6 Tips to help your Teenager Find their First Job

6 tips to help your teenager find a first job

We had a momentous occasion at our house yesterday. Our oldest son was hired for his first part-time job! He came home so excited and ready to take on the world. I’d like to say getting his first job was a simple and painless process but it wasn’t. His entry into the workforce was paved with hours of applications, many handshakes, a little frustration, and a few interviews. As with any new endeavor our children attempt, from taking their first steps to walking down the aisle, they will always need a little coaching.

Helping your teenager find their first job is a really exciting time! It also brought back a flood of memories and several funny “my first job” stories for my husband and I to share around the kitchen table. We had fun taking a trip down memory lane and found out we actually had several things to share on what to do and even a few do-not-ever do’s. It is definitely different being the parent coaching the child through the process. If your teenager will soon be looking for a position in the workforce, check out some things we did to prepare our teens.

How to help your Teenager Find their first Job

Volunteer the year before

First time job seekers won’t have a lot to offer in the way of a proven track record. A great way to build references and a beginner resume is to volunteer. When your child turns 15, or hopefully before, ask them what organizations are of interest to them and see if those locations have volunteer programs they can work with. Your local Chamber of Commerce should have a list of non-profits or be able to provide ideas for many community organizations looking for volunteers. Some may require a parent volunteer with them but it really is a great way for your teen to build up experiencing working and interacting in a professional way before their first paid job.

Prepare them for rejection

Almost no one gets every job they apply for every time. To avoid your teen getting discouraged easily, have them apply several places and prepare them with a response in case a location they were hoping to work isn’t hiring. Something like “Thank you for your time. I’ll leave a copy of my resume and contact information if you are needing someone in the future” coupled with a good handshake will teach good business social skills.

How to complete an Application

Most applications are simple forms but to a teen who doesn’t have experience with them, they can seem foreign. Print off one or two applications for them to fill out at home just for practice. Most locations will allow them to take the application and return it later but we had a few places that asked our son to fill them out on the spot.  Make sure your son/daughter is prepared with some key information to help them complete the application on their own. Some information for them to keep handy:

  • Proof of age, such as a birth certificate or driver’s license
  • Social Security #
  • Address and contact information of school
  • Address and contact information for previous jobs, internships, and volunteer service
  • Names, addresses, and contact information of one to three references

Offer “fashion advice”

I know, I know. Most teens DO NOT want fashion advice from their parents but in this instance you have a little bit of credibility. No one expects your teen to apply in a business suit for their first job but you are laying a foundation for future jobs.  Being well-groomed, having a neat appearance, and a fresh haircut appeal to most any employer.

Tips for the Interview

  • Dress nicely.
  • Arrive early.
  • Remember to turn your cell phone OFF.
  • Stand up straight.
  • Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Maintain good eye contact.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Don’t use  “um,” “like,” and “yeah.”
  • Be sure to discuss salary  when the job offer is extended.
  • Say thank you and shake hands at the end of the interview.

Follow up

If your son/daughter hasn’t heard anything in a weeks time, suggest they make a phone call to the hiring manager to follow-up.  Following up will show their sincere interest in the company and can often make a significant difference in landing the job.

A first job is something you never forget. What was your first job? 

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