In a recent survey in Mr. Jones’ Civics and Economics class, 91 seniors responded to a job survey; only 15 of the students have jobs and only seven of those seniors had jobs prior to their senior year. Why is the number so low? Are the students just not looking for jobs or are the companies not hiring? There are a combination of reasons teens remain unemployed.
It seems that it’s just hard to get a part-time job while in high school. Taryn Haralson, a straight-A senior at Highland High School who is graduating early to attend BYU in January, has applied to many places including Target, Burger King, Baskin Robbins, Subway, and Taco Bell. All of these companies have turned her down through email, without even giving her a chance to interview. Perhaps these places aren’t hiring at all, but why wouldn’t they want a straight A student who is graduating early? Teens are promised that good grades lead to a great income. Perhaps this is untrue regarding minimum-wage employment.
Even if students manage to get an interview, their first job interview has got to be one of the scariest things they will ever experience. When teenagers reach the age of 16 or 17, they have a certain expectation of getting a job. So they go around applying for jobs at their favorite clothing stores or local burger joints until they get the call they have been waiting for: the interview call. They try to completely prepare themselves for the questions they think employers will ask and present themselves in the way that they feel employers want. Unfortunately, nothing can truly prepare a student for what is to come with his or her first job interview.
The interview process can be quite nerve-wrecking. Students are not guaranteed a job, simply based on performing well in classes at school or because they have scored the interview. Employers hire people based on how well they think an individual will do on the job. Each company has its own criteria for the ideal job candidate. Individual managers will have even more specific biases. But generally, all employers look for hires that work well with others, have creative problem-solving skills, can multi-task, and present themselves professionally.
One of the best times for students to find part time work is during the upcoming holiday season. Local businesses need to hire new workers to cover the increased business that happens in November and December. Sometimes, these temporary jobs can develop into continued employment if a student is particularly good and reliable.
If a student manages to land that coveted interview, he or she should dress in appropriate clothing in neutral colors, and wear minimal jewelry. Female applicants should keep their makeup conservative. Wear clothing that downplays or hides tattoos or eccentric tendencies. The goal is to present an image of someone focused on work rather than play or recreation.
Even if a teenager doesn’t get the first or second job he or she wanted, there are other places accepting applications. Success is often the child of persistence.
By Cheyenne Ferrin