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South Rowan High School holds mock interviews

By Carlie Moore

South Rowan High School

South Rowan High School career and technical education teacher Scott Vanderslice and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College career coach Brad Holda teamed up to put together a weeklong workshop.

Students worked on resume and soft skills to prepare for a mock interview.

Holda, a professional resume writer and career development facilitator, and Vanderslice, a former business owner and national salesman of the year, were the perfect combination to take students’ resumes, skills, portfolios and interviews to the next level.

“We aren’t trying to just prepare them for an entry-level job, although some have received jobs from this workshop even though they couldn’t get interviews prior to it,” Holda said. “We are also providing the foundations to show young adults to apply transferrable skills in any situation, have confidence, create and utilize a portfolio, and leverage their skill set to dominate any interview they will go on.”

Sophomore Rachel Webster said portfolios compiled during the workshop included a resume, cover letter, letter of recommendation and certifications.

“(This) made me more comfortable during the interview because I was prepared,” Webster said. “Mr. Holda told our class the more prepared we are, the more confident we will be. That doesn’t just go for the interview, but for life as well. He was right.”

Students treated the mock interview as a real interview, which was part of the experience. Holda and Vanderslice created an interactive interview game that taught the process of interviewing from start to finish.

“As I go around the state training teachers, career-employment specialists, and others how to prepare students for interviews, two things have become abundantly clear: for the few schools that are lucky enough to even teach these incredible skills, there typically isn’t a mock interview as a capstone,” said Holda. “The entire interview process — from first phone call to thank you letter isn’t being addressed during a typical unit. We make sure to focus on the entire process.”

The students came in dressed for the occasion with portfolios in hand and, during the interviews, held their posture along with confident faces, eye contact and strong handshakes. All were skills they were taught during this unit.

“I feel South Rowan has taught me a lot about preparing for my future,” said student Tyler Sheets. “From business classes, to career assessments, informational interviews, five minutes tops and now the mock interview, I feel more prepared than ever.”

Interviewers who participated in the workshop were:

• Keri Allman, account manager for business services at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

• Michelle Strong, middle school program coordinator for Crosby Scholars.

• Donna Ludwig, account manager for business services at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

• Kamara Folwer, Taled development consultant for NCWorks Career Center-Rowan.

• Jessica Mervine, senior financial services officer with State Employees’ Credit Union.

• Jessica Vess, cxecutive director of Crosby Scholars.

• Tiffany Erb, project re-entry specialist with Goodwill NC.

• Denecquia Jones, career specialist with Goodwill Connections.

• Blaire Goodale, career development coordinator at South Rowan High School.

Holda and Vanderslice plan to have another mock interview in the spring that they will open to the entire school.

Anyone who wants to participate should contact Brad Holda at brad.holda@rss.k12.nc.

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