The keys to landing a job at any age are presenting yourself properly and doing your homework. The additional hurdle you face as a teenager is your age -- you have to prove to your prospective employer that you're mature enough to be relied on and that you have a realistic understanding of the job at hand. However, this isn't about pretending you're an adult, it's about proving you have what it takes to learn and develop into a valuable employee.
Know the Employer
This doesn't mean invite him out for a meal. Knowing the employer means you know what the business is: what its product is, what services it provides and who its target customers are, says the website Teen Force. Review their business website and read a few reviews. Visit the organization, if that's reasonable, then investigate what the job opening entails. If you're responding to an advertisement, thoroughly read the job description, and even take notes if you have to. If you plan to submit applications at random, have a good idea of the type of work you're seeking. Read up on what baristas do if you plan to apply at a coffee shop, for example, or what cashiers do if you plan to apply at a grocery store.
Dressing well for a job interview isn't about making a splash or impressing an employer with your sense of style. Conservative, understated and professional clothing is what you're aiming for. Girls can wear blouses, knee-length skirts or slacks and closed-toe shoes with low heels, recommends the website Quintessential Careers. Guys should wear a button-up shirt, a pair of dress pants, a tie and dress shoes. Nothing flashy, nothing emblazoned with brand names. Makeup should be simple, hair clean and well-dressed, nails clean and facial hair trimmed, if not completely shaved. If you have tattoos, wear clothes that cover them. Finally, keep the cologne at a minimum.
Mind Your Manners
Be on your best behavior during the interview. Meet your prospective employer's eyes with a smile and shake her hand, says Teen Force. You may be nervous, but don't let that make you seem surly. Be prepared to answer a few questions, like why you want to work there, what you think the job entails and what you feel your strong points are. Your research into the company will help you answer some of these; practice with a family member or friend beforehand. Try not to ramble on -- just be precise. Bring a copy of your resume, if you have one, as well at a notebook and pen to take notes.
The excitement of being offered a job can make you overestimate how much time you can reasonably work. Take your school schedule, extracurricular activities and time needed for homework into account. Don't overreach yourself so you won't stress yourself out and disappoint the employer. Also, be reasonable about salary. Many jobs available for teenagers pay minimum wage, maybe a touch more, says Quintessential Careers. That isn't to say you can't ask for a little more, but be sure what you're asking for is in the realm of what other new, inexperienced employees are making.
Make a Nice Exit
When the interview is over, shake the employer's hand again and be sure to thank him for the time he's taken on the interview. Then, later that day or the next, Science Careers suggests that you send him a follow-up email. In it, express your continued interest in taking the job and thank him again for his time. Double-check your spelling and keep the tone warm but not overly friendly. If you don't have access to his email address, you can go the old-fashioned route with a letter. A phone call runs the risk of being disruptive; if you decide to call, keep it brief. You want to come across as interested and polite, not as though you're bugging him for the job.
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