The Time Is NOW To Start Looking
Hey "Dad," do you think I should get a summer job?
You are young... you've only got a few years of carefree youth left... Why do you want to get a job? OK, OK, I get it... you really neeeeeed a job! Every teen has a different reason for wanting or needing a job. Here's just few that I have heard over the years:
1. To keep from being bored.
2. To keep from getting into trouble.
3. My father said I have to get a job or I am in trouble.
4. I need money to buy a car or pay insurance.
5. I want to travel during spring break next year.
6. Just need to get out of the house.
7. Get experience.
8. Learn responsibility.
9. Make money, make friends, make fun.
When should I start to look for a job?
This is the BEST time to start looking for a summer job, because employers are starting to hire, the college kids aren't home yet, and an organized youth who is thinking ahead is an attractive gamble for an employer who wants to hire someone who shows a sense of responsibility and reliability.
Where do I start?
First thing, if you are 14 to 16 years old, make sure you have your working papers in order. Your school counselor can help you finish this task. Your parents will need to sign to give their approval. Then talk to your parents about their friends, to see if they can help you get your foot in the door for consideration. You can also ask your DeMolay Advisors for a recommendation, and a personal reference.
Where should I look for a job?
The easiest thing to do is to look close to home, so you don't have a transportation problem. There are plenty of opportunities for baby-sitting, lawn care, computer assistance, housework, minor painting and maintenance jobs, etc. in your own neighborhood. Employers want reliable employees, and that means getting to work on time, every day, no excuses. If you rely on a parent or a sibling for transportation and the car breaks down, it doesn't matter to the employer. They want you to be there, no matter if you have to walk two hours to get there. If you have reliable transportation, you can spread out your search. There you will have a chance to get into the camps, pools, retail stores, movie theaters, theme parks, sports and entertainment centers, and service industries like hotels and restaurants.
How can I get a job when I have no experience?
You have to sell yourself to an employer. She has to know that you are going to be worth her time and training effort. Employers know that entry-level teens aren't looking for a career-- just a job. You have to show confidence in yourself, good manners, a clean appearance, and a happy demeanor. If you put together a resume, list anything you have done in the past year that shows achievement, ambition, persistence, caring, strength, good academic skills, a commitment to teamwork, and a customer-service perspective. A word to the wise-- don't list an email address that is rude or offensive or suggestive. AmericanTerrorist@hotmail.com is not a good advertisement for your character. Get a "professional" email address, or don't provide one. Be sure you proof-read it, and have someone else read it, too, to make sure it makes sense!
What kind of job can I expect to get?
If this is your first job, don't expect to find something full-time. You will have to show that you can handle part-time work to earn the chance for full-time hours. First jobs are not very glamorous, often dirty and seldom fun. But how you perform at the simplest and least desirable tasks often tells an employer what he can expect out of you in a higher-paying, more responsible position. The point is-- if you take a job, do your best work all the time, because you are setting a behavioral pattern for yourself as well as showing what you are capable of.
Will I have to go to an interview?
Of course you will need to interview, so that the employer can get a sense of how you will do in the job he has in mind for you. You need to be personable and engaging... enthusiastic about the job, even if you know you will spend the day dumping trash cans. You don't need to dress up, just dress neat, be clean and well-groomed, and make eye contact when answering questions. If you have unusual tattoos, piercings, or strange hair color or cut, you need to cover them up or make them look "normal." Remember that employers are looking for kids who will be reliable and available. Don't go in with the idea that you will be able to set your schedule, or take off a lot of time for a family vacation, or for football or band camp, or whatever else you may be involved in. You can ask, but if the answer is no, accept it and assure them that it will not be an issue for you. By the way, before you walk into the business, turn your phone off. Do not let anything distract you from giving the potential employer your full attention.
How can I be sure of keeping a job?
Be on time. Dress appropriately. Unless you are working a landscaping or construction or trash-removal job, take a shower before you go to work. LISTEN to the boss. Follow instuctions. Obey the rules. Don't goof off on the job. If you are scheduled for 4 hours, give the boss 4 solid work hours. Demonstrate that you WANT to be there, and that you enjoy the work. Represent the company well by the way you act, think, speak, and dress, and ALWAYS be kind to fellow employees, and pleasant, even when dealing with difficult customers (who are always right!)
Any more advice, "Dad?"
A first job is a great learning experience, and will show you how mature you are, and how much adversity you can handle. It will also provide you with opportunities to work with people who can give you a good reference for future jobs and perhaps even college admission applications. With a little cash in your pocket, and some money saved in the bank, you'll feel that much closer to being an adult and being able to make your own way in the world. Got get it!