Laura Lichiello from The Little Spot of Red in New Hampshire was kind enough to share some advice for teens looking for a job, based on her experience with a small business. It is broken down in to 3 basic categories:
1. Best jobs for experience: I think it’s anything that has them work with multiple systems and with many people. Retail and restaurants are great starting spots because there are a ton of details you must learn and remember all while working with the public and with many co-workers. In the past when I’ve hired I’ve looked for retail experience because then I feel the basics have been learned and I only need to refine them. My husband worked in a brick yard as a teen and he worked with men who had been doing bricks for a long time but he learned their craft from them, learned how to deal with each of them individually, and learned how to handle responsibility. It’s important for young workers to remember that when they are asked/told to do something it’s for a reason: the job must be done but how you handle the doing makes all the difference.
2. Job interview: assuming you get that far you should be well-dressed according to the type of job. Teenagers do a lot of cold-calling for jobs and when they do they look terrible. Whenever you are mentioning needing a job to a potential employer you should look reasonably put together. Most of us in small business are used to jeans–but not ripped ones (I don’t care how much you paid for them) because it drops you into an unfortunate category. Don’t come in and ask if I’m hiring wearing torn clothes or not enough of them. For interviews: shower please, shave, dress nicely and conservatively, no perfume, no aftershave, no moving earrings (I know it sounds weird but you want to be remembered for what you say not your cute earrings wobbling to and fro) and have some sort of a resume with you. Smile and try to relax.
3. your own business: Work in the industry you think you want to enter. The more knowledge you have the better prepared you are. Listen to the experts; read books and magazines on opening a business, opening your business, and what other entrepreneurs are doing. On your way up pay attention to what the higher ups tell you because they’ve been there. And be prepared to work hard–harder than you will ever work for someone else.