Applying for a summer job

By Katie Olson | Published Thursday, May 12, 2011

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Students applying for jobs during the summer may find difficulty without prior knowledge in the work force.

“It depends on the employer how hard it may be without any experience. Some employers don’t have time to work with people who don’t have any experience,” Taco Mayo General Manager Ron Olson said.

Katie Olson

For students with no prior work experience, it’s still possible to find a job depending on where you look.

“I just turn in applications anywhere I can,” Decatur High School senior Samantha McDaniel said.

However, there are a few helpful hints to remember, even if you’ve never applied for a job before.

Before the interview:

1. Look through the local newspaper employment ads and apply anywhere you can.

2. On that note, it never hurts to have an inside track. If you have a family member or friend who works for a certain company, see if they’ll be your reference.

3. Many employers often look for first-time applicants because they generally don’t have bad habits, unlike people who’ve held multiple jobs.

4. It’s best to look presentable when you walk into a business. Clean jeans and a nice shirt are fine. Avoid T-shirts, cutoffs, etc.

5. Generally, fast food places and convenience stores with lower-paying jobs hire high school students.

6. Resumes need to be typed, not hand-written. If you’re filling out an application, write with a black ink pen very neatly.

7. Write on your application any experience that shows responsibility and leadership such as jobs you’ve had at home (feeding animals, mowing lawns, babysitting), offices held, upper-level classes, clubs or organizations.

8. On that note, you may elaborate on your experience but never lie.

However, making a good impression when meeting the employer is just as important. “Don’t let the interviewer smell your fear,” McDaniel said.

Making a good impression means showing the employer you’re interested in the position.

“You want to as often as possible make eye contact with the interviewer; try not to give one-word answers to their questions and try to elaborate on your answer,” Olson said.

During the interview:

1. As a rule, do not wear anything too flashy or trendy, but it will depend on where you are applying. Dress appropriately for the place to which you’re applying.

2. Be as polite, calm and collected as possible.

3. Know what you’re going to answer when an employer asks you a question.

4. Look the employer in the eye and have some questions of your own. Don’t be afraid to ask. And know something about the business or the type of business.

5. If an employer asks about how extra-curricular activities will affect your availability, answer honestly.

6. At the end of the interview, ask if you need to contact them or if they’ll contact you.

7. If they do contact you, ask about the next steps of employment. You want to start on a good foot.

One of the most important tips to remember is ask questions.

“That is how you show that you’re taking this interview seriously, and in some ways, you’re interviewing them, too,” said Rene Fuller, Decatur High School college and career readiness specialist.

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