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Summer Jobs: Advice For Teen Job Seekers

Author: Liz Frome

We want to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes when teens are looking for summer employment. Summer jobs offer so many benefits for your career to come. A big benefit is earning your own money, this is also a great opportunity to gain experience a little about managing your finances and you will also add some great experience to help build your future resume.

Being young and less experienced out in the business world means many mistakes can be made, together we can help you navigate the challenges and avoid the pitfalls.

1. Apply for your work permit

A work permit is required for any student under 18 years old, unless you have graduated High School. Work permits are typically issued by their school. For students who homeschool your local school can help issue you one as well. You should contact the school ahead of time to find out their procedures, first you will need a B1-1 signed by your parents or guardian. Visit the California Department of Education website for more information and read the work permit FAQs.

2. Prepare a resume

Many job openings for teens don't require a resume. So why bother preparing one? Even if this is your very first job, you should still present a resume to a prospective employer. Many times, especially with summer jobs, perception plays a key role in hiring. Presenting a professional-looking resume may give you an edge in the hiring process and help your application stand out from the hundreds of other applications being reviewed. You might consider including references if you have some: things like any volunteer or job experience, no matter how small even babysitting, dog walking or just that neighbor you helped with yardwork. (If you play sports, in music or any activity; the leader can help you with a reference.)

3. Fill out the entire application

Now that you have a resume, it may be tempting to note on an application to "see resume," rather than completing the job history fields - Don't! Most employers still require a completed application either online or a paper version. The application should be completed in its entirety, even if some of the information is a carbon copy of what is on the resume. This shows you can follow instructions, that you are not lazy, and are serious about wanting that job. Prep Tip: Depending on the company you are applying to, it might be a good idea to go online and fill out the application ahead of time and you should always bring a pen or two, just in case there's any paperwork to fill out.

4. Dress for success

Job hunting is the time to ditch trendy clothing, sleeveless tees, cut off shorts, flip flops, and low-cut shirts. Invest in nice, conservative outfits that can be worn to visit businesses to apply and for interviews. Making a good first impression is essential to getting an interview and landing a job.

5. Put the phone away

At no point during a job search process should a manager or business owner see you on your phone. If it's too tempting to refrain from using it, then consider leaving the phone at home, or at least be sure it is off or on silent and stash it away before walking into the interview. This shows that you are serious about devoting time and attention to something other than text messaging, social media, or games. (This is a Big no for The Job Shop when candidates pull out their phones when interviewing.)

6. Practice interview skills

You should be able to intelligently articulate why you are the best person for the job and why you want to work for their company. This includes being able to hold a conversation with the hiring manager while making and maintaining good eye contact, and do not forget to smile. Customer service-focused businesses are looking for bright, personable employees. Keep in mind that they you are competing with an entire workforce that includes other teens, college students, graduates, retirees, etc., they need to show why you are the best choice for their business. Tip: Roleplay ahead of time, a friend or parent can help you practice interview questions - asking and answering. You cannot practice too much.

7. Follow up

After you speak with someone about a job, following up is essential. If you interviewed in-person following-up with a phone call to thank the manager for their time or a formal handwritten thank you note is a great way to make an impression. Do not skip this step. For some managers, it can make or break your chances! (The Job Shop loves thank you notes.)

Following these steps may get you out of your comfort zone and it is essential to helping you land that perfect summer job. Not only will having a summer job give you some independence and a sense of responsibility, but it also will give you some extra cash to spend and save!

“Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.” — Maya Angelou

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