For the girl who likes to shop and entertain herself without relying on her parentsí cash and thus permission, there is nothing more freeing than your first job
. Of course, finding the perfect first job is a balance of what you like to do, how much experience you have, and who is willing to hire you. For example, you might love everything fashion and have years of experience working with your own wardrobe. However, you might not be able to walk into Hot Topic at sixteen and start work if they donít hire associates under eighteen.
Get Some Experience
You might not consider it a ďreal job,Ē but anything that puts you in a position of responsibility is a means to experience. For example, if you volunteer with your youth group, you are showing initiative and leadership. If you work with the babies in the nursery at church, you are building childcare experience. Visiting with the elderly in a nursing home or making calls for your momís business are both excellent ways to build your experience. Itís important to document all of this experience, however..
Prepare a List
When youíre older, youíll have enough to pull together a full resume, but for now you would do better to pull together a list of information about yourself. You can make this a running list by adding new things as they come to you or you experience them. On your list, you can list all sort of volunteer work youíve done, the clubs you belong to at school and any activities you do with those clubs. You should mention any awards youíve won and your interests and hobbies. The more information you can include about yourself in a neat, typed list, the better prepared youíll be to sell yourself to a future employer.
Formulate a Plan of Attack
If youíre on the younger end with little work experience, it can be tricky to walk into a store or shop and present yourself well. However stores who are willing to hire young people are looking for those with confidence and ability. If you freeze up and mumble to the manager, you arenít showing her how terrific youíll be in sales, of course. So before marching around the mall collecting applications get a plan in mind.
What sort of positions are you interested in? Are you willing to work in a different capacity to work your way up if necessary? For example, you might have to work in the back of the store unpacking freight before you can be on the floor doing sales. Why do you want to work certain places and how much time can you commit to the job?
Once you have a plan of attack, dress your best and head to your future employer and ask if they are hiring employees. The best time to start in almost any retail or food service industry is before the holidays or during the summer. Many companies call these seasonal employees, and you can consider a seasonal employment opportunity a chance to prove youíre worthy of sticking around for the long haul.
If the store or company is hiring, ask to complete an application. Be sure you look sharp when asking for an application, because you are immediately being judged. Complete the application at home or in the store if suitable, and attach your list of extra qualifications. These will help to set you apart from others after your job.
When youíre ready to hand your application in, ask for a manager Ė donít give it to a sales associate. You want to hob-nob with the person doing the hiring. Ask for the manager, hand over your application and stand your ground for a minute. The manager might flip through your application and list on the spot to ask you some questions Ė you donít want to run away before she gets a chance!
Answer any questions honestly and clearly without hesitation. This is not the time to be shy or let nerves show. If youíre called back for an interview, look your best and think about why you applied for that company in the first place Ė they want to hear how great you think they are and how you can help the company. Donít bother mentioning how they can help you. Keep eye contact and smile often. Even if you arenít hired, youíve gained valuable experience you can use the next time. Good luck with your job hunt!