Application Advice: Tips to Find a Job in High School

Applying for a job in high school can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time, but it doesn’t have to be. With these helpful tips, you’ll land the position of your dreams—or at least a summer job—without breaking a sweat.

First of all, make sure you have a neat, well-organized and proofread resume. (For examples and advice on formatting, check out Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab.) Potential employers know you’re young and don’t have much work experience, but taking the time to present yourself and your accomplishments with professionalism can set you apart from the crowd.

Your resume should include your GPA, any academic awards you’ve won, and a list of sports teams and school clubs you belong to—especially if you’ve been elected to an office, like school treasurer or captain of the basketball team. Other great entries for your resume include organizations you’ve volunteered with and community events you’ve helped organize.

But that’s not all. Do you have any special skills or certifications? Mention them. Do you speak more than one language? Say so. Are you good with computers? Let your geek flag fly! Remember, your goal is to show potential employers that you’re a valuable member of your community, a fast learner, and a helpful addition to the workforce.

You should also make sure that your voicemail greeting and email address convey a grown-up, professional image. The same goes for ringback tones—your friends might get a kick out of Lil Wayne’s latest, but your future boss probably won’t.

Now, you’ve probably heard this next part before, but it bears repeating: When you go to a job interview, dress appropriately, stand up straight, and always be respectful. If you have a cell phone, turn the ringer off. Look your interviewer square in the eye and speak clearly. Potential employers appreciate job applicants who are confident in themselves and comfortable with people, so practice your interview skills with a parent, sibling or friend if you’re feeling nervous.

It also helps to prepare answers to a few common questions, like “why did you apply for this job?” or “tell me a little about yourself.” (Trust me, you’ll get those two a lot.) You don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a cue card, so don’t over-rehearse, but a little forethought can save you from awkward pauses and nervous stammering.

Finally, try to relax and be yourself. Sincerity and enthusiasm will take you a lot further than you might think—if your resume looks good, that is!

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