I’ve done volunteer work in high school, but have never had a paying job. I really want to get my foot in the door and get some experience. What is the best way to look for a first timer to look for a job?
Samantha – you ask a very brave question! I know that it must seem a little intimidating to look for that first paying job, so you show great courage by simply asking the question. Good for you!
When you are looking for that first paying job, be careful to manage your expectations – both your expectations for yourself and your expectations for the job. When you are trying to get your foot in the door, your goal is to get in and get the opportunity to show them what you are made of! Don’t make this bigger than it needs to be by having lofty expectations.
In many entry-level roles, the primary expectation is that you demonstrate yourself to be reliable (you will show up on time every day), dependable (you’ll do what they ask/teach you to do when or before it needs to be done), willing and able to learn (you’ll do what is expected of you when or before it needs to be done), assertive (you’ll ask questions when you have questions and show initiative to take on new tasks), trustworthy (this speaks for itself!), and friendly (to your co-workers and customers).
Beyond that, they will be hiring you on your potential (does it look like you can learn to do the job), your personality (will you be a pleasant person to work with) and your passion (do you really want to do the job).
Through your volunteer work, your classwork and your daily life, I’ll bet you have any number of stories you can share that will illustrate your reliability, dependability, willingness/ability to learn, assertiveness, trustworthiness, and friendly demeanor. Am I right? I thought so.
Now combine that with your knowledge about you! What are your likes/dislikes? What are your interests and hobbies? In what types of environments do you do your best work?
If you like animals, a pet supply store might be a good place to consider for that first job. If you like travel, what about a hotel? Food – consider a restaurant. Into technology – how about a computer manufacturer or retail outlet? Money and finances – consider a bank.
The most important thing to do is to EXPLORE your interests and your skills and let these lead you to your options. Don’t just dip your toe in the pool – dive right in!