5 Tips for Teens Applying To Their First Job

Applying for a first job as a teenager can be an unnerving experience. It requires much dedication and a level of mental preparedness that will allow you to pick yourself up in the eventuality of failure and move on. This situation is caused by the fact that a good number of employers want to hire based on experience, which indicates what one can do for their firm, but teens with close to zero experience need those very same first jobs in order to acquire the needed experience. It is thus often said that “the first mistake is being a first time applicant”.

Despite the gloomy prospects, hope is to be found in the fact that everyone, including the employers themselves, were once in a similar position of being first time job applicants and they made it. And hence the question begs, how does one effectively apply for a first job? Five tips of utmost importance are discussed below.

Dress (And Behave) To Impress

The first tip is that first impressions count. During an encounter, it takes up to ten seconds to prejudge someone and form prejudices about them based on observation alone. Hence, you want to give off the proper image when you meet your prospective employer. And this does not only count during the interview but also any informal meeting or event or even when you go to pick up your application. A proper image is judged upon one’s mode of dressing, a firm handshake, confident speech and good eye contact. Therefore when meeting a prospective employer be neat, formal to some degree and don’t overdo make up or jewellery, practice your conversation skills as well to avoid nervous habits such as tapping fingers and playing with one’s hair.

Attitude is Key

Secondly have the right attitude. Attitude is infectious and with a good and positive attitude, an employer can’t help it but feel a bit confident in you. Inspiring such trust gives you an edge in job seeking. The right attitude is one that is unapologetic for being a first time applicant, one that recognises the shortcomings of one’s situation but also appreciates that there is potential that can be tapped be it a fresh set of ideas on how to tackle old situations, youthful energy and talent, etc. With the right attitude, one can move mountains.

Do Your Research

The third tip is being prepared. This entails doing background research on the company/firm that one would like to join. Getting to know what the firm deals with, the vision and mission, their history and culture and getting a sense of how the job position of interest fits into all of that. It is also helpful to get to know about similar roles played in competing firms of the same industry to gauge what is to be expected of such an employee. This helps to recheck your interest in the position of interest. To add on to preparedness, on the day of the interview one needs to have with them all material that might be required including resumes, transcripts, driving licence etc.


The fourth tip is asking relevant questions during the interview. It is standard procedure during interviews that after being grilled, one will be given a chance to ask the potential employer any question. This is a chance to illustrate your understanding and interest in the company. Ask questions relevant to job description for example asking for clarification as regards the job roles, the times required to be on the job, one’s immediate supervisors, whether the job entails a lot of travel among others. A common mistake is to directly jump into the salary question without having justified your interest in the position.

Follow Up

Finally, the last tip regards follow up after an interview. This chance should be exploited by sending the interviewer or potential employer an email or giving them a call a day or more after thanking them for the time spent interviewing you and perhaps inquiring as to whether the job position has already be assigned. Such a gesture serves to remind the employer about your candidature and also illustrates your determination and commitment to the position thus giving you an edge.


This article was contributed by Erik Bowitz , a Senior Resume Consultant from the leading online resume building company, Resume Companion. As Consultant he has worked with many first-time job applicants to create more effective resumes. 

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