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Jobs For Teenagers: Expert Series – Jamie Cox

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We heard from Jamie Cox, a high school guidance counselor. In that role, Jamie works with high school seniors everyday and has some great insight as to the things you should be focusing on as a teen looking for a job.

1. Briefly tell us about your role/experience in counseling/guidance:
The majority of my caseload are high school seniors, I also work with a few juniors. I provide social/emotional counseling, academic advising, and career and college counseling. I work with students individually and in small groups. Last summer, I taught a Career Exploration class for incoming freshmen to help them start planning for their future careers.

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

I think ANY job will provide valuable experience for teenagers! Employers like to see teamwork and problem solving skills, such as efficiency in dealing with an irritated customer or cooperating with co-workers to finish a job. Any job experience that will help develop these skills, I believe, would be especially valuable.

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

Do your research and be professional. Doing your research means learning about the company and job you are interviewing for, as well as practicing how you will answer common interview questions. Being professional means being respectful, greeting people in a friendly way, dressing nicely, and leaving your cell phone off.

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.

Factory jobs, construction, cleaning, childcare, and food service are all jobs where young people can make decent money with little or no experience.

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

Ask your parents, friends of your parents, your friends, teachers, counselors, etc. if they know about any job opportunities. Teens can also go directly to the company, in person or on their website, to see about seasonal job opportunities. Waterparks, park districts, school districts, theme parks, the YMCA, zoos, landscaping companies, painting companies, etc. are all great places to look for seasonal employment.

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

Don’t be nervous during the job interview; the employer wants to find a great employee for the job just as much as you want to find a great job. Any job will provide valuable experience and help you learn about yourself, so don’t worry if your first few jobs aren’t your “dream jobs.” Always be on time, do your best, and don’t be afraid to politely ask for clarification if you don’t understand what your supervisor is asking you to do.

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