LEWISTOWN - Many teens and high school graduates will be feeling the pressure from parents to find a job soon. Unfortunately, today's teens are finding that getting a job is not quite as simple as it has been in the past. Here are some tips to get your job search off on the right foot:
My first piece of advice for job seekers is to get organized and have a plan. Before you start to look for jobs, look at yourself. Make a list of your skills, knowledge and natural abilities. What skills do you have? Do you belong to any clubs, volunteer or participate in any activities? How are your grades and attendance at school? If you need to make improvements in these areas, now is the time.
When you have your list of skills and activities, I usually recommend that you write a resume. To be fair, many part-time jobs do not require a resume, but having one will help you sell yourself to potential employers. A good resume will make it easier for an employer to see what you have to offer.
After your resume is complete, share it. This is called networking. Give a copy of your resume to your parents, friends, friends' parents, neighbors, etc. Let them know that you are looking for work and would appreciate any leads they can give you.
Finally, before you hit the street looking for a job, do a little research. Make a list of all of the companies that interest you and the jobs you would like to have.
Most employers begin to post summer jobs in January and holiday jobs in August. Create a system to track the applications you submit. Record the date you submitted the application, the date you want to call and follow-up, phone numbers and names of employees with whom you speak.
While the majority of full-time jobs are now posted online, many employers still fill part-time jobs by putting a sign in the window and handing out paper applications. Here are five tips for filling out job applications:
1. Read and follow the directions. If you don't follow directions on the application, employers will assume you won't follow directions on the job.
2. Write neatly. Take your time and make sure the employer will be able to read your application.
3. Avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes. If necessary, ask someone to proofread the application before you submit it.
4. Fill out the application completely. Don't leave any questions unanswered. Instead, use "N/A," "none" or a hyphen to indicate that you saw the question, but that it does not apply to you.
5. Dress appropriately when picking up and dropping off applications. Often this will be the employers' first impression of you. Make it a good one.
I tell teens that job searching is like fishing. You may cast your bait several times before you get a bite. Once you do though, it can be exciting and nerve-wracking; however, with a little preparation and practice, you can have a successful interview.
A lot of the preparation for an interview involves reviewing your skills and researching companies, as I mentioned above; however, it is good to prepare some answers to typical questions instead of "winging it." These are some commonly asked interview questions:
- Why do you want to work here?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What can you do for us?
- What do you know about our company?
Employers usually look for confidence (eye contact, firm handshake, smile), the ability to learn the job and experience with working on a team.
Help is Available
Job searching can be frustrating, and the job market has become very competitive. With people working two, and sometimes three jobs, the traditional part-time and full-time jobs for high school students can be harder to find. However, the staff at PA CareerLink is here to help. Whether you are a student in school or recently graduated, we have dedicated staff available to review your job search jobs, assist with resume writing and provide interview preparation. Mike McMonigal can be contacted at 348-6180, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Facebook (Mifflin County Youth Program) and Twitter (MifflinCoYouth).