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Attention, High Schoolers! Simple Tips for Landing Your First Job

Written by Jani Carr, Converge multimedia journalism intern and senior at Parkview High School

Searching for a job can seem a stressful and daunting task, especially when you’re young and inexperienced. It’s true: finding a job is no quick and simple activity. But don’t worry—every employed adult had to start in the same place that all teenagers find themselves in today. While you may not get the first, second or even third job you apply for, these tips will help you navigate the tricky process and hopefully give you some insight to utilize for any future career searches.

First, use connections. When people say it’s about who you know and not what you know, they’re partially correct. Talk to your friends who have jobs or have previously had one. Common workplaces like grocery stores, fast food joints or restaurants usually hire year-round, so they’ll almost always need an extra cashier, server or cart pusher. Ask your friends if anyone at their place of work quit recently and left an open position, or if a new round of hiring is approaching. Any and every connection is an important one that you can use to your advantage.

Second, check the calendar. Stores always recruit before the winter holidays in anticipation of the gift-buying rush. These are also the periods when multiple staff members will likely be taking time off, so these jobs are great places to make a decent amount of money quickly because businesses like to pay extra to those who work on a holiday. Also, public facilities and government-run services usually need employees during the summer. On the Gwinnett County website, they advertise job opportunities for meal distributors, camp counselors and more, generally beginning in March or April and running through the end of the summer. These jobs have great starting pay for first-time job hunters, and any experience is helpful, but not mandatory, because Gwinnett provides paid training for most of their positions.

Sometimes, you don’t get that call back or land an interview, but when you finally do, it’s important to be patient, relaxed and be yourself. If a business wants an interview, that means the interviewer believes that you are qualified. Don’t underestimate your capabilities, be confident and sell yourself as the best person for the job. Good luck!