really is business casual?

Preparing students for the professional world is crucial to their ongoing success post-high school. That’s why WriteBoston hosted its first-ever Professional Skills Day this February for about 15 Boston high schoolers.

Volunteer professionals from around the city supported students with resume writing and professional interview skills to prepare them for summer jobs and internships. 

students and professionals smile

Round I: Resume Redux

The event kicked off with a morning resume writing session. Local professionals and students discussed best practices of the modern resume in an interactive presentation. Students learned about resume design, structure, and the secret to writing the perfect bullet point.

Most of our students have limited job experience, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t learned a whole suite of applicable skills. So we learned how to spin: turning a statement of fact into a descriptive selling point!

  • Initial statement: “I did theater”
  • With a spin: “Participated in my church’s theater club for 5 years where I led weekly production meetings”

Next, students were paired off with their own professional mentor, to draft, revise, or proofread their resumes. All students left with a clean and up-to-date resume ready to send to potential employers!

90% of students said they felt confident and excited to apply for jobs or internships by the end of the event.

2 students and 2 adults at a table doing mock job interviews

Students paired up 1:1 with adult professionals to write, design, and edit their resumes.

Round II: Mock Interviews

After lunch, mentors and students settled in for a two-hour mock interview session, where they learned about the verbal and non-verbal components of the interview process. (The best interview advice, in our opinion, was on active listening. Put bluntly: “Even if you’re bored, act interested, and listen politely.”)

With help from writing mentors, students explored the different ways to clearly and positively convey their experiences in an interview, and ask specific, job-related questions to an interviewer. Then students and mentors paired off for 15 minute interview role plays. They riffed off of real job descriptions. (Including everyone’s dream job: a summer internship at the New England Aquarium!)

After the first mock interview, students received feedback from their mentors and then applied that feedback in a second mock interview with a different mentor. Students left the session with polished interview skills that will set them up for career success. 

“Being able to do a mock interview made me feel more ready and comfortable in my skills.”

– Student Interviewee

adult professional smiling and shaking hands with a student, preparing for a mock interview

Professionals and students went through a full mock interview, replete with introductory handshake and follow-up questions.

Thank you!

In the end, our students left armed with everything they need to seek and secure summer employment.

This event was made possible by the incredible professionals who volunteered their time and expertise and got to know our students.

“Both activities were great. The students showed impressive critical thinking skills and their drive to succeed is inspiring.”

– Volunteer Professional

We’d like to thank the board members, volunteers, and corporate partners (including representatives from The Castle Group, Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, CentSai, CTP, W2O Group, Wells Fargo, and Year Up) who made this day special. Shout-out to Haley House and La Taqueria for keeping us well-fed and on task.

To everyone who made this event possible: thank you! We can’t wait to see where our students land this summer.