How to get a job as a teenager?
- BELGIUM: “Half the 425,000 people out of work are under age 30.”—The New York Times, 1982.
- CHINA: “Each year, 12 million to 15 million young people enter the job market . . . Their most serious preoccupation is finding jobs.”—Business Week, 1981.
- FRANCE: “Jobless rolls keep growing . . . Forty percent of the job seekers are younger than 25.”—U.S. News & World Report, 1981.
- GREAT BRITAIN: “Young workers are joining the ranks of the unemployed in droves.”—U.S. News & World Report, 1981.
- ITALY: “Unemployment among those aged fourteen to twenty-four is nearly 30 per cent.”—World Press Review, 1982.
- PORTUGAL: “65 percent of the jobless are under 25.”—U.S. News & World Report, 1981.
- UNITED STATES: In December of 1981 “the [unemployment] rate for teenagers was 21.7%.”—Time, 1982.
“DEPRESSED and guilty.” “Nervous, unsure.” “I really felt bad, rejected and frustrated.” “I felt useless, lost weight and got physically sick.” Those are four cries from jobless youths.
“Sad to say, young people are in a bad situation,” says Cleveland J. Jones, account executive for a New York City employment agency. “Today’s job market is very tight.”
But you know that. Trying to find a job is tough work. Worldwide inflation and limited demand for unskilled workers have made jobs harder to come by, especially if you are a youth. And if you cannot find a job right away, it can affect you emotionally, make you wonder about your self-worth. Others have felt that way, too, when they could not find a job. Why do we feel this way when we are out of work?
Finding a job is a major topic among youths. According to a recent survey published in Senior Scholastic magazine, American high school seniors were asked to rate which life goals they considered “very important.” Eighty-four percent responded: “Being able to find steady work.” And another survey found that 5 out of 10 current concerns of young people related to jobs.
A school is a good place for you to prepare for a job—if you are willing to learn. Learning does not stop at graduation. The world is in constant change; so to keep up you have to be constantly learning.
Learn the basics well—reading, writing and mathematics. Mr. Jones, with 15 years of experience in finding jobs for others, offers this advice for future job seekers: “Get a good high school education. I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to read and write and speak properly. Learn proper decorum as well, so you can handle people in the working world.” Labor statistics show that the unemployment rate for high school dropouts is almost double that of graduates.
Some may wonder: ‘What good is it to learn the basics if all I want to do is drive a bus, work in a factory or be in sales?’ A lot of good. Here is why: A bus driver must be able to read timetables for arrivals and departures. Factory workers need to know how to fill out job-completion tickets or similar reports. Sales clerks are expected to do computations.
In almost every type of job, communication skills are needed. Not only that, but you must communicate in order to get the job in the first place. And communication means writing, reading and speaking well enough to be understood and to understand.
According to Jones, three other important ingredients looked for in job applicants are: being on time, following directions and showing respect for superiors (teachers and the principal). School can be your training ground for developing these traits.
Never Give Up
“Never give up if you are out of school and looking for a job,” says Jones. “Do not go out on two or three interviews, then go home and sit and wait. You will never get called for a job that way.”
Sal was looking for a job for seven months before he was hired. How did he do it? “I would tell myself: ‘My job is to find a job,’” explains Sal. “I would spend eight hours a day each weekday for seven months looking for a job. I would start early each morning and ‘work’ till four o’clock in the afternoon. Many nights my feet would be sore. The next morning I would have to ‘psych myself up’ to start looking again.”
Where to Find Jobs
If you live in a rural area, your job search could start with local farms and orchards, or you can look for some type of yard work. If you live in a large town or city, try looking in the newspaper help-wanted ads. Why the help-wanted ads? Mr. Jones answers: “You will always find clues to what the employer is looking for in the want ads.”
These clues can tell you what qualifications are needed for a certain job and can help you to explain to the employer why you can fill those needs. Teachers, employment agencies, personnel offices and friends or neighbors who already have a job are other sources you can tap. And do not forget your parents. Of 160,000 teenagers surveyed, 45 percent said they would like parental advice on getting a job.