“Describe a time when you encountered a challenge and how you overcame it.”
As adults, we know how an interview can clinch the job. It starts with a firm handshake. Then come the questions. Though butterfly-inducing sometimes, the questions offer a golden opportunity to explain what sets us apart. And making it into the interview room is no small feat either. What paves the way is often a carefully crafted resume.
Interviewing and resume writing skills are crucial for all future professionals, but especially for Breakthrough students. According to Dora Beyer, Breakthrough’s High School Program Coordinator, this skillset “helps our students gain access to opportunities that might otherwise not have been accessible to them.”
Breakthrough students work incredibly hard, but when it comes to landing a job or internship, academic success alone isn’t enough. That’s why we’ve designed an integrated series of career-focused events for our sophomores. The Resume Writing Workshop kicks things off in February, followed by Mock Interviews in March, and finally, Career Exploration Day in April, when students visit local businesses and get a first-hand glimpse of the inner workings of corporate Silicon Valley.
“The idea behind our career-related events is to highlight the value of creating a network for yourself, and begin practicing how to do that, through interactions with adults and exposure to a range of career possibilities,” Dora notes. “Through these events, our students become more competitive for ‘real world’ scenarios.”
As a supporter, your expertise is key. If you’ve been looking for a rewarding, hands-on way to get involved at Breakthrough, consider joining us for these events.
As you help students craft a resume or practice interviewing techniques, you’ll witness their growth before your eyes.
Diana, a Breakthrough junior who participated in the series last year, says, "Having someone from the 'outside world' tell me what they like to see in a resume helped me make it more professional and gain the confidence to talk about my experiences. When I later interviewed for the job, I was ready to talk about all the points on my resume. And I got the job!"
Ask Dora Beyer (pictured above right), Breakthrough’s High School Program Coordinator, what inspires her work, and she’s quick to say, “Knowing students will gain knowledge, opportunities, and experiences they might otherwise never have. I can think of so many students and alumni who've been chosen for competitive academic programs, jobs, and internships. Without the confidence instilled by Breakthrough and the push to make connections, they might never have achieved those opportunities.”
Dora’s work at Breakthrough focuses on our 9th and 10th grade students as they navigate the challenges of high school and begin to formulate college and career goals. A typical day includes one-on-one meetings with students, checking on academic progress and helping students get the support they need to succeed, whether that means after-school tutoring or formulating a plan for self-advocacy. Dora also leads workshops and field trips for students and parents, including the upcoming series focused on professional skills and career exposure: Resume Writing Workshop, Mock Interviews, and Career Exploration Day.
As a first-generation college graduate, Dora relates to the challenges Breakthrough students face.
“I’ve heard others say, ’You don’t know what you don’t know.’ That resonates with me in regards to our students in a way that is similar to my own experience. I did not know what information I even needed to know in order to apply to college. I relied on one-time announcements from high school counselors. In contrast, with our help, Breakthrough students are preparing in advance and their parents are becoming informed too.”
In college at UC Santa Cruz, Dora developed a passion for working with youth on their personal growth and college achievement. At Breakthrough, that passion has spread its wings.
“Our goal is for students to successfully enter college equipped with the academic preparation, mindsets, and habits to persist to graduation. As we aim for students to be ‘competitive’ college applicants, we want to set them on the growth path to be successful college graduates. It’s important that they are academically prepared and, also, that they know how to pursue a career during and after college. A student with a great GPA who cannot hold a conversation is probably not the most likely to get the job. We realize the effort is about applying skills to seek connections, opportunities, and employment.”