How to Get a Job

Getting a summer or a part time job can help you develop your resume and become more financially independent. You will meet new people and develop communication, leadership, and teamwork skills.

If you are under 18 years of age you are required to have a working permit in the state of MA. Before searching for a job make sure you have all the information about these requirements.

The Search

There are many different types of jobs available for teens. If you do not have a specific job in mind, try to think of what you enjoy doing and what skills you possess. Do you like to be outside and in the pool? Maybe a lifeguard or camp counselor would be a good option for you. Love animals and want to stay out of the sun? Maybe they need help at a local pet store or zoo.

Start by looking locally for job openings. Many times stores or restaurants will have a sign in their front window if they are looking to hire help. You can also look through newspapers, magazines, or local bulletin boards. More and more job openings are appearing through job websites as well… some even being specifically for teens. Don’t forget that networking with your neighbors and friends can be useful as well. (Make sure you have a resume on hand for them)

The Interview

Most of the time an interview is required to help the employer determine if you are a good candidate for a job opening. You should take this interview opportunity to determine if you think you are a good fit for the job as well.

Prepare!

To give yourself the best chance of landing the job make sure you know your stuff. Follow the checklist below before you interview with a potential employer:

  • Make a list of your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and unique experiences.
  • Create your resume.

    Although some jobs you may apply for will not require a resume, it is always a good idea to have a few on hand.  

  • Research the company/business you are applying to.

    Read and make sure you understand the job description. Find out as much information as you can about how the business works, hours, and reputation in the community. This will help give you an idea of what your potential employer will be looking for.

  • Based on your research figure out how YOU would fit the job description and what attributes you could bring to that position.

    It is important to know your schedule and be ready to be flexible with your hours.

  • Find an appropriate outfit to wear to the interview.

    Remember, this is your first and possibly only chance to make the best impression. If you are able to get an “old” person’s approval it is most likely a go.

    • Things to AVOID: Tight/revealing clothing, messy hair/hair that covers your face, short skirts, low cut tops, glittery or heavy makeup, open toed shoes, large/flashy jewelry, wrinkled clothes, visible piercings/tattoos, extravagant fingernails, uncomfortable shoes or clothes, chewing gum.
  • Practice answering interview questions.

    Make a list of commonly asked interview questions and write down your answers. Recruit a peer, brother/sister, family member to help you practice. 

  • Come up with a few questions that you will ask your potential employer.

    During the interview your interviewer will more than likely ask if you have any questions for them. Have a few questions ready to ask them about the job, the company, or what they like about the position they are in. Taking advantage of this opportunity will show them that you are interested in the job they are offering and the company they work for. 

  • Revise your social media posts and information.

    Take a look through your facebook, twitter, myspace, instagram etc. Be very careful about the pictures and posts you choose to share with the public. These are a reflection of you as a person and can make an impression (good or bad) on a potential employer. The person you interview with may take into account your social media information when deciding whether or not to hire you.

The Big Day

Make sure you arrive at least a few minutes before your scheduled interview time.  Most jobs require you to be punctual and have good time management skills. Arriving early shows that you are prepared and responsible. Avoid rushing for your own sanity…this will help you reduce any extra stress or anxiety you are experiencing on this day. Remember things may not always go as planned… you want to leave extra time in case you get lost, hit unexpected traffic, or if you have to run back home for something you’ve forgotten.

Act Professional. Take a deep breath and start with a strong handshake and make eye contact. Throughout the interview you should smile and check your posture from time to time.  Make sure you thank the interviewer for their time and ask for a business card at the end of the session.

Create thoughtful answers. Time to dip into your practiced answers. Take your time when answering questions. If you are nervous you may be inclined to speak at a faster rate, increasing the chance that you may stumble over your words. When at a loss for how to answer a question, create an answer that focuses on your positive attributes and willingness to learn. 

Be Confident! You have prepared and are ready for this interview! Be yourself and be ready to talk positively about your skills and experiences. One of the best ways to project confidence is to make sure you speak loud enough!

Post Interview

Write a Thank You Note. To help you stand out amongst other applicants write a quick thank you note or email and send it to the person that interviewed you.

Follow up and check on your status. If you have not heard from the employer by the time they allotted to get back to you, call or email to inquire about this. State that you are checking in to see if there had been any updates in their hiring process. This can show that you are very interested in the job.

Keep your options open. During this waiting time continue to interview for other potential jobs.  There is no guarantee that you will land a job on your first interview. It is good to have a few back up plans. After all, you’ve survived your first interview and now you know what to expect.