Author Archives: Susan Summers

Job Advice From Randon Johnson

Category : Job Search , Other Stuff

We met Randon on Twitter (are you following us yet?) and were immediately struck by his optimism, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurship. He is still in college but has started his own educational employment site for college students Job-U. We decided to ask him about his first job and he was kind enough to share some tips with us.

MFP:  What was your first job as a teenager?
I worked at footlocker, and I was 15 years old, that job lasted my entire high school life.  My true first job was at 13 years old, my grandpa made me answer phones and file papers for his accounting firm.

MFP:   How did you find that first job?

My brother worked for a footlocker in a mall and if one footlocker ran out a product, we’ll travel to another location, so we pretty much knew all the managers.  I applied for the job and the rest is history.

MFP: What are some important things to remember when looking for/selecting a job?
Students should always keep their options open, don’t zero in on just one job, for example when I applied to footlocker, even knowing that this location was hiring and I knew the manager, I applied to about 6 other locations as well as a year-round camp for elementary school students.  But prior to applying, self evaluate, ask your parents/teachers to interview you.

MFP: What are some important things to know for the interview, etc.:
Know your strengths, be polite, look the interviewer in the eye when shaking his/her hand, and ask them about themselves and what to expect from them (if its the manager).  It separates you from the bunch and immediately makes an impact.  However, remain professional and always make the interviewer aware that you’re responsible and trustworthy.

MFP: How has that job helped you as you grow older?
The footlocker job has helped me by exposing me to different types of people.  Once I started selling, I had to learn how to talk to different types of people in a persuasive way.  You’ll find that in life, you’re always selling yourself, whether you know it or not.

MFP: What piece of advice would you offer somebody looking for a job?

I would tell them to remain optimistic and persistant, especially during the recession.  A lot of people I know are bummed out and don’t want to settle for a job paying less than what they’re looking for, if you work hard, theres always a raise waiting for you around the corner.  And a job gives you one thing that’s very invaluable, and that’s experience.
Randon J. Johnson is the Founding Editor of Job-U.com and a student at Xavier University in New Orleans.


Time To Get Some Help

Category : Job Search

Our friend Jennie Withers, Author of ‘Hey Get a Job!‘ – an e-book of job tips for teens (available at heygetajob.com) sent us the following great guest post about how guidance counselors and teachers can help teenagers find jobs. What do you think? What other adults can you ask for help?

Counselors and teachers are working at your school because they want to help students. They even understand the importance of teens having a job and earning money. Counselors and teachers can prove to be valuable resources for teens in the job process.

* Your references on an application or attached to a resume have to be adults who are not related to you, and they have to be people who can discuss your work ethic. Since teens have little to no work experience, teachers, coaches, club advisors and counselors may be the only people in a position to talk about your work ethic. Keep in mind before you can use your teachers as a reference, you must ask them.

* School counselors are very well versed in the art of obtaining jobs, as are some teachers. Find those teachers who have job or career material in their curriculum. Some good places to start are classes related to Technical Writing, Careers, Life Skills, Teen Living, Home Economics or Vocational Technical programs. Language Arts teachers also make great proofreaders for applications and resumes.

* Counselors are very well connected to the business world. It’s part of their job to know what employers expect and the Youth Labor Laws employers must follow. Talk with them about openings in your area. On occasion, counselors will receive calls from businesses who are looking to hire teens. If your counselor doesn’t know about specific openings, they may have advice about where to look for available employment opportunities for teens.

In our current economy, it’s important to use all the resources available to you. Your teachers and counselors can help you reach your goal of becoming employed.


Job Advice from Willy Franzen

Category : Careers

We had such a good response from our last interview, we decided to do it again! Here are some great tips from our good friend Willy Franzen. Do you know somebody else we should interview? Please let us know!

MFP:  What was your first job as a teenager?
Willy: I ran a website about my favorite rapper. I made money selling ads. Those were the days before the first Internet bubble, so it was actually pretty lucrative – for a 14 year old. If you’re talking about my first real job with real hours and responsibilities, then it was working the Summer after 7th grade at my Dad’s architectural firm.

MFP:   How did you find that first job?
Willy: I just started playing around with website building tools on Tripod.com one night. As for the office job, my Dad didn’t want me sitting around the house all Summer, so he put me to work. I didn’t have much of a choice.

MFP: What are some important things to remember when looking for/selecting a job?
Willy: The advice that I give for looking for a first job as a teenager is very different from that which I give to new college grads and above. If you’re a teen, look for a job that’s going to work you hard and teach you what it means to actually work. It probably won’t be fun, and you might even hate yourself for following my advice, but you’ll appreciate it when you’re older. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I really mean it. People who worked hard as teens are going to have a much easier transition to the workforce after they graduate from college. I spent a summer doing manual labor, and it’s still paying off.

