Tips for Teens/ Job Applications and Interviews

Interview preparation


                       How can a student make a great first impression on a job or internship application?


Whether you are applying for a job or internship, first impressions are extremely important.  Do your homework!


The application:

1. Research the business’s website so that you can comment on why you want to work there.

2. Study the job description and think about how their company matches your interests and how your skills could be helpful.

3. On the application, use words from the job description that apply to your skills.

4. Have someone else look over your application to make sure there are no grammatical errors. Be brief and to the point.


Preparing for the Workplace Interview:

1. Role-play first with a parent or friend, thinking about questions you may be asked.

2. Plan what you will wear ahead of time, dressing professionally in “business casual.”

3. Arrive early and make sure your cell phone is completely turned off.

4. Look your interviewer in the eye, smile and give them a firm handshake.

5. Now is your time to shine by saying at one point “I noticed on your website that….xyz.” Your interviewer will be impressed that you took the time to research their business.

6. At the end they will most likely say, “Do you have any questions?” Make sure that you are prepared with a few, either practical questions about the job or questions that struck you when you looked over their website.

7. Take the person’s business card and follow-up with a brief thank you email.

A Published Novel by a Former Student



One of our greatest pleasures is to see what our former students have accomplished over the years. Keeping in touch on LinkedIn has kept us updated as they experience college and start their careers.


When Hannah was in high school we placed her on two internships: one for esteemed Fashion Designer Daniela Corte and another with the Founders of HerCampus, an online magazine for college women. Hannah was always poised, diligent and appreciate of these opportunities. She went on to NYU where she studied journalism and history, becoming the assistant features editor at Seventeen Magazine. She has written for Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and is the dating editor of Elite Daily.


And now, we wish her continued success as……..


“Hannah debuts her funny, smart, and relatable novel about hardships of being a new college graduate.”

21st Century Education: The Importance of STEM Internships

In the book 21st Century Skills- Learning for Life in our Times, author Charles Fadel explores three main categories of skills needed for students to excel in modern times:


  • Learning and Innovation
  • Digital Literacy
  • Life and Career Skills

As early as sophomore year in college, students are expected to choose a college major, but without workplace exposure, how is a student really able to make that determination?


In the following interview with Cyndi Reitmeyer, the Boston TechMom, Cyndi and I discuss ways that students can gain exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through workplace experience.


The Inside Scoop on STEM High School Internships

Reviewing a College Application in Just 8 Minutes?

It was rather shocking to read recently in the Wall Street Journal, that admissions officers at approximately 30 elite colleges read applications in eight minutes!

Because so many more students are submitting applications, the workload for individual readers has become oppressive. Instead, staffers now divvy up individual applications:

“One person might review transcripts, test scores and counselor recommendations, while the other handles extracurricular activities and essays.

They read through their portions simultaneously, discuss their impressions about a candidate’s qualifications, flag some for admission or rejection, and move on. While their decision isn’t always final, in many cases theirs are the last eyes to look at the application itself.”

                      So, how does one stand out in eight minutes?

Admissions officials and high-school counselors say that students should tell a coherent story across essays, transcript and activities.


                                This is where can really set a student apart.


In our program, we delve into students’ interests, strategize the types of internships that would match those interests and match them to an internship in that field. This is the first step in creating a coherent story. Once on the internship, students respond to a few directed journal questions that serve as the beginning of college essays.

For example, Cornell:

Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests?

Here, you would describe those interests, talk about your related internship and mention a field of study or college major that you would be interested in. Not only are you mentioning that interest, but you have shown that you’ve already pursued that interest, even as a high school student.


So, for our students, 8 minutes can be enough time to make an impression!


Guidelines Eased for Unpaid Internships

                                                                  Could your Business Benefit from an Intern?

The U.S. Labor Department rolled out new guidelines for 2018 that make it easier for companies to hire unpaid interns.

Our highly structured, educational program has always met the strictest guidelines for both paid and unpaid internships. We have matched talented interns to startups and businesses for last fourteen years. Students are pre-screened, receive assistance with resume, interview prep and are supervised during their placements. Interns add value in many areas including research, social networking, marketing and more.

The following seven factors determine whether the internship can be unpaid:


 A Sampling of Past Internships:

Jackie’s Startup Internship on the Boston Waterfront

jackie-at-learnlaunchAs a sophomore at Choate Rosemary Hall, Jackie was interested in startups and technology. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, she had moved to Boston from Silicon Valley and was seeking a meaningful summer internship. We connected Jackie to Cashtivity, whose office was located in an exciting startup accelerator in Boston’s Innovation District. Cashtivity is a technology and data driven company, producing learning products based on challenges to enliven the entrepreneurial spirit and skills of K-12 students.


Jackie’s responsibilities were varied and many:

    • She provided new “math challenges” for the Cashtivity product and provided feedback on existing challenges.
    • She created and implemented a multi-pronged marketing plan and collateral targeting middle and high school students to generate interest and secure user-testers to provide feedback.
    • She managed social media, both tracking activity and providing content on multiple platforms

In her wonderful letter of recommendation, the CEO wrote:

“Jackie is extremely organized, managing multiple tasks simultaneously and she consistently produced high quality work with enthusiasm. Her “can do” attitude was evident in all she did, even willingly taking on extra projects outside of her 3 full days in the office. She possesses a true entrepreneurial attitude. Her great interpersonal skills were evident while collaborating with our college intern, Skyping with team members in Australia, giving Power Point presentations and contributing in meetings and interviews. She was an asset to our organizations and I know any academic or professional organization would be fortunate to have Jackie as part of their team.”


