How to Get a Part-Time Job
A part-time job not only brings in extra cash, but it can teach you life-long skills. Lisa Sohmer, director of college counseling at Garden School in Jackson Heights, New York, believes that part-time work teaches teenagers valuable lessons, helps build character and prepares them for future jobs.
“They gain a sense of maturity and self-esteem learning how to do a job and to do it well,” she says. “You have an expectation that people are counting on you.”
Ready to work? Here are five tips to help you find the right part-time job for you.
1. Understand What You’re Old Enough to Do
Labor laws exist to ensure you’re old enough to balance your time and handle the extra responsibility of a job. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) stipulates that a non-agricultural employee must be at least 14 years old. If you’re younger than 16, you can only work outside of school hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the school year. For more information on how many hours you can work on school and non-school days, visit http://youthrules.dol.gov/hours.htm.
There are no restrictions on your work hours once you turn 16. But, be aware that your state might have stricter rules. For more details on FLSA, visit www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/hours.asp.
2. Where to Look for Job Openings
Sohmer recommends looking on bulletin boards in your school and at your local library. Look in your newspaper’s classified ads or on Craigslist. Visit restaurants, stores, coffee shops or anywhere that you tend to hang out, and ask if they’re hiring. Even if they’re not, most places will still keep your application on file for when positions open up.
Also, it’s never too early to start networking. Ask your friends who have jobs if they like where they work. Or ask family friends if any of their companies need help.
3. Brainstorm the Kind of Job You Want After Graduation
If you have a good idea of what kind of career you want, then start gaining experience in that industry. For example, if you’re interested in managing a hotel or restaurant one day, getting an administrative or serving job can help you develop a better understanding of the business.
If you’re interested in being a journalist, Sohmer says many newspapers have internships. Or if you want to be a lawyer, she says that law offices often hire students to do administrative work. If education is the field you want to go into, Sohmer recommends being a camp counselor or working at an after-school program.
4. No Idea What You Want to Do? No Problem!
If you’re not sure what field you want to go into, Sohmer recommends working in the retail or service industries because you’ll learn about proper presentation. These industries will also help to hone your communication skills because you’ll work with the public. In addition, you’ll gain skills needed in any professional environment, such as time management and handling responsibility, according to Sohmer.
“The real lesson is doing things that will be helpful by virtue of having a job,” Sohmer says.
5. Work on Your Interviewing and Application Skills
It’s important to know how to present yourself professionally when looking for a job. An employer’s expectations change over time, so research the most recent application and interview etiquette at your local library. Or see if your library has job-seeking classes such as how to keep your resume in the “yes” pile, or lessons in presenting your strengths in interviews.
Reaping the Rewards
A part-time job not only prepares you for the professional world, but it also looks great on college applications. Sohmer says that having a job is another accomplishment you can spotlight because it demonstrates responsibility and shows that you’ve been willing to try new things. She mentions that a college’s admissions staff definitely considers whether you’ve spent your time wisely and well.
“It’s about making good choices with your time and showing that you’re not just ‘hanging out,’” she says.
From Teacher’s Video Company
This DVD shows you how to look for a part-time job in terms of the resume and job interview. It also gives tips on how to achieve success in your part-time job and how to manage your money.
The Teenager’s Guide to Part-time Jobs: Tips for Earning a Dollar
By Samantha Koch and David Koch
Earning your own money as a teenager is a wonderful concept, but having a job you love makes it even better. This book gives advice on how teenagers can find the best possible part-time jobs.
Vince Stead’s 110 Jobs Almost Any Teenager Can Start!
By Vince Stead
Vince Stead thinks you’re never too young to start your own business. His book covers all kinds of businesses that any teenager can start, such as pool cleaning and window washing services.
JIST Works, Inc.
This DVD features many young people who review their own work experience, good and bad. They also give advice on how to get a job that you’ll not only enjoy but that will also prepare you for your career.