Getting Your First Job

As a teenager, getting your first job can be tough, since you don’t have any work experience and your skills may be new to you, but it’s not as hard as it may seem! Most entry level jobs exist in the food service or retail industries. Things like cafes, fast food restaurants, or retail stores are great places to start. Many of these places do not require a resume, but having a document to represent yourself is never a bad thing. Putting together a simple resume may be the thing that gets you the job over someone else.

  1. Make note of things you’ve done that demonstrate commitment, work ethic, and time management. Employers of teenagers will look for signs of maturity and reliability.

  2. Include anything you’ve done involving people skills. Maybe you sold girl scout cookies or ran a lemonade stand when you were little, or even coordinated a fundraiser for a school club. Customer service jobs want someone who can communicate well.

  3. Be sure to mention any extracurriculars you’ve participated in. These can be school affiliated or not. Things like clubs, sports, or even an instrument you play showcase your personality and can be an indication of discipline and ambition.

  4. Major projects for school, advanced classes, academic events are all great references.

  5. Leadership positions you’ve held.

  6. Community service/volunteering you’ve participated in shows character.

  7. Odd jobs like babysitting, pet care, yard work, etc.

You can find resume templates online, go for something simple. Your resume can be more than one page, but aiming for a single page is ideal.

The next step is to find jobs hiring in your area that you are qualified for. Ask around, do some research online. Typically, these types of jobs will accept online applications so you can apply to a few places that interest you. Fill out the forms honestly and attach your resume. Fearing rejection is natural, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you get turned down, make sure to respond with something along the lines of, “Thanks for your time. If you need someone in the future, please give me a call.” Following up like this demonstrates that you are serious about getting a job and willing to get involved.

Hopefully, you receive some interest from employers who will probably want to schedule a time for you to have a interview, either in person or over the phone. A good resource for preparing for an interview is here: This article has sample questions for you to prepare your answers for. Draft these answers out and do a mock interview with your friends or family. This will help you feel confident and ready for your interview.

LinkedIn is a great website to find local entry-level jobs, and this site is a great place to start networking.

Once you’ve gotten accepted to your first job, (congratulations!), you can begin networking. Networking is an important part of job searching. On LinkedIn, you can try to find your colleagues and your manager on the site and add them to your “connections.” It’s also helpful to add your friends and family. LinkedIn is also a fantastic tool to help build your brand (see: Branding 101). Make sure your page is as comprehensive as it can be, write up a summary, list your skills and strengths, add your education, volunteering, and work experience. Your LinkedIn profile can function as a secondary resume and what employers see on your page can open up new opportunities and offers for you. This is why networking is so important, putting your name on the radar of job boards within your field is crucial to advancing in the professional environment.

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