Working a job in high school is no simple task, especially when you are already balancing class, homework, extracurricular activities, and time with friends and family. However, the experience can be super rewarding and valuable to your future and provide you with some income. Finding a job when your past experience is limited can be daunting, but check out these tips to get you started!
1. Draft a resume
Even if you’ve never held a “real” job before, you can likely create a resume. Have you joined any clubs in high school? Do you volunteer anywhere in your community? Have you won any academic awards? All of these opportunities and experiences can be used to demonstrate your interests, skills, and talents to employers. You can also include work that you’ve done close to home: babysitting, washing cars, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, or yard work. It’s also important to have references to vouch for your work ethic, so be sure to talk to your friends and neighbors that you have worked for in the past.
2. Check labor regulations
Depending on how old you are and where you live, you may be limited in the jobs you can apply for and the hours you can work. Some states require that you obtain work papers or employment certificates. Do a little bit of research and see if your state enforces this type of requirement. Though you aren’t a child, you are still a minor. So you should also take a look at the Child Labor Law regulations and take note of how they apply to you.
3. Tell everyone you are looking
Don’t be shy! Ask your friends and family to see if anyone has heard of any openings. Even if no one knows of any companies or organizations hiring, you will be the first person they think of when there is! Sometimes it takes a little bit of networking to secure employment.
4. Know your availability
When you go for an interview, make sure you are aware of your availability. Write down the hours that you will be able to work so that you are prepared. Remember, the more flexible you are, the more likely you will receive a job offer. You may have to sacrifice down time with friends to increase your chances of being hired.
5. Cast a wide net
You shouldn’t submit one application, pat yourself on the back, and call it a day. The more you reach out to companies and organizations, the greater your chances for landing a gig. So apply everywhere and stay open minded. Don’t write off certain jobs based on preconceived notions; that way, you’ll have more opportunities to be hired! (And who knows, you may discover that you like your job more than you originally expected). You may even want to consider volunteering as a way to gain experience that you can add to your resume for future job hunts.
6. Follow up
Companies are busy and they are likely to receive numerous applications, so be sure to reach back out. This demonstrates both tenacity and continued interest. Careful though, there’s a fine line between gentle inquiry and badgering. It’s a good idea to wait two weeks, and then follow up with your potential employer.
There’s no doubt that job hunting can be difficult, and at times, a little discouraging. Know that it’s going to take discipline, drive, and patience. Every application won’t necessarily result in an offer. Don’t lose hope and stay the course; eventually you are likely to discover an opportunity waiting for you!