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Here’s How to Get Hired as a Teen–Even in This Recession

June 3rd, 2009 | admin | Help Finding a Job

Here’s A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Hired as a Teen—Even in This Recession

teen jobsHere’s as close as you can get to a guaranteed plan for finding a job if you are a teen.

As a teen looking for part-time work you have probably never been taught the finer aspects of how to look for and win a great job. Well, that is all about to change. What you are going to learn here are tips and strategies that if you follow will put you miles ahead of all the other teens that are applying for that same job.

This is the most important thing to remember from all that you will read here.  It’s all about separating yourself from all the other job applicants.  You want to do everything you can to stand out as the best person for them to hire.  Keep this in mind.

Jobs are not that easy for teens to get these days.  There are fewer companies hiring and more teens than ever that want jobs.  So, if you are going to get a job—you have to know how to present yourself as more qualified, ambitious and reliable than other teens applying for the same job.  

Just filling out an application and hoping that you get a call—is the most certain way NOT to get a job today.

Here’s what you do:

1.    First go through the phone book or Internet and make a list all the companies you would like to work for that you think would hire you as a teen.  Most of these will likely be restaurants, fast-food, retail stores, parks and recreation.  You are going to be very systematic with your job search—so this list is very important.  Some companies you may not be able to find, so drive around your town and walk through the malls and note other places that look interesting, write them on your list.

2.    Now you need to put together a resume. Even if you have never worked before, you will be putting together a resume that shows what you have done in school.  There are lots of resources that will help you put together a resume.  You can look on the Internet.  Do a Google search.  If you don’t have access to the Internet you can go to the library for help in writing a resume.  You can also ask a parent or teacher. Most adults that have been working for a while all have resumes.  Ask to see theirs so you can use it as a guide.

3.    Now you should put together a cover letter.  A cover letter is something you will attach to your resume.  It is much more personal than the resume and actually more helpful and important.  To write it think about what the person hiring you might want to see in your background.  They are looking for teens that are: reliable, ambitious, fast learners, resourceful.  Write a short cover letter that you will accompany with your resume that gives examples of these qualities that you possess.  

Here’s an example:


Dear Hiring Manager,                     

Please accept my application for employment.  I am very interested in coming to work for your company.   I wanted to share with you a few of my strongest characteristics. (Give examples of your strongest characteristics like ambitious, reliable, a fast learner, resourceful, dependable….)

(If you have done the kind of job you are applying for be sure to tell in your cover letter that you have experience.  Be sure to mention that you are good at showing up on time–if that is the case…if not, make it the case.)

Thank you for your consideration or I look forward to hearing from you.

Your name
Your address
Your phone number

(This cover letter is just an example.  Make any changes or additions you like.  The point is that most other people applying for that same job will not be doing this and it will make you stand out in a very positive way. Make sure to have someone else look over your resume and cover letter to make sure you do not have any mistakes on it. )

4.    Now what you want to do is visit, in person, all the companies you have targeted to work for.  Take a copy of your resume and cover letter with you.  Make lots of copies, because you will be leaving these behind at each place.

5.    When you get there ask to speak to the manager.

•    If the manager is not in or available ask for his/her name and the best time to come back or call.  Make sure you get their phone number.

•    If the manager is in, here’s what to do and say.  Greet the manager by offering your name and a firm handshake.  Say something like:  “Hi, my name is (your name).  I would like to fill out an application for employment.”   This is very important.  Notice you DO NOT ask: “Are you hiring.”  Because most likely they are not and that will be the end for you.

•    The manager is probably going to say that they are not hiring.  So be prepared for that.  Be confident and say “No problem. I thought that might be the case.  However, I know you probably do have openings once in a while and I would like to be considered when that happens.  I feel I would make a great employee and I really would like to work here.   Can I fill out an application and leave with you my qualifications today?”

•    In most cases they will say yes to this.  When you are finished filling out the application make sure you accompany it with a copy of your resume and cover letter.  (Ask if they have a stapler and staple everything all together.)

•    Now just imagine….when they do have an opening and the manager starts going through all the resumes on his desk, who do you think he is going to call?  Probably the person that took the time to include a resume and cover letter with the application.  That person will stand out and most likely get a call for an interview.

•    Before you leave be sure to thank the manager and ask “When should I check back with you?”  You can also ask this: “When do you think you might have an opening that I can interview for?”

6.  Now you want to go back to your list and put down the managers name, phone number and two short sentences.  What happened there and when you should follow up again.

7.  Repeat this process for very place on your list.  Follow up when the hiring managers said you should.  In most cases, it is best to re-visit in person.  That way you are more likely to make an impression on them.  It shows your ambition and drive.

8.  Most important don’t give up and continue to follow up.   Most other teens will only fill out an application and never follow up again.  And if they don’t ask the right question, they will get turned away and never even get the chance to fill out an application.

9.  Keep good notes on what happens each time you visit and speak with the hiring manager.

10.  It is important to remember that a clean and neat appearance will have a positive impression with hiring managers.  So make sure you have done these things when you go out looking for a job or on an interview:  
•    Make sure you are wearing clean clothes.  Don’t over dress.
•    Comb your hair and brush your teeth.
•    Keep the jewelry and body jewelry to a minimum as much as possible (less is better–none is best).
•    The same with perfume and cologne (none is best).
•    Smile and be positive.

11.     summer jobsOne last thought.  Follow up is very important.  It is not a bad idea when you follow up to bring your resume and cover letter with you again.  Always leave them behind for the manager—each time you visit.    The more times the hiring manager sees you—both in person and on paper—that is a good thing.

This article was written my Mark Myers.  Mark is a staffing professional that helps people looking for jobs and companies looking for top candidates.  He has two websites: and

If you want to learn how to put together a well written resume–one that will get you called in for an interview take a look here.

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