Preparing Teens for the Workplace

By admin
July 07, 2019

One of life’s important rights of passage is getting the first job. Besides giving teens a chance to make a little extra spending money, getting a job means functioning outside the protective bubble of family, friends, educators and coaches. It may be the first glimpse into what can be a harsh reality of working with the public. It can also be an excellent opportunity to learn important life skills that will not only serve them well in their first job, but can also help them develop a strong work ethic that they will carry with them throughout their career.

There are a number of ways parents can help their teens prepare to get a job, and keep a job. Whether your teen is searching for a summer job or after school employment, there are some things they need to know that can increase the chances that their first job will be a success.

Getting a Job

The first step toward employment is learning how to apply and interview for a job. Even before your teen has turned in an application for work, they are likely to have already made a first impression. It is important for them to understand that they will be judged by their appearance, demeanor and attitude, as well as by the interest they show for being employed.

Here are a few tips to share with your teen that will help them avoid making an unfavorable first impression.

  • Dress neatly and be clean and well-groomed, when picking up applications and going for the interview.
  • Wearing a business suit isn’t necessary for interviewing for an entry-level position, but they should make an effort to look presentable and avoid no no’s like wearing lounge pajama bottoms, tank tops, cut-off shorts, obnoxious t-shirts and flip-flops.
  • They should nix the body jewelry. Many workplaces don’t allow adornments such as nose rings, ear plugs, tongue jewelry and most anything beyond pierced earrings.
  • Treat the interviewer with respect and courtesy. Shake hands, look them in the eye, and thank them for giving you the opportunity to meet with them.
  • Cellphones should be set on silent and kept out of sight.
  • Questions should be answered clearly and succinctly. The interviewer’s time is valuable.

Keeping a Job

Once the hurdle of the interview is over and your teen has been offered the position, it is time for them to prepare for how they will behave on the job. Whether they will be flipping burgers, working in an office or retail business or bagging groceries there are some basic guidelines to follow that will help them be successful in their jobs whatever they may be.

  • Dress appropriately. Be clean and well-groomed.
  • Take responsibility for your quality of work and personal interactions.
  • Be on time. If you are going to be late, call your immediate supervisor. The best course – don’t be late. Your employer is paying you to be there when he or she needs you.
  • Familiarize yourself with your workplace.
  • Be willing to learn. Pay attention and listen carefully.
  • If you don’t know what you should be doing, ask.
  • Keep your cellphone in your pocket when you are on the clock.
  • Stay off social media and no Internet browsing while on the job.
  • Don’t listen to or spread gossip.
  • Never complain about your work on social media.
  • Don’t discuss politics.
  • Make personal phone calls on your own time.
  • Be honest and ethical. Don’t cheat your boss out of time or money. They are both valuable commodities.
  • Follow instructions and do the task you are given in a timely manner.
  • Take initiative.
  • Be courteous and respectful. Demonstrate good manners with customers, co-workers and management.
  • Leave a good impression. The contacts you make on this job may be the very people you need to write a reference for college or a recommendation for the next job.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE A GOOD WORK ETHIC? People with a good work ethic are highly prized in the current workplace environment where so few possess it. They are the employees that get the job done, no matter what. They require less oversight on daily activities and managers can rely on them to complete their assigned tasks. They take pride in their work and step up to meet on-the-job challenges. They pitch in where they are needed (even when it isn’t in their job description) and they are willing to learn new skills. In essence, they are the go to girls and guys who can be counted on when everyone else is conspicuously out of sight. They are the people employers pray will apply for the job and they are the employees most likely to succeed in life.

The Take-Away

Having a job is a great way for a teen to learn responsibility, build skills and have the chance to work and interact with people of all kinds. It can also be good for a teen’s self-esteem and can help them build self-confidence. Holding a job requires that they manage their time more wisely, set priorities and learn to handle their finances. For a teen, having a job is a first step toward independence and adulthood. Developing a good work ethic can help them build a lasting foundation for their future success and instill a sense of satisfaction and pride in a job well done.

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