Teenagers have tough competition in the job market during the summer months and all year long. Not only is this age group lacking in job skills, but teens also have little experience with job interviews. Teenagers who want to gain the upper hand when job hunting can start by learning the basics and then advancing to a finely-tuned presentation.
Basic Job Search and Interview Preparations
- First impressions count. Take a good look in a full-length mirror and take note of what a manager or interviewer sees. A clean person wearing clean decent clothes and shoes is the first major step when applying for a job. A respectable haircut and clean, trimmed fingernails always make a good impression.
- Practice speaking. One should be clearly understood and use proper language skills.
- Eye contact. Start practicing eye contact with family members and friends; this is particularly important quality employers look for in new applicants.
- Be prepared for any job interview. Have all information ready and on hand, such as references, past job history information if there is any, phone numbers, school addresses, and social security number. Keep a handy list of accomplishments, awards, volunteer work, and extra courses taken, should that kind of information be needed.
- Apply to familiar businesses. A teen’s chances of getting hired are better if he’s a regular customer to the business. A good reputation is a real boost to anyone seeking employment, youth, or adult.
- Good manners. As old-fashioned as it may sound, good manners and a pleasant personality are vital for any job, but the traditional social graces are especially important for employees who deal with the public.
Job Interview Strategies that Add a Professional Touch
- Prepare a resume. Whether it’s completed on a home computer by using an office program template or prepared professionally, a resume highlighting the teen’s qualifications makes an impressive beginning.
- Business cards. Basic style business cards can be ordered online or prepared at a local print shop at very little cost. Cards made on a home printer may not look as professional; but if this is the method of choice, then use clean-edge cards for printing.
- Know something about the company. Research the business to gain an understanding of how things work.
- Arrive a few minutes early and come alone. Arriving a few minutes early is better than rushing in at the last second. Demonstrate confidence – and independence – by attending the interview alone (as opposed to having a gang of pals hanging around outside the door waiting to hear the results.)
Teenagers searching for jobs are at a bit of a disadvantage because of age and inexperience. To make the search for work even more difficult, many adults are also hitting the pavement, looking for employment. The teen who masters basic job search skills increases his chances of getting a work application. Additionally, the teenager who adds a professional touch by using business cards and preparing a resume may actually pass the interview and get hired.
Applicants show initiative and motivation when they make an effort to learn something about a company. Employers look for enthusiasm and more, including cleanliness, proper speaking skills, attitude, and eye contact. A teen may not have the work history that usually gets an applicant noticed, but a good first impression and a professional presentation will most certainly get all the right attention.