A Programming Internship for a High School Junior

Andrew (arms folded) listening intently at the programming meeting.

Andrew (arms folded) listening intently to the presenter at the programming meeting.

Andrew is from an American family who is currently living in England. They reached out to us in order to establish an internship related to Computer Science/Programming. We Skyped with Andrew to get to know him and understand his interests, helped to establish summer housing for him in a college dormitory, and connected him to Privy, a venture capital backed startup company. Privy’s office is in Downtown Boston in the WeWork building, a short subway ride from Andrew’s dorm.

Because Andrew had a basic familiarity with Java, he came up to speed quickly and was able to take on a programming project. In his letter of recommendation, Privy’s CEO wrote:

We asked Andrew to build a particular software application relating to customers. Through this project, he was able to set up a development environment on his own machine, lean a new programming language(Ruby on Rails), integrate with two external vendor APIs and launch the application. We are now using his open source application on a weekly basis. Andrew is the kind of student I would highly recommend to any organization.

In his journal, Andrew wrote about the best part of his internship:

The best part of my internship was definitely writing the program to track data on our support conversations. I had to integrate my program with two different APIs (Intercom and Google Sheets) which was a big enough challenge on its own. Then I had to write all the logic required to take the data we get from Intercom, re-format it, and place it in a Sheets document in such a way that this program can theoretically run every week for as long as it needs to and still function properly, even with manual changes to the document by Privy employees. I had a wonderful time learning about all of the little intricacies of the Privy code base and how they work together to make an efficient machine. This project was also a great opportunity to get to know the developer team better and to learn how collaboration between a team of programmers works in a business, given that most of my programming projects up to this point have been solo.


High School Engineering Intern to MIT Grad

It’s wonderful to read  news about former interns!

Harry participated in an engineering internship with us as a junior in high school.

Harry’s mentor was the company’s CEO, a graduate of MIT who wrote Harry’s letter of recommendation:

“I have been impressed with Harry’s engaging personality, intelligence and maturity throughout his internship. He quickly grasped the necessary concepts involved in our operation and excelled on every task that he was assigned to. His responsibilities included: attending all manufacturing meetings, learning ISO requirements and the operating procedure for all machines. Once I understood his advanced level of competence, I assigned Harry the task of developing procedural documents for maintaining each piece of equipment. Harry became aware of vendor issues and wrote up a thoughtful report concerning quality control. I found his interest in engineering and quick grasp of manufacturing issues unusual for a high school student.

With the intelligence and drive that Harry brought to our company as a high school intern, I can only imagine what he would have to offer to MIT and his chosen profession.”

In addition, Internship Connection contacted another CEO of a prestigious engineering consulting firm in downtown Boston, who was happy to arrange a visit. Harry spent several hours touring the offices and meeting all types of engineers. He learned about engineering as a profession, the various types of engineering fields and enjoyed lunch and camaraderie with professionals immersed in the field.


The following is a fascinating article Harry wrote  when he was at MIT for Fast Company / Business and Innovation

Why An MIT Student Chose An Obscure Internship Over Silicon Valley


Engineering Internship

Pragmatic Tips for Parents: Internship Connection Interview with Boston Tech Mom

“My son is great in math. He may be interested in engineering but is not sure if he should apply to a liberal arts college or engineering school.”


math student

Getting exposure in high school to a field the student may be interested in gives them the chance to “try on” a career. They will absorb the work culture, understand what the day-to-day experience is like and the types of projects people work on. Often the experience confirms a career interest but sometimes the student realizes that field is not right for them. It’s certainly better to discover this early on. These days too many students lose time and money by changing their college majors mid- course.


Recently, I was interviewed by Cyndi Reitmeyer whose website BostonTechMom is a fantastic resource for parents who want to inspire their children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As a parent of a tech-minded high school student, Cindy wanted to learn how students should go about finding  STEM internships and how to set realistic expectations.  I was happy to speak to her and provide advice and examples of students’ experiences and for other parents as well who may be thinking about in-depth ways for high school students to gain career experience in STEM.

Please find the full interview here.


A Rewarding Internship for a High School Senior in the Arts

Art Internship

Emily was a senior at Cushing Academy who loved the arts and working with children. Because she was thinking about becoming an art teacher, she thought that a classroom-based internship in the arts would help her to decide about a college major.


Emily’s courses in drawing, fabric design, metalsmithing and jewelry stood out on her resume as we searched and contacted organizations for the appropriate summer placement. We connected her to a wonderful opportunity where she was paid as an arts counselor in a vibrant program for the creative arts.

Emily Arts Internship [4595]

We when visited during the summer, Emily told us that she became involved not only in art, but drama and dance as well.  She said that the best part of the internship was making personal connections to the children.


Top photo credit: tlgragg