New to the workforce, many teens do not understand the basics of getting hired for their first job. Many will fill out countless applications or even attend several interviews without being offered a job. They become frustrated and get discourage, repeating the same mistakes. However, most teens have no idea what hiring managers are looking for in applicants.
First, you should prepare a resume, even if you have never had a job before. While the vast majority of job available to teenagers do not traditionally require a resume, creating one will give you good practice and will get you to start thinking about your talents and qualifications. A resume with also come in handy when filling out your applications as you can transfer information off your resume onto an application more easily as it will be all in one place.
Good things to put on a first resume in the absence of previous employment are:
Education- What grade are you in? Where do you attend school? If you maintain a B average or better, you may want to include your GPA.
Activities- What types of activities are you involved in? Mentioning you are on the swim team would be a good thing to mention if you are applying for a lifeguard position. Do you have childcare experience, paid or unpaid? Maybe you have experience as a Dean’s assistant or other student worker at your school. These are things many hiring managers will be interested in.
Character References- Offering character references on a resume are key to getting you hired for that first job as it shows other people find you dependable, trustworthy, etc. Favorite teachers, school counselers, and adult neighbors make good refernces. Don’t use teenage friends or family members as a reference as this isn’t very professional unless the reference directly knows someone at the place of employment. ie- you can use your friend as a reference if they already work there and are in good standing. Be sure to get permission from your refernces to use them so they know you will be giving out their name, phone number, or email. This way, they will not be blindsided by calls from employers and will be more likely to speak well of you.
The next step is to go and fill out applications and and later attend interviews. Be sure to wear conservative clothing. Khakis and a conservative shirt are appropiate for most teen jobs. Many teens can scare away employers by following the lastest fashion tends. Keep in mind this isn’t a time for personal expression.
Ladies should wear light conservative makeup and nailpolish. Nothing that will overpower your look or be too flashy. Gentleman should refrain from any make up or nail polish. When applying, one should keep a natural hair color and no piercing except maybe the ears. No flashy jewerly or heavy perfume/cologne.
You should also maintain a friendly attitude during the interview and when dropping off an applcation. Answer questions in a clear voice and refrain from the use of slang. It may be helpful to practice interview scenerios with a trusted adult.
Also, it is good to know in general what hiring managers are looking for in teen applicants. Skills vary from position to postion, but generally managers are looking for employees with good manners, a professional appearance, and reliable transportation to and from work.
A teen with manner will give managers confidence that a teen can interact appropriately with customers. A professional appearance is important as no one wants an employee that will ward off customers or seem unapproachable. Finally, transportation is key since managers need to know an employee is capable of making it to work on time for every shift. Many prefer that an employee owns their own car, but many are willing to work with teens than require someone to drive them as getting rides won’t be an issue