I recently asked several hundred recruiters in my network (many of whom have teen jobs available) to send me the advice they would give to teenagers trying to find jobs. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting their responses. And, if they typically have teen jobs available I’ll post their contact and application information for your benefit.
This first response is from K.P. who is a recruiter in Sydney, Australia. At her request, her contact information has been withheld.
The first piece of advice I would offer to teens who are seeking work would be to continue with their education. Whether it be at university, TAFE (stands for Technical and Further Education institutions. They provide a wide range of predominantly vocational tertiary education in Australia. Fields of study include construction, hospitality, engineering, tourism, community work, secretarial skills, computer programming and visual arts.) or a trade school, employers tend to view those who have been able to complete at least tertiary education as more reliable, as it is seen to demonstrate commitment, which is vitally important when you are talking about someone who has limited experience in the workforce. This tends to increase the chance that an employer will offer this person the opportunity to prove themselves, as it is generally believed that they will be more likely to commit to the job offered. (not necessarily true, I know)
- Know what you want to achieve out of your career in the short-term. Whether it be more experience in the workforce, to develop specific skill sets, or to try a certain career path, it is important to know WHY you want to work!
- Always dress to impress, but don’t go over the top!
A suit, or dress pants/skirt with shirt is always the most appropriate option. If you’re not sure of an employer’s dress code, it’s best to be more formally attired than less. Also, makeup (if worn) should be kept simple and as natural as possible.
- Don’t use slang or colloquialisms in interviews
You will be judged on your ability to communicate, and it is bad form to use slang, or swear words for that matter, and you would be surprised how many people fall into this trap – no matter what their age!
- Show respect if you wish to be respected
Be polite and courteous to everyone in the organization, especially the receptionist! People in office environments talk – and you would be amazed at how many people have missed out on roles with various clients because they were rude to the front-of-house staff, even after performing well at interview
- Do your research
Not only does this demonstrate initiative, it shows the employer that you are truly interested in working for their organization, and have an understanding of how you can develop, whilst adding value to their team.
- Ask for feedback
I will never forget the most memorable teen candidate whom I interviewed (only a few weeks back mind you!) who was a little nervous during the process, and I wasn’t completely won over straight away. After the interview ended, they asked me directly for feedback and suggestions on how to improve their technique (which actually caught me off guard!). We had a frank and honest discussion about how their answers could be improved, & what their strong and weak points were. This approach left me with a very positive impression, as they were obviously very serious about finding a role & improving their chances to find work. Less than a week later, I found them long-term employment in the role of their dreams!
- Be yourself!
Don’t go to interviews trying to be someone you are not, as most interviewers will employ techniques which will include the clarification of certain points, as well as behavioural techniques that are designed to pick up on any inconsistencies. and this is not looked upon favourably. In today’s job market, employers are looking for someone who will fit well into their team – and for this reason, it is important to be as honest as you can, especially when it comes to your abilities and expectations, as there is nothing worse on a resume than being employed for a brief period, only to be terminated as a result of a misrepresentation during the selection process. It is better for both parties to be upfront about all aspects in order to ensure the right match is found for everybody.
Thanks to K.P. for her input. Read on to our other posts below and keep checking back for more help in your search for teen jobs.