Finding Formal Employment

1. Decide on what you want to do

When deciding what job you want to work you can search as broad or as specific as you want, but know that most of the jobs you will find as a teen aren't going to be crazy fun. Instead of focusing on fun, focus on what things are important to you. Do you want to work somewhere you can walk to? Do you want the highest possible pay? Is the work environment most important to you? These are all really important when deciding where you want to apply. The internet has tons of information about pay and workplace environment, plus good old Google Maps can help you simply see what is around you. Research is a super important step of finding a job, and once you have a few places in mind you are ready to start preparing yourself to apply. 

 2. Make your resume

This can sound scary, especially for people who have little to no job experience. First, start with any job experience. Have you babysat locally? Have you volunteered anywhere? Try to list 2-3 things. If you really can't think of anything, instead make the category "leadership and community experience.” Are you the head of a club? The captain of a sports team? Think about your phrasing. Instead of "planned/decorated for a school dance", you could write "student life event coordinator".

Keep in mind that making your resume pretty and "aesthetic" can actually hurt you - keep it simple.

Take a look at this example resume for a better understanding of how to format the entire thing.

3. Apply and apply again!

Larger corporations like fast food places will have all of the application info on their websites, but smaller businesses might require you to come in and ask. Either way, remember that you are in the position of power and it is important to find your right fit. So many places are looking to hire so get yourself out there and apply to a few different places! 

If you are rejected, cut your losses and move on. You have already done the hard work of making your resume so just keep applying to different places until you are accepted somewhere. Fun fact, I was actually rejected by my current job the first time I applied, but since I didn't see the message in the portal, I resubmitted my application a few months later thinking they simply forgot about me. Despite being extremely embarrassed when I finally figured out how to work the portal, I ended up getting the job the second time around. That is not to say that you should apply for the same job at the same place again and again, but keep in mind that one rejection doesn't mean your search is hopeless. If you keep looking you will find somewhere. 

Once you get the job, make sure that you are picking the right amount of hours for you. I have a friend who works just three hours every Sunday washing dishes, and others who work many days after school as well as weekends. The point is that you should work the hours that make sense for you. Think of your stress levels, the amount of free time you want to still have, and how much money you want to be making. I work from 2-8pm Saturday and Sunday every other weekend, which adds up to 12 hours every two weeks. This works perfectly for me since I still feel like I have entirely free weekends, but I know others would much rather spread the hours over more days. It's really important to know yourself and only commit to what you can.

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Julia Barrow
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