By Lauren Harrison, Employment Specialist
This is a very powerful and inspirational quote for any job seeker. But today, teens looking for jobs face some new challenges because of the economy and high rate of unemployment. They are competing with older, more experienced applicants for jobs that were traditionally reserved for high school and college age kids. For many young people, working has become an economic necessity, not just a way to get some extra spending money. So what would make an employer more likely to hire a teen applicant? Or, addressing the question directly to teens, what do you think are the qualities you need to make yourself employable?
To answer that, I spoke with several employers. Based on their responses, here are some helpful tips for teens to succeed in their job search and on the job.
- The first thing employers tell me they look for in an employee is someone who has a good personality and a good attitude, and who exudes energy. The likeability factor is quite high on their priority list. So when you are called in for an interview, always smile and be pleasant, and you will be off to an excellent start.
- During the interview you should also share that you are interested in learning new skills while on the job. That shows the employer that you are open and would like to grow.
- Be willing to do more than what is asked of you. One business owner recently told me that one of his young employees came in to work and stepped over a piece of paper without picking it up. When the employer asked, “Why didn’t you pick up the paper that was lying in the doorway?” he answered, “It wasn’t mine.” This teen didn’t realize how important it is to be aware of the company’s culture and to show you are flexible and willing to be part of a team.
- Employers appreciate when you go above and beyond what is expected. Coming to your boss with new ideas is also welcome, if you present them in a constructive spirit. This shows that you are taking the initiative.
- A couple of crucial characteristics are being punctual and reliable. That begins with showing up to your interview on time, or even better, arriving at least 10 minutes early. If for some reason you cannot find the address, or you are having transportation trouble, call the employer right away. Have the employer’s phone number easily accessible at all times. Once you land the job, be consistent about getting to work on time, and carry out your responsibilities without your supervisor needing to remind you.
- Getting along with others in the work place is very important. Employers don’t want to be bothered with mundane issues, so if you are having trouble or conflicts, try to work things out directly with your co-workers. Having a good attitude and not complaining is also an ingredient that will keep you employed.
- Showing good manners and courtesy to customers and fellow employees alike will make you a desirable person to have on board.
These tips are great guidelines for assisting you in your job search. Employers I spoke with mentioned that they see some advantages to hiring younger employees; for example, they have up to date computer skills and are media savvy. Some employers enjoy mentoring a young person who is sincerely interested in that field and eager to learn. Teens who bring the positive qualities and attitudes described above to their job search are much more likely to be hired and to succeed.
*www.pinterest.com/motivational quotes for job seekers – author of quote unknown
By Lauren Harrison, Employment Specialist, Career Services, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD
Jewish Community Services, in collaboration with JOIN for Teens, is offering “Keys to a Successful Job Search,” a program specifically for teens and young adults ages 14-19 to get the skills they need to find a job. Participants can meet one-on-one with a professional Career Coach, by appointment. They can also connect with potential employers through Job Fairs just for teens and young adults seeking full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary jobs, on February 12 and March 3, 2013. Free job skills workshops especially for this age group are being offered by JCS Career Coaches on Sundays in January at the JCS office in Owings Mills, 3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue (at the Owings Mills JCC). Each stand-alone session highlights specific job skills, including resumes and cover letters, networking and communication, applications and social media, interviewing and follow-up. Workshops will also be offered in February and March at the Mitchell David Teen Center. Participants can choose the sessions, dates and times that work for them.
“Keys to a Successful Job Search” is made possible by a grant from the Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund. The programs are free, but pre-registration is required for the workshops and an individual session with a Career Coach. For more information, click here, or contact Deborah Weksberg at 410-843-7437, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JCS offers a full range of career services. For more information about JCS Career services click here or call 410-466-9200.