A Guide to Preparing for Your First Job as a Teenager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A teenager's first job can be an exciting experience. Teenagers can learn vital skill sets for their future careers during their first job. Understanding how to prepare for your first job can increase your chances of success. In this article, we explore the importance of preparing for your first job as a teenager, examine tips to prepare for it, and review some frequently asked questions.

Importance of preparing for your first job as a teenager

Preparing for your first job as a teenager is important because it can increase your chances of securing the position. Preparedness can help you feel more confident about your skills and chances of success. Being confident can reduce anxiety before a job interview or your first workday. Your ability to take responsibility for your preparation can also enhance your sense of accountability and independence.

Tips for preparing for your first job as a teenager

The following are a few tips you may consider when preparing for your first job:

Dress according to the occasion

It's important to dress appropriately when picking up an application or interviewing for your first job. Choosing appropriate attire rather than casual apparel, such as sweatpants, can enhance your professionalism and create a positive first impression. Dressing appropriately may involve selecting well-fitting, clean clothing and wearing appropriate footwear, such as closed-toe shoes rather than flip-flops.

Related: Jobs For 13-Year-Olds

Practice professionalism

Entry-level employees may work with managers, supervisors, and colleagues who have different levels of experience. Learning conflict resolution techniques and proper workplace etiquette can help you prepare for interactions with superiors and coworkers. It's also important to learn cell phone etiquette before starting your first job. Consider switching your phone to vibrate to avoid disturbing your colleagues and avoid using your phone for recreational purposes, such as viewing social media to establish professionalism.

Establish a budget

You can prepare for your first check by developing budgeting skills with a financial plan. Budgeting involves making financial plans, such as saving for a car, a place to live, or postsecondary education. It may be beneficial to discuss financial and budget issues with an adult who can help you determine how much you can save and how much you can spend. Learning about budgeting can be beneficial to your future professional development.

Related: Guide on How to Get a Job as a Teenager (With Steps)

Consider safety precautions

It's important to familiarize yourself with the potential hazards you may encounter to ensure that you can respond accordingly. As an example, if you work with heavy machinery or equipment, you may not be aware of the safety precautions or training you require. If you're unfamiliar with the job's safety conditions, ask the manager or an experienced adult for advice on how to prepare.

Create your resume

Although some jobs do not require a resume, it may still be useful for you to have one available. You can include more information on your resume than your previous work experience. For example, you can include a list of your hard and soft skills, your academic achievements, previous volunteer experience, and your career goals or aspirations. Here are a few examples of information you can highlight on your resume:

  • Involvement in activities inside or outside the classroom

  • Participation in clubs, music or dance lessons, and sporting activities

  • Leadership positions within school organizations such as class president

  • Freelance jobs such as babysitting, yard work, and snow shovelling

  • School projects, advanced courses, and academic competitions

Research interview techniques

You can reduce anxiety on the day of a job interview if you prepare for the interview in advance. You may consider practising your interview etiquette by conducting practice interviews. Giving a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact, and thanking the interviewer are common interview techniques. An interviewer may ask if you have questions for them at the end of the interview. This is an excellent opportunity to ask them questions about the position and the company. Preparing questions before an interview is a great way to demonstrate your interest in the position.

Related: What to Wear to an Interview as a Teenager (With Tips and FAQs)

FAQs about preparing for your first job

The following are a few frequently asked questions about preparing for your first job as a teenager:

What questions are important to ask before starting a job?

By asking questions, you can start building momentum and show your dedication to success. Here is a list of questions you may ask on your first day of work:

  • How do you measure success?

  • What is the expected work schedule?

  • Can you tell me more about the company culture?

  • Are there any expectations for my position?

  • Do you plan to conduct informal evaluations and check-ins?

  • How can I contribute ideas?

  • What are my primary objectives for my first week?

  • Who is my supervisor?

  • Which tools will I be working with?

  • What are the most essential daily tasks?

  • What are the preferred methods of communication?

  • What do you like best about working here?

  • Where can I find more information about my position or the industry?

  • Are there any mandatory employee meetings?

Related: 19 Jobs for Teens to Consider (With Salaries)

What are some questions an interviewer may ask?

Here are a few examples of questions an interviewer may ask you:

  • How would you describe your strengths?

  • Are you familiar with our company?

  • Do you have any weaknesses?

  • Can you tell me what you're learning from your extracurricular activities?

  • What have you learned from your volunteer experience?

  • Describe your long-term career goals

  • What activities do you enjoy outside school?

  • Give an example of a time when you taught a classmate a new concept

  • Why are you interested in this position?

  • How would you assess your writing and communication abilities?

  • How has your academic background prepared you for this position?

  • Tell me about a scenario in which you worked with a team

  • Have you ever had a part-time job?

  • Explain a situation in which you disagreed with a classmate or teammate

What skills can a teenager list on their resume?

A resume can include skills you develop through school, extracurricular activities, sports, and volunteer work. For example, if you play a sport, you may list that you have teamwork and leadership skills. Here are some examples of the skills you can list on your resume:

  • Communication: Communicating refers to your ability to both convey information and listen to people. Oral and written communication are important skills you learn from giving presentations and giving class speeches.

  • Dependability: Employers typically seek teenagers who have mature behaviour and are reliable in their ability to arrive on time and complete tasks. Listing any additional responsibilities you have taken on in your school or extracurricular activities can help you show your dedication and dependability.

  • Teamwork: Many high school jobs involve working on a team, such as with a team of servers at a restaurant or as a group of counsellors at a summer camp. Consider mentioning times when you worked well as a member of a team, such as on a sports team, within a club, or with a music group.

  • Technology: Employers may look to hire employees who are good with technology. Through personal computer use, computer programming, and coding classes, you can develop your technology skills.

What is an entry-level job?

Entry-level jobs require little professional experience and provide the opportunity to progress into larger careers. Employers often use these positions to hire young professionals who have some prior experience, such as an internship, but not necessarily someone who has full-time experience. Many entry-level job titles begin with the term assistant or associate. The benefits of entry-level jobs include the opportunity for training and experience. Entry-level jobs can expose you to many aspects of an industry while giving you opportunities to learn and develop.

What are the benefits of an entry-level job?

You can explore many work environments and industries with an entry-level job, without committing to a full-time position. Getting an entry-level job can also help you gain experience that builds a stronger resume. Through practical experience, you can learn industry terminology and better understand the pros and cons of different work environments. You can also learn more about team structures, team building, and collaboration settings.

Entry-level positions may provide the opportunity to work within multiple departments. This can give you the chance to explore careers you may not otherwise consider. The experience you get from an entry-level job can also appear on your resume as more qualifications.

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