MFP: What are some important things to know for the interview, etc.:
Willy: Show up on time. Look good. Act like an adult. Your goal for the interview is to show the employer that you’re going to be a model employee. Most jobs for teens are pretty simple, so if you show some initiative and act responsible, you’re probably going to get the job. Try to think about what a model employee looks like, and act that way in the interview. Don’t try too hard to impress the interviewer with how smart you are – show him or her that you’re a reliable, hard worker who really wants the job.

MFP: How has that job helped you as you grow older?
Willy: If we’re talking about the website, it has helped immensely. Everything that I do now is possible because I taught myself basic web skills as a teenager. Although it may have looked to my parents like I was wasting time on the computer, I was actually learning and developing skills that I use every day. These were things that they didn’t teach at school, but that I taught myself. The office job taught me how to act like a professional. I had to dress properly, answer phones, make calls, and be around clients. Acting like a teenager wasn’t an option. (Ok, it was. I had plenty of fun when Dad wasn’t watching – mainly shooting rubber bands at his employees, but only after I got all my work done.)

MFP: What piece of advice would you offer somebody looking for a job?

Willy: Be willing to work hard, and show it! That will set you apart from the large majority of other job seekers. If you can find a job that interests you as a teen, that’s awesome, but don’t obsess over it. Building your work ethic now will pay off big time in the future. If you’re entrepreneurial, there’s no better time than now to start your own business. Even though you may not make a million dollars as a teen, you’ll be building the foundation for future successes. Whatever you decide to do, just start and give it 100% effort.

Willy Franzen, a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is the founder of One Day, One JobOne Day, One InternshipFound Your Career. After struggling through is own post-graduation job search, Willy realized that he could combine his passion for and knowledge of the Internet with his background in Human Resources to make the job search easier for other students. His sites have reached more than half a million job seekers, and Willy has appeared and been quoted in numerous media outlets; however, he may be best known for developing a technique that uses Facebook ads to attract employers. Willy lives in Chicago, IL and spends most of his free time fly fishing, playing volleyball, working out, and cooking meat.


Job Advice from Dan Schawbel

Category : Careers , College

We’re big fans of Dan Schawbel, a leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He is the author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 2009)” and has a lot of great advice for teenagers looking for summer and after-school jobs. Dan was generous enough to talk with us about some of his first job experiences and offer some great advice for myfirstpaycheck.com’s users. Our conversation is below

MFP:  What was your first job as a teenager?
Dan: My first job as a teenager was as a caterer for my temple.

MFP:   How did you find that first job?
Dan: My father helped me find this job after networking at the temple.  He introduced me to the catering company and I helped out every Friday night for a few years.

MFP: What are some important things to remember when looking for/selecting a job?
Dan: You want to have a plan before you start applying to random jobs, especially right now, with a poor economy and a lot of pressure from the people around you.  I would recommend that you list the top 3-5 companies you want to work for instead of applying to thousands of job listings.  Also, you must recognize that job searching has changed a lot in the past five years.  It used to be impossible to reach hiring managers, which forced us all to apply for jobs through corporate websites and job boards, such as Monster.com, erecruiting.com and careerbuilder.com.  Now, with the metaphoric rise of web 2.0, we can have just as much as a presence as any company, product or person, which means that we can reach just about anyone with a few clicks of a mouse.  This is a major evolution in how we network and find jobs.  The same basic rules of job hunting apply, such as having a great resume, a targeted cover letter and strong interview (communication) skills. Now, you need even more because you’ll be Googled before and after you’re interviewed and you have the ability to establish profiles online, such as LinkedIn, where hiring managers are searching for people just like you.

MFP: What are some important things to know for the interview, etc.:
Dan: An interview is incredibly important and these days, a single interview isn’t enough to secure a job.  Sometimes employers can make you go on three or four for a particular position.  What does remain the same is how you tackle the interview.  You need to do your homework before you sit down at that interview table, such that you know everything about the company and the people you’ll be sitting with beforehand.  Also, you’ll want to dress with a suit and have good posture.  It really helps to actually want to work at the company because you’ll come off more natural and enthusiastic.

MFP: How has that job helped you as you grow older?
Dan: My first job helped me with my interpersonal skills.  I had to setup, waiter and cleanup after a hundred people every week.  Anyone who is in the service industry would understand how challenging it can be, especially when taking orders from people you don’t know.  It helped me a lot in the business field, as well as in business because I learned how to tolerate people and how to make money.

