Elizabeth Williams, Community Events Coordinator for Baptist Health, has witnessed some common communication blunders while working with teens as part of Baptist’s Health Career Exploring program. She offers some tips teens can apply not only to future internship and job interviews, but also other real-life situations such as contacting college professors, making appointments and even dealing with a bank or mortgage company.
• Keep a calendar and add appointments to your schedule immediately
• Learn to smile (in person, through the phone and even when writing an email or text)
“I have interviewed students for internships and they did not look excited or happy to be there. I didn’t want a song and dance, just a smile. Students need to learn that nonverbal communication is so important.”
• Reread your emails (edit for correct grammar and spelling)
• Know that some subjects may not be suitable for discussing over text
• Research the job that you are applying for
“I interviewed an intern that did not know about my organization. Students definitely need to do their research on the company or organization that they are interviewing for.”
• Be a good listener. Think about your response before speaking (or replying via e-mail or text)
• Text or call a professional after hours
“I’ve had students text me late at night asking about a recommendation letter. Be mindful about contacting professionals after work hours.”
• List a reference without letting them know that you have listed
“I received a voicemail from a manager calling because I was listed as a reference for a young lady. I didn’t know who she was or that I had been listed as a reference.
Students need to ask prospective references before putting them down on applications. They need to know that employers actually do contact references and ask questions.”
• Put anything on social media that you wouldn’t want a future
employer know—they DO look at your Facebook and Twitter
• Write something in an email or text that you would regret or
that can be misinterpreted.