Monday, 10 December 2012

5 Things Teens Should Know About Getting A Job

5 Things Teens Should Know About Getting A Job

There are many things teen should know about getting job. Sometimes applying and interviewing for jobs is all about the experience. But here are just a few of the key points that might set you apart from the other applicants.

1. Applying for a job

The first thing to remember is to follow any instructions you’ve been given. If the ad asks you to email, then email. If it asks you to submit a covering letter explaining why you think you’re the best person for the job, then send a covering letter. Not following these instructions is the first step in what is called the 'culling process'. You will be completing against other applicants who have followed the rules.

If the ad doesn’t state the salary, you can always call the contact person and ask them what the salary range/hourly rate is so you can get an idea of whether this is a role that requires a high level of skills and experience or not. Generally, the higher the pay the more experience you need. If this is your first job, then you may be doing this for the practice only. But it's great practice. Writing applications takes time and effort and the more you write, the better you get at it.

2. The résumé or CV

Attention to detail is important, not just in the spelling and grammar but also in your employment history section. You should be specific with dates e.g. Jun 2012 to Dec 2012 or 06/03/2012 - 12/10/2012. A prospective employer is looking to see how long you typically spend in jobs or volunteer positions. You should also clarify that the role was part time,  or fixed term over the summer break, or every Saturday.

You should also tailor your résumé to suit the job. It shouldn’t be up to the recruiting person to sift through your résumé to find what they’re looking for, make it known.

UPDATE: Forgot to add one very important step in the process. If your email address is something like cutesypieflamencodancer@whatever it is a good idea to create a separate firstnamelastname@whatever email address so you look professional. And over the next few weeks you should always answer your phone with a bright and cheerful "Hello this is 'first name' speaking" instead of your usual "Yeah?".

3. The follow up call

It’s okay to follow up on an application if you haven’t heard from the company after about a week. Remember that the company may have multiple recruitments and limited staff to sort through the applications. Always be polite. Never demand that they get back to by a certain date.

Don’t even bother explaining why you need to know – your potential employer does not need to hear that your grandmother is dying and you need to know if you will need to attend her funeral. Just make your inquiry, thank the recruiter, and say goodbye.

4. The interview

If you make it through the shortlisting process and get you interview, take heart that this is stressful for everybody. You can get through this by being prepared. Have a read through the company's website. If you know someone who already works there, make polite enquiries about the culture of the organization to make sure it suits you. By culture, I mean, does the organization expect their employees to work long hours. Do they dislike spending money and time on training their employees. Do they fire people after a few months. That sort of thing.

If you don't know someone who works there, do not approach anyone and ask random questions, especially not to the receptionist. Many recruiters will ask the receptionist immediatey after an interview how that person acted at the front desk. Many a job has been lsst because an applicant was rude to the receptionist. Likewise, if you try a little espionage it will probably backfire when the receptionist complains that someone is stalking them. Just check on Google for any negative or positive feedback about that organization.

It’s okay to be nervous. Only those people who attend dozens of interviews are able to hide their nervousness. If you like, get someone to ask you a few questions and practice answering.

Sometimes they might ask trick questions, so answer all questions as honestly and as best as you can. The interviewer should tell you what their next steps are, but if they don’t, prompt them by asking how long do they think it will be till they make their decision.

Remember that sometimes it’s okay not to get the job but to get the experience at interviewing techniques. 

5. The follow up call

There is none. You will either get a call or you won’t. Constantly calling the recruiter will not help your case.

More on the interview…

The outfit

If you can, you should try to mimic what current employees at the organisation are wearing. If it’s an office job, wear office clothes. If it’s a job in a retail store, look at what they’re wearing. Even if you’re applying for a job at a mechanics or a mining facility, ensure that your clothes are free of holes and tears and stains. By checking out the company's webiste you can get an idea of what the employees wear. Or, if you can, casually walk by the location at opening and closing times. 

Typical interview questions

There are a number of typical behavioural questions asked at interviews, the reason for this is that past behaviour predicts future behaviour. The employer doesn’t want to know what you might do in a situation, they want to know what you did in a situation.

"Can you tell me about a time you have to deal with conflict?" This is usually asked for frontline roles, such as sales people. The employer doesn’t want to hear that you told the customer to get lost. They want to hear that you empathised with the customer, explained that you were bound by store policy, offered to bring this to the manager’s attention, or offered something that provided a win/win result.

"Can you tell me about a time when you disagreed with your manager?" This is usually asked in a role that has a certain amount of autonomy or free thinking. the reason this is asked is because the employer wants to know how you handle a difference of opinion. They don’t want to hear that a manager asked you to do something and you disagreed and filed a bullying and harassment case against them. They want to hear that a manager asked you to do a task and you felt there was a better way to do this, so you explained your way and asked for the chance to prove yourself and if it didn’t work you’d do it their way.

"Can you tell me about yourself?" The employer wants to hear about your work career, not your personal interests. Keep it relevant to the role you are interviewing for, explain how your career has led you to believing you are the most suitableperson for this role.

Tips for interview questions. Think to the recent past. Unless the interviewer specficlaly asks you to tell them what you might do in a certain situation, always tell them what you have done

What to avoid

Bitching about a former boss – never say anything bad, it only looks bad on you as the interviewer will be thinking “gee, I wonder what they’ll say about me at their next interview.”

Slouching, chewing gum, scratching itches, sniffing – think of the interview as the first time you’re meeting a set of strict parents. Back straight, knees together, smile, smile, smile.

Swearing – obviously a big no-no.

Asking about the salary/hourly rate – If the salary range is not in the ad, then a true professional asks when they make their application. If you don’t know the salary/hourly rate by interview stage, you may be in for a letdown or a lengthy negotiation process that you might not have the skills for.

If you have any tips that I've forgotten about please post them in the comments section.

D L Richardson is the author of YA fiction novels "Feedback" and "The Bird With The Broken Wïng". She also works part time in human resources.

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