MFP: What piece of advice would you offer somebody looking for a job?

Dan: You should become a content producer now, instead of just searching for a job.  This means that you should start a blog or a podcast series, where you can create content around your expertise and publish it for the world to see.  The end result is recruiters finding you and either hiring you or dismissing your content completely.  This is highly beneficial to you because you (and the recruiter) doesn’t waste time in the process, and the position you will receive will be right up your alley.

Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He is the author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 2009).” With over 150,000 results for his name in Google, Fast Company calls Dan a “personal branding force of nature.” He is the founder of the award winning Personal Branding Blog®, publisher of Personal Branding Magazine®, head judge for the Personal Brand Awards® and director of Personal Branding TV®.


Advice for Teenage Entrepreneurs

Category : Entrepreneurship

Myfirstpaycheck.com was created to help young people get jobs. We have job advice for teens, interview tips, a resume builder, etc. But the one thing we can’t help you with is changing an employers mind. What if he just wont hire someone younger than 16? We often get questions from younger teens about what they can do when they’re too young to land a ‘real job’ and we tell them to start their own businesses; mowing lawns, babysitting, or setting up lemonade stands.

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Be Mindful Of Online Consequences

Category : My First Job

Discussing the safety of girl scouts selling cookies online reminded me that we haven’t discussed the safety of kids and teens doing anything online recently – which couldn’t be important for myfirstpaycheck.com or families – so I wanted to pass on a few tips for parents from Craig Peters, whose company, CKP Creative advises consumer companies on Web site and social networking strategies, from an interview with Dom Giordano in the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Craig says, “A couple of rules are important, particularly for younger kids: (1) Keep the computer in a common family area, not in the child’s room. (2) Be trusting. Sure, you can install monitoring software or other restrictive tools, but your kid will get around it in 10 seconds, and you’ll have lost a bond of trust. (3) Be involved. Get online. Set up a Facebook profile. Start Twittering. Get a feel for what this stuff is all about. (4) Talk to your kids. When relevant articles hit the news, talk to them about it. (Do a Google search for “sexting” and look what comes up.) Talk to them about how actions have consequences — and that being online can amplify those consequences.”

I think these are great tips for parents (and their kids), what are other things you are doing to keep your kids safe online?


Should Girl Scouts Sell Online?

Category : Entrepreneurship

Kurt Soller asks in Newsweek, “by banning online sales, are the Girl Scouts failing our daughters?”  8-year-old Wild Freeborn became a Girl Scout earlier this year, and set out to sell 12,000 boxes of the organization’s cookies. As a smart and forward thinking kid she decided to use the internet to increase her sales.  With the help of her dad she posted a YouTube video, starring Freeborn in Girl Scout gear, touting her straightforward sales pitch. “Buy cookies! And they’re yummy!” and set up an online order system that was limited to customers within their local area (so Freeborn could personally deliver them). It worked, but she got in trouble because the organization has a longstanding prohibition of online sales.

I can understand the safety concerns, but the Girl Scouts (and every other youth group) have to be encouraging their kids to utilize the internet. What do you think? How important are internet skills to you?  Similarly, Anastasia points out on YPulse that Saving Journalism Should Begin In High Schools – is your high school teaching kids internet schools?


Five Tips to Help Students Find Summer Jobs in a Recession

Category : Job Search

In this weak economy and tight job market, students have to start their summer job search earlier than ever. To help our peers, we’ve put together five tips to help make the job search a little easier.

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Facilities Cut Costs Summer Jobs

Category : Job Search

Here in Philadelphia (like every where else) we’re faced with a tough economy and the city is forced to make some tough budget cuts.  One of the proposals is to close the swimming pools this summer.  I’m not going to argue that one facility is more important to the other, but Kia Gregory makes the often over looked point in today’s Inquirer that not only do pools give kids something to do and somewhere to go over the summer, but they keep plenty of kids employed.

Lifeguarding is a great summer job and Myfirstpaycheck.com has many listings, but when cities close pools they are putting jobs and teens  in jeopardy.

Since the city cannot afford to keep everything open on it’s own how Philly kids stay cool this summer depends on us. Check out this great fundraising drive, and please donate if you can.


Middle Schoolers Making Money

Category : Entrepreneurship

Last year we wrote ‘Where Are The Snow Shovelers?’ in resonse to my grandmother’s post about the lack of teenage snow shovelers in her North Shore neigbhorhood.

Well, as you might have seen it snowed a lot on the east coast today and it seems like there were some teens out making money ($200 in one day? not bad) – maybe we gave up on teens too early?


