Tips for youth looking for work

By Gail Hathaway

Applying for jobs at a young age can seem overwhelming, especially to those entering the workforce for the first time. But if you are in your teens or early twenties, what you accomplish now will be the foundation for your future employment.

Here are some helpful tips to help teens and young adults prepare when seeking employment:

Start networking. Who you know can be a great advantage to landing a job. A great way to establish connections is to attend job fairs in your area. These are great networking events that will allow you to interact with multiple employers. Workforce Solutions Alamo will be holding a youth career event targeting youth ages 16-24 on September 24.

Construct a resume. It’s never too early to start building a professional resume that will showcase your qualifications and work history. If this is your first time on the job scene, focus on academic achievements, paid or un-paid internships, or extra-curricular activities. Online templates can be used as a guide and local Workforce Solutions Alamo career centers can offer additional assistance.

Practice your pitch. Other than experience, what will ultimately set you apart from other applicants will be how well you express yourself in an interview.  Research potential questions on sites such as careeronestop.org. Take your time answering questions and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on things you may not understand.

Appearance matters. First impressions are the most important, so looking your best is a must. When interviewing, be cautious to dress for the formality of the position and always keep in mind modesty and tastefulness. Tattoos or piercings might or might not be a concern, so consider covering them if possible.
Know your skills and establish goals. A potential employer will want to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Present your skills with confidence and combat weaknesses with established goals.

Be mindful of your social media posts.  Potential employers generally search all web and social media sites of job applicants to see if the behaviors and comments publicly posted represent the core values and brand of the employer.  Think twice about posting pictures and comments that might make a difference in getting a job offer.

Avoid miscommunications.  Make your potential employer aware of any time commitments you may have and be prepared to say when you can start. For example, if you are involved in school activities during evenings or weekends, spell that out up front.

Keep an open mind. Don’t limit yourself. Although a specific job may not seem desirable, it can still be a great opportunity to gain experience, develop skills and help build your resume. Keep in mind that the job you get now isn’t set in stone but may have promotional possibilities. The length of your tenure with a company can benefit you in moving up the corporate ladder and your future employment. That’s a long way of saying you have to pay your dues.

Workforce Solutions Alamo can help. Check us out online WorkforceSolutionsAlamo.org or visit one of our Career Centers.

Gail Hathaway is CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo and serves on the Workforce Development Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.