Teens: 5 Tips for Conducting a Successful Job Search
1. Know what soft skills to market.
Become aware of your soft skills that are your strengths and best suited for the job you are applying for. Employees use soft skills as an indicator to determine what type of employee you may be, how well you may perform, and if you fit in the company’s culture.
The term “soft skills” is associated with your Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ). Soft skills refer to your personality traits, such as how you communicate with others, problem solve, resolve conflict, negotiate, influence, and sell ideas and viewpoints. These are behavior competencies also referred to as interpersonal skills and people skills.
Soft skills give employers clues on how you manage your emotions and influence others in the workplace. They give hints ranging from your ability to deal with difficult personalities to controlling your emotions.
Based on your soft skills, employers can decide if you will build good relationships and contribute to the company’s success.
2. Prepare a targeted résumé.
A targeted résumé customizes your experiences relevant to the job.
Your résumé should be targeted to the job you are applying for. Before writing it, be sure to choose the format that best highlights your soft and hard skills. Hard skills are the technical skills needed to perform the job.
Start the résumé-writing process by brainstorming. At this point, do not exclude anything. Simply write down all of your skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
A functional résumé works best for teens with no or limited work experiences. This format will allow you to emphasize skills, experiences, accomplishments, and de-emphasizes the chronology.
The functional résumé includes a section in which you list all relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments. This format supports using functional categories to describe your background. It will enable you to use a variety of experiences gained from non-paid activities such as academics, clubs, and community affiliations, hobbies, and do-it-yourself know-hows that demonstrate your leadership skills, communication abilities, and relationship-building abilities.
A targeted résumé lets an employer know you understand the job requirements and that you have the skill set required for it.
Apply 3 Steps to Prepare a Targeted Résumé
- Read the entire job announcement to make sure you understand the employer’s job requirements.
- List your experiences that closely relate to the employer’s job requirements. These should be your best selling points.
- Identify three to four descriptive action verbs or power words that best capture the content, then use them as headings for your functional categories.
Once you have completed these three steps, you are ready to start writing your functional résumé. Include additional headings appropriate to your situation such as these: career objective, work history, and organizations/companies. Be sure to include dates.
3. Attitude and gratitude can break a tie.
Showing an attitude of gratitude can make the difference between getting a job or not.
Throughout your job search, express appreciation for all kind gestures and assistance others provide. Any act of kindness will extend further than you can imagine. Showing appreciation will open you up to more leads and favorable opportunities. You’ll find people are more willing to help others who show appreciation.
To show appreciation, make sure you follow up with a “thank you” after each interview or network contact. If an employer’s decision to hire is tied between you and a candidate of equal skill set and experience, most likely the one who sent a “thank you” will gain the competitive edge.
4. Networking can change your game plan.
Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job!
Job search networking is one of the most successful ways to find a job, learn about job leads, and get information or advice.
Prepare brief emails letting friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and community leaders know you are looking for a job. Always include your 30-second commercial about what you’re looking for.
Call people you feel comfortable with to ask for advice and guidance. Ask permission to email your résumé and request them to review it for improvements.
Make an appointment with your school’s guidance counselor or career services department to get help identifying ways to spread the word you are looking for a job. Ask for assistance with your job search every chance you get.
5. What does “no” really mean!
Do not take “no” personally!
When you are not selected for a job, do not take it personally. Employers are not saying “no” to you as a person; they are saying “no” to the situation. Usually a “no” is because of something driven by an internal process, not because of something you did or did not do.
Every experience is an opportunity to grow and learn. Follow up with all employers you contacted to say “thank you” for the opportunity and ask if they would be willing to give you feedback. Feedback is a gift. You want to know what you can do better as it relates to your application, résumé, and interview. Always look to improve for future opportunities.
It is normal to feel disappointed when you hear “no,” but do not let it stop you from moving forward. Leave every situation with a positive ending.
About the Author – Naomi Vernon specifically introduces teens to the job-search process, so they can build confidence while learning the skills needed to secure employment. She helps increase their awareness of the working world and inspires them to go after their dreams. Vernon’s three adult children – now successful professionals in the criminal justice field – are living proof of her guidance and influence. You can find out more about New Beeginings here!