by Rachel Vilsack

The job search process can be intimidating for adults who have education or experience. Imagine what it’s like for a teen entering the labor market for their first job. Your first impulse might be to just start searching online or in a newspaper’s want ads for jobs. In reality, job-hunting takes time. Be prepared to commit as much time as possible to job search activities. 


Here is a list of common steps (and resources) for you to explore:


  1. Create a job search goal. This includes writing down things you know you like to do and jobs that interest you. You might want to research some jobs using online resources, like ISEEK. Finally, select a job that interests you the most, and write a job goal that fits you and that job. Example: Get a job in sales and think about going to school to get more sales skills.
  2. Networking is an important piece in a job search plan. It involves talking with anyone who could help you learn about or find a job. Network contacts can include teachers, counselors, friends, family, or coaches.
  3. You are ready to apply for jobs once you’ve got a goal and identified some job openings. Every employer will have different requirements, so pay close attention to the employer’s instructions for how to apply. This might include filling out a job application, creating a resume, or providing a letter of reference. Remember, showing the employer you’ll be a good fit for the job is the ultimate goal.
  4. Interviews are an important step in a job search. Employers interview candidates to find a good fit for their business, and there are many types of interviews: by phone or in-person; with a group of two or more candidates; or, a panel interview with more than one person from the company. It’s important to prepare for an interview by practicing your answers to common interview questions. Don’t forget to follow-up with the employer after the interview.
  5. Once you land the job, remember that there are steps to success in the workplace, including following the rules at work, dressing appropriately, and acting professionally. 


This may be your first job, but it likely won’t be your last. Take the opportunity to improve you skills and develop new ones.


Take it From Me

I had many summer jobs in my teenage years. I worked as a clerk in a screen print shop; a server in a fast food restaurant; I sold admission tickets at a museum. But my favorite job was as a tour guide aboard the William A. Irvin Ore Boat in Duluth, where I grew up. I sometimes joke that it was not an illustrious job; I did a lot of walking and talking every day – in any kind of weather –  and I didn’t get paid very much. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that this job taught me more about communication and customer service skills than any class or job I’ve had since! This job is still listed on my resume today.


A summer job is just the first step in your career path. 


Networking is listed as one step to finding a summer job. Learn more about the basics of networking here.