The Joy of Summer: Teens at Work
Dr. Valerie Allen
For many teens the joy of summer is exceeded only by the thrill of cash. If you are thinking, your teen should be thinking about getting a job, the time to start is now. Adolescents may hesitate to approach the world of work for many reasons. We’ve all had that feeling of being overwhelmed when we first begin a job search. We’ve all experienced uncertainty when we complete a job application. We’ve all had fear of rejection when we go for an interview. We’ve all had that frightening first day on the job. Somehow we made it through and so can your youngster–with a little help from you.
Support and encourage your teen to improve his/her chances of getting a job and hearing those two magical words “your hired.” Help him/her make that trip out into the big, hard, cold world, a little less threatening by using these tips.
- Dress for the occasion. Look as if you really want this job. How to dress? Look at the other employees; consider the type of work you will be doing. Sure shots: take a shower, get a hair cut, eliminate the jewelry, downplay the makeup, cover tattoos and be conservative (forget style!). Make sure all body parts are fully covered, no midriff reveals or saggy pants. Remember the interviewer will probably be someone like your parents!
- Be prepared. Show you are organized, detailed, and task oriented. What to bring? A pen, a pencil, a note pad, your Social Security Card, driver’s license, and a list of classes or certificates that are job related. Other things that might give you an edge: proof of previous employment, letters from teachers, coaches, scout leader, or your pastor, awards from extra-curricular activities or other certificates of achievement. A list of volunteer work where you have been involved with community service. Note any special skills such as handling pets, babysitting, yard work, computer skills, bike repairs, sewing, jewelry making, etc.
- Have a positive attitude. No one owes you this job; prove you want it. Convey enthusiasm and a good attitude. How? Shake hands, introduce yourself, smile, have eye contact, speak clearly, listen carefully, show an interest in the company, and ask questions. Go online, find and read information about the company. During the interview be sure to mention something you found while visiting their web site. Bonus points if you address the interviewer by name; be sure to use Mr. , Ms, or Ma’am , Sir.
- Show self confidence. Consider your achievements. What have you done well? What have you accomplished? What are you proud of? What do others say are your strong points? How can these accomplishments relate to on-the-job tasks? Let the interviewer know you are eager and willing to learn new job skills.
5. The 3 R’s: Responsibility, Respect, Reality Check. Demonstrate responsibility by making an appointment for the interview, call ahead to confirm the time, bring important documents with you, be on time, and thank the interviewer for his or her time. Show respect, be courteous, pay attention, take notes, respond verbally and don’t interrupt. Do not use slang words or profanity. Do not make negative comments about others.
- Remember: you will probably be completing with many others for an entry level job, at minimum wage, requiring unskilled labor. If you want to be the “chosen one” remember why you want a summer job!
You have to work hard and learn at lot to get that first paycheck. When you finally land a job, give it your best. Work every minute you are being paid for. Prove to yourself and others that you are worth it.
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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published two childrens’ books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hat, Good Hair, New Friends.”for grades 3 -5. Oh yes, she has also has raised six children!