Choosing Your First Job: Top Tips for Teens

See also: Networking Skills

Are you a teen with no formal experience? If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place. Landing your first job will not only give you money but valuable experience and independence. Work, whether voluntary or paid, helps you develop employability skills that are essential throughout your entire working life.

It’s normal to feel anxious about entering the workplace. Some teenagers worry about their ability to do their new job well. However, this should be the least of your concerns. Most employers will ensure you can perform the duties set for which they’re paying you. If you’re ready to enter the working world, here are some great tips on how to find and secure your first job.

Create a Simple Resume

Without a resume or CV, you’ll have a hard time securing your first job. Even as a teen, employers expect you to have a resume to hand over. This is so they can take a look at any experience you’ve got, your grades at school and whether to take your application further. Of course, your resume isn’t going to be packed with information because of your age. But, you can put certain skills and attributes that will make employers take notice.

Some of the things you can pop on your resume include any experiences where you’ve showcased discipline, a willingness to work hard, and any scenarios where you have gone above and beyond. Employers will be predominately looking for whether you’re mature for your age. Make sure to note down any hobbies and extracurricular activities you do outside of school. This could be participating in music and dance lessons or being part of a sports team. Finally, reference any school projects you’ve worked on. This will show you’re a team player and can work well with others.

Tap Your Network for Leads

Networking is a brilliant way to get started in the working world. This means using those you know to help you find a job. You may just end up asking someone who has a vacancy ready and raring to take up! To get started, reach out to any of your buddies who are employed. You can inquire about their experience and how they got the job.

Also, ask your parents if they’ve got any contacts. They could have family friends who are hiring. You can go to your parents for advice on your job search too. Lastly, speak to neighbors, teachers, coaches, and counselors. They may offer suggestions about employers or people you can approach. What you’ll find is that most employers feel far more comfortable employing young people who are endorsed by someone they trust than those who are strangers.

Make a List of Places to Apply

You always have the option to consider employers where you don’t have any contacts. Why not use websites that concentrate on jobs for teens too? Adzuna can help you with this as they have part-time job listings you can look through to help you search for the right job.

If you live in a major city or town, it pays off to go on foot and check whether anyone is hiring in your vicinity. Should you spot a ‘help wanted’ sign, it’s your opportunity to go in and make a great first impression. Also, write down a list of places that you’d think would be fun to work at. In many instances, it’s a case of walking in at times when the employer isn’t too busy and asking to talk with the manager. If you do this, they’re sure to be impressed with your confidence.

Prepare for Rejection

Before applying for your first job, you need to mentally prepare for rejection. You need to be aware not everyone will get accepted for every job they apply for – that’s life! As a first-time job seeker, you must prepare to be turned down. Try not to take it personally. There could be a multitude of reasons why you never scored the position. This could be because you cannot fulfill the hours required, or there was a high volume of applicants.

If you receive a no, simply dust yourself off and carry on your job search. It’s a good life lesson being able to handle rejection. While in an ideal world, you’d get every job you apply for, this isn’t a realistic mindset to have. And if you do get turned down, there’s bound to be a better job lurking just around the corner.

Get Ready for Interviews

As you start applying for jobs, you may just get a job interview landing in your inbox. Now is the time to get prepared for it! If you’ve never been for an interview before, you’re bound to feel nervous about the ordeal. But, we promise it isn’t anything to worry about! What we will say is that you need to factor in plenty of time to get prepared for the interview.

You want to make sure you create the best first impression possible. For this to happen, it’s crucial to read the job description and have sound knowledge of questions the employer may ask. After all, you don’t want to be caught off guard.

Know What to Wear

For your first job interview, you want employers to have a big smile on their faces when you walk through the door, rather than a frown. A big part of this is how you present yourself visually. We’re not saying you have to be suited and booted but looking presentable is a must.

The general rule of thumb is to throw on neat and tidy clothes. Just make sure you don’t wear ratty sneakers or shorts! Also, don’t throw a hat on, and make sure your phone is on silent. When you look the part, you’ll feel the part.

Have Confidence in Your Abilities

Whether you’re going in person to apply for a job or heading for an interview, confidence is everything. Keep your head up, maintain good body language and keep eye contact. Don’t be afraid to put your hand out for a handshake either. Employers look for certain qualities when job seekers walk through the door.

Having confidence will show you can communicate effectively. What’s more, you are more likely to stick in the employer’s head. If you’re looking for a retail role, confidence is essential, especially when dealing with customers. Even if inside you’re feeling anxious, try not to let it show. As the saying goes, fake it till you make it! A warm, friendly smile can do wonders for securing your first job. Try it out and we promise you’ll have no trouble finding work.

As a teenager, looking for your first job can seem like a daunting and difficult task. In fact, finding a role is hard to begin with for anyone, regardless of age. When you haven’t had any experience in the working world and have never been for an interview, the road ahead may seem scary.

It’s normal to be anxious about what awaits you. But, as long as you use our tips above, this can be an enormous help in finding a role suitable for your needs and increase your chances of bagging your first job.

About the Author

Zoe has written and researched articles for a wide variety of career websites, blogs and magazines, has a strong understanding of current business trends and a passion for entrepreneurism.