Jan 2, 2018

How to Land Your First Job

how to land the first job

We asked our high school intern, Adam what he and his friends discuss around the lunch table and were surprised when he said how often they talk about the idea of getting their first jobs. Adam explained to us that his "social lifestyle" can get a little pricey now that a trip to the movies or similar experiences can cost around $20 per outing.

He's put together a comprehensive guideline to help teens like him find work, even if they have no prior experience!  Read on or forward to your favorite teenage go-getter. 

What are the rules?

In the state of Arizona, you're legally allowed to get a job at the age of 14, but there are a lot of restrictions unless you are working for an immediate family member. Once you turn 16 or 17 the doors open up when it comes to work place opportunities at everyday businesses. There are still some restrictions for 16 and 17-year-olds, but they mostly include not being able to work around heavy machinery or in especially dangerous construction site settings. Check out the details here

Get online. 

One of the fastest and most convenient ways to learn about companies that are hiring is to go online! There are websites like Snagajob.com and Indeed.com where you can set up notifications to send you an email when certain jobs become available. By typing in a few key words you will be able to see dozens of options and even submit your resume or application through the same website! These are also important tools to help you narrow down the options if you're only looking for a part time position or maybe something that is close to your home. 


Applying for a first job might sound scary, but once you get comfortable with writing a cover letter and have a solid resume it will feel like a breeze! Not all employers ask for the same set of items but you should be prepared with a written letter to the hiring department, a clean resume with zero mistakes plus some well thought out answers to common questions like "Do you have a reliable mode of transportation?" or "Do you consider yourself a leader?" You'll probably have to answer other questions on the application like your date of birth, social security number and whether or not you're a citizen of the United States. 

Prep for your interview. 

Most employers will also conduct an interview with you when applying for a job. You should always prepare for an interview. Hireteen.com is a great resource for teenagers looking for work. The site is handy in that it provides a list of businesses who hire teenagers, but they also include how to apply to a specific workplace and what questions are asked on an interview for that specific job. You should prepare for an interview by doing these things:

Practice, practice, practice.

Ask a friend or someone you know to help you conduct a fake interview so you’ll be prepared for the actual interview. It might feel silly but you will feel less nervous when you're in front of your first potential boss.


Use Hireteen.com or other resources to find out what kind of questions your employer will ask. 


Upon greeting, you should SHINE. Smile, Handshake, Introduction, Name and Eye contact! remembering these things seem obvious but if you're scared or nervous the SHINE acronym is a great way to remember the basics. 

Ask questions.

Do some research on the business you are applying to and prepare three or five questions to ask. Being knowledgeable about the job you're applying for will show the employer that you're passionate about being hired there.

Follow up! 

After the interview, write a thank you note and mail it to your employer. This might seem old school but it shows that you are willing to put in a little extra effort! 

How much will I make?

Minimum wage in Arizona is currently $10.50, but a lot of job openings on Snagajob.com and Indeed.com offer $11-$15 dollars an hour for part-time work. This should be enough extra spending money to hang out with friends, buy new clothes or save for a bigger purchase like your first car! 

Keep in mind that a first job isn't necessarily about making a ton of money or finding the job of your dreams! It's about building your resume, learning new experiences and maybe making a few new friends!