October 15, 2021

Do's and Don'ts For Teens Searching for a Job

Hoang Anh Pham, Angela Yang, Ece Eke, Cloie Zhou, Hannah Levenstein

Job searching can be overwhelming, especially when you're young with little to no experience. Although job searching takes a lot of hard work, the more determined you are the greater the payoff will be. The important thing to remember is that you have more control over this process than you think you do. Here's a list of critical do's and don'ts for young folks looking to land a job.

DON’T OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR “UNOFFICIAL” EXPERIENCES  

Hearing that a job requires applicants to have X years of experiences can feel intimidating, but don’t let that discourage you from applying! Remember that experiences are not limited to jobs with “official” titles — everything you’ve solved, accomplished, or witnessed counts as a valuable experience, especially with the right framing. So, the next time a job asks for a year of sales experience, but you’ve never sold anything at a store, don’t be afraid to mention things such as:

  • You launched a bake sale, successfully funding your soccer team’s transportation to the tournament.
  • You’ve frequently translated conversations for family members who don't speak English, making you a bilingual communicator and a quick thinker.  
  • You were part of a student committee which successfully petitioned teachers to include more diverse voices in their curriculum, making you a dedicated and persuasive team member.  

Long story short, don’t sell yourself short. You are a whole person, and your experiences are much richer than a few job titles.  

DON'T APPLY TO JOBS SOLELY BECAUSE OF THE HIGH SALARY  

Although it does seem tempting to pick a job that offers the most pay, it should not be the sole reason why you apply for a job. There are multiple reasons why a job has a high salary and often times, it is because the work is time consuming or physically draining. However, it is not beneficial to you to overwork or prioritize a high salary job over your well-being . If you are looking for a job, here are some factors to consider besides the salary:  

  • Consider your personal schedule: Does the work schedule fit your school and social life schedule?
  • Consider the Location: Is the workplace close to your home? How will you get to work?    
  • Consider Your Personal Values and Goals: Does this job match your beliefs ? Will you enjoy doing this job? Why do you want this job? What's the goals you hope to achieve with this job?    

Overall, don't just follow the money, there are more parts to a job than the salary. Make a decision after doing thorough research so you will not regret it after taking the job.

DO CONSIDER YOUR JOB OPTIONS BASED ON YOUR HOBBIES  

For example, if you love animals, working for a local veterinarian or walking dog services are great options. If you love children, becoming a babysitter after school or tutoring children are great ideas. If cooking and baking is your hobby, you can choose to work at restaurants, bakeries, or coffee-shops where they provide flexible schedules for students. Also, you will have a chance to improve soft skills such as communications, problem-solving, and many more. Some summer jobs such as summer camps and entertainment parks offer seasonal job positions for teens. All these options will provide training for those who have no prior experience. Your first few jobs will provide a good opportunity for you to figure out what you want to do in the future.

DON’T GIVE UP ON JOB SEARCH TOO QUICKLY

It can be discouraging not to hear back quickly from employers, but this shouldn’t prevent you from going forward in your journey to find a job. Some tips to take into account to increase your chances at job hunting are:    

  • Consider your personal schedule: Does the work schedule fit your school and social life schedule?
  • Consider the Location: Is the workplace close to your home? How will you get to work?    
  • Consider Your Personal Values and Goals: Does this job match your beliefs ? Will you enjoy doing this job? Why do you want this job? What's the goals you hope to achieve with this job?    

It is important to remember when job hunting that it isn’t an easy process and to give yourself enough time and credit for it. Always ask for help and advice from others if you feel discouraged, or even from the employers themselves, since they can provide the most constructive feedback.

DO UTILIZE YOUR CONNECTIONS TO FIND BUSINESSES THAT ARE HIRING  

Sometimes, just thinking of places to apply can be intimidating. Remember that you probably already have a network of people around you, even if you don't think of them that way. Keep in mind the employed people and resources you have available to you as you start to brainstorm potential jobs. Teachers, neighbors, or friends can have useful connections that could aid in your job search. This casual networking can be a really helpful way to find open positions. Try mentioning to a few people that you are looking for a job, and they may know a business or two that need an extra hand. By cluing people in to your availability, they're likely to think of you the next time they see a "Help Wanted" ad or job listing. Plus, working with friends is always more fun! So if your classmate or friends have a job they like, don’t be afraid to ask if that business is hiring. This strategy is also more likely to lead to a hire if you have less experience, as managers typically trust their employees' recommendations.

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