In the next installment of our Expert Series we get some advice from small business owner Marc Mularz of Beach Road Bait & Tackle in Lake George, NY. Our goal is to give you ideas on what types of jobs to look for, tips to prepare for your interview, and other helpful pieces of information from those closest to the current job market. I think you’ll enjoy Marc’s candor.
1. What are some of the best jobs for teenagers that help gain valuable
experience for the future?
Try to find a job where advancement is possible. You may only work weekends or summers, but as you work there can you move to assistant manager? Can you be given a promotion? All of these things will look good on your resume when you someday need to apply for a job that may be a career.
2. What would be your top 1 or 2 pieces of advice for a teenager preparing
for their first job interview?
I would say there are three things that will matter most:
a. Learn to have manners. This does not happen overnight, but ask your teachers to help you with this and observe your classmates that are noted for this. Ask your friends to point out to you when you don’t have good manners so that you can work to correct yourself before you are rude. Your friends may find your sense of humor and the way you address people cute. Not all adults are going to share your friend’s views.
b. Dress up and look neat. It doesn’t matter what the job is. The interviewer will be impressed that you took the time to shower, shave and wear clean and ironed clothes. It will show them that you care about making a good first impression and that will help them recognize you are serious about helping their company succeed.
c. Learn something about their company and what you may be asked to do there. This is called “doing your homework” and will make an impression on your employer that you are willing to take the time to learn what you need to do in order to help them and be a good employee.
3. For a young person who may want to start a business one day, what would
you advise them to do now to prepare themselves for this?
Three tips from me as I just opened a new business in a period of six weeks last spring and these things were vital:
a. Guard your credit history like a mother bear protects her cubs. The ability to access capital is vital to starting a business. The best way to insure you are unable to do this is to have a poor credit history.
b. Start saving money with your first paycheck. Take 10-15% of it and put it away. Never touch it until you are going to use it to finance your dream. When you get a raise, take 1/2 of that money and inc. what you are putting into your savings. If you do not plan to own a business someday, this is also a very good plan to use to fund your retirement.
c. Learn that work is done when the job is done. For most people a new business owns you for the first 3-5 years (sometimes longer) and not the other way around. If something needs to get done, do what it takes to get it done. That may mean a lot of 16 hour days at some times, but anyone can start a business and go out of business. Not everyone can do it the other way around !
4. Besides what we’ve asked already, what other advice would you give to a
teenager entering the workforce for the first time?
It may be your right to have long hair or dreads, have tats all over, or 38 piercings. It is also the right of someone not to hire you to work for them. In some cases your “individuality” may be an asset, but in many it will be a detriment. Think long and hard about this and how you are going to look when you have these things later in life. It is in fact your right to live your life as you wish, but don’t be surprised if a lot of business owners don’t share your choice of self-expression.