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Jobs For Teenagers: Expert Series – Dr. Janet Hurt

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Dr. Janet Hurt, associate superintendent of Logan County Schools, is the next installment of our expert series. With a wide variety of experience, she offers some helpful advice to all job seekers, and in particular teens looking for a job.

1.       Briefly tell us about your role/experience in staffing/recruiting:

Over the years, the project staff (Janet Hurt, Director; Steve Moats, Manager, Elisa Brown, Manager; Dennis Horn, Manager  have hired many in their roles from principals to associaticate superintendents of school districts to non-profit agencies.
Currently we are in the process of hiring almost 50 employees to work with us to achieve the goals to Race to the Top.

2. What are some of the best jobs for teenagers that help gain valuable experience for the future?

This really depends on the teens’ interests and plans for the future. I always look for ways that teens can gain from multiple experiences, while also making a little money. Depending on where they live, often there are interest-related internships available with local companies. These look great on resumes.

However, there are ways to gain valuable skills in jobs that will involve teens in working with large groups (summer festivals, church picnics), interaction with the public and problem-solving (hardware store), communication and customer service (waitressing) and time management.

3. What would be your top 1 or 2 pieces of advice for a teenager preparing for their first job interview?

1. Do some research. Prior to the interview, get to know the company you’re interviewing with. It looks and feels much better to the prospective employer if the interviewee can demonstrate prior knowledge of the company, and then be able to talk about how their skills and interests “fit” with the company’s mission, vision, or core business. Show that you will be a valued-added investment. Go to the company website and look at things like current and planned directions, and even senior staff bios.

2. Be “present” for the interview. Remember that effective communication is 70% body language and “affect” and less than 30% what you actually say. Extend a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye. Lean forward and show that you are genuinely interested in learning about, as well as giving to the company. Be a good listener and reply directly to questions asked. Bright eyes and a wide (but natural) smile also go a long way.

Teens should also consult resources via trusted online sources like Monster.com for tips on interviews, resume building, networking, etc.

4. For a teen who just needs money now, what are some of the best, perhaps less obvious, job opportunities to make decent money with no experience for someone 17 or 18 years old.

Tough to answer because our communities are so different. Some very small communities offer little beyond the fast food industry, farm work, etc., so a breadth of opportunities is not really available.

I always look for ways that teens can gain from multiple experiences, while also making money. Depending on where they live, in larger communicates, often there are interest-related internships available with local companies. These look great on resumes.

5. Outside of a typical online search, are there other creative ways a teen could look for part-time or seasonal work?

See response to #6

6. Besides what we’ve asked already, what other advice would you give to a teenager entering the workforce for the first time?

Be willing to expand your circle of friends and acquaintances now. Networking is a skill best learned early. Teens should find ways to connect themselves with larger groups and with individuals who have access to others who may one day be able to offer assistance. Through these early networks, connections and friendships will form that will last a  lifetime.

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