While having some money of your own is great, actually getting that job can be a little intimidating. However, being a teenager doesn't mean you can't prove yourself capable of handling the responsibilities. Have a little self-confidence, do your homework and create a favorable first impression with your prospective boss. Odds are, you'll have a job in no time.
Know the Guidelines
The types of jobs you can get depend on your age. That's because child labor laws are in place to protect you from working too long or in jobs that are unsafe. Generally speaking, if you're 18 or older you're eligible to work anywhere for whatever hours you choose, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you're 16 or 17, you're free to work anywhere but in hazardous conditions, such as roofing, driving or working with explosives. If you're 14 or 15, regulations restrict how many hours you can work, especially during school months. If you're younger than 14, your work options are casual ones like babysitting and cutting grass. Unless you want to be a movie star; that's allowed!
Quintessential Careers recommends taking some time to consider your strengths and achievements, even if they seem quite ordinary to you. Don't feel intimidated because you're young; jot down a list of your good qualities and accomplishments to give you a boost of confidence. Practice saying positive things about what you're good at. Combine these strengths with jobs that are open to teenagers, such as entry-level positions in retail stores and restaurants. You may like to be a barista in a coffee shop, a receptionist at a doctor's office, a clerk in a grocery store or a cashier in a shop at the mall. Talk to you guidance counselor at school for suggestions in your area, and also let friends and family know what you're looking for.
Create a Resume
Create a well-written resume, even if you haven't held a job before, says Quintessential Careers. Include those strengths and interests, plus add your education, special classes you've taken, honors you've earned and extracurricular activities you've participated in. Include any type of work you've done, even if you weren't paid for it, such as babysitting or summer work. If you can get a letter of recommendation from a teacher, include it. Your resume should follow a certain format to look professional. Many computers come with resume templates already uploaded in them; if you don't own one, visit your local or school library. The librarian can help you find the right resume template for you.
Look the Part
Make a good impression when you fill out applications. Be clean and presentable. Dress maturely: girls should wear modest skirts or slacks, low-heeled shoes and blouses with decent necklines and no spaghetti straps; guys should wear a suit and tie, sports jacket optional. Keep the jewelry, makeup and cologne to a minimum. The same goes for when you're called in for an interview. You know what they say: you never get a second chance at a first impression. Present yourself as conservative and professional and you'll get respect.
Nail the Interview
Don't miss a chance to own your interview. Before your appointment, do a little research into the company. Check out its website to find out what services it provides and who its clients are. Thoroughly read the job description for the position you applied for. At the interview, shake the interviewer's hand, smile and look him in the eye. Don't let being nervous make you clam up. Be polite, friendly and respectful. Follow up the next day with an email to thank the employer for his time and to let him know you're still interested.
- U.S. Department of Labor: Youth Rules!: Know the Rules
- Quintessential Careers: Job Interview Strategies for Teens: Part 1 -- Interview Preparation
- Teen Force: Interview Tips for Teens
- U.S. Department of Labor: Youth Rules!: What Do I Need to Know About Workplace Hazards?
- Quintessential Careers: Teen Resume Writing Worksheet: The Five Steps to Developing Your Job Search Resume
- Quintessential Careers: Tips for Teens: How to Find Your First Real Job
- Photo Credit altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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