Even Worse for Young Workers

Category : Job Search

Bob Herbert, one of the best Op-Ed Columnists out there wrote another great piece for The Times today that I wanted to make sure you saw. Herbert writes, “The employment situation in the U.S. is, if anything, worse than most people realize. And huge numbers of young people, ages 16 to 30, are being beaten down in ways that could leave scars for a lifetime.” He continues, “The ones who are being hit the hardest and will have the most difficult time recovering are America’s young workers. Nearly 2.2 million young people, ages 16 through 29, have already lost their jobs in this recession. This follows an already steep decline in employment opportunities for young workers over the past several years. Good jobs were hard to find for most categories of workers during that period. One of the results has been that older men and women have been taking and holding onto jobs that in prior eras would have gone to young people.”
The effect of the recession on young people is something that we’ve been talking about for a long time at myfirstpaycheck.com, but there is only so much we can do. We need great minds with big platforms to continue to bring up the importance of youth employment, and we need big solutions. Myfirstpaycheck.com can help teens find jobs through our resume builders and advice, but we can’t create jobs. There are a lot of big problems out there, but unemployment about young adults cannot be over looked. Bob Herbert, thank you for continuing to advocate for us.


Students Learn Job Skills At School

Category : Job Search

I wanted to pass on this story of a teacher at an Albuquerque middle school who is teaching her kids the skills they need to find summer jobs.

Joan Krieger is an example of what teachers everywhere should be, and are, doing. Let me know if you are a teacher trying to figure out how to teach job skills, but struggling to figure out how, we can help.


Can’t Find a Job This Summer? Buy a Plane Ticket

Category : Job Search

If you haven’t noticed, the economy sucks and the job market is as dry as Arizona in the summertime. Normal jobs that teenagers used to be able to work in the summer are now filled by laid off adults and college graduates.  I myself am a recent college graduate and have friends who can’t even find work at McDonalds.  So if you haven’t noticed this by now you deserve a slap in the face. Wake up! Times are tough, but we all still need money. So what do you do? The answer to the above question really depends on who and where you are.  Some job markets have more opportunity then others.  For instance, if you are in Cape Cod, MA there is an influx of job opportunities there in the summertime due to the seasonal nature of business and tourism there.  But if you are in the suburbs of Philadelphia, you may not have the same opportunity.  Myfirstpaycheck.com is a great resource for you to turn to in order to find out which areas still have jobs you can fill.

Years ago before I started my own company I took finding a good and lucrative job into my own hands and actually moved to Cape Cod, MA for my summer break.  I knew that during the summer there are countless opportunities there to find part or full-time work with great pay.  And it was in Cape Cod that I was inspired to start my own business, Sand Shack, which I now run full-time, and its products can be found in stores across the country.  Everything fell together when I took it into my own hands to find a job that was right and fun for me.  I lived well that summer, got a girlfriend (no longer with), and made a ton of money (for a teenager).

Ok, well not all of you can up and go to Cape Cod or any other seasonal tourist locale this summer, but I challenge you to think outside the box when looking for work.  Where do you have relatives living where you would like to work this summer? If you are old enough, and still in school, why don’t you and your friends rent a house this summer somewhere where you can all find jobs

There are opportunities out there, you are just going to have to look harder and exert more effort in pursuing the opportunities that are left.

You may even have to purchase a plane ticket.

Guest Post From Brian Linton is the founder and president of Sand Shack LLC. He has his own online video show and regularly writes about his entrepreneurial adventures and insights at brianlinton.com.


Are More Teens Volunteering?

Category : Internships , Job Search

Forbes.com has an article about a survey from Harris Interactive that found that more teens volunteer than work part time.

“The random national telephone survey released this week by the Federal Way-based charity World Vision found that more teens volunteer to support a charitable cause – 56 percent – than have a part-time job – 39 percent.”

but adds,

“The Harris Interactive survey found a quarter of teens have become more involved in charitable causes or organizations as a result of the economic downturn, but the economy has also led to cuts in allowances, and has teens working more hours at a paying job.”

So are kids working more or less? It’s hard to tell, and while I hope that teens are getting more involved in their communities, the current state of the economy is forcing more kids into the workplace. Hopefully myfirstpaycheck.com can help them.


Summer Jobs at The Shore

Category : Job Search

Is Shore Economy Bucking the Tide? The Inquirer certainly seems to think so – what do you think? Do teens have a chance of finding summer jobs at the shore or at other summer destinations?


Financial Aid for College

Category : College

TAMAR LEWIN has a good article in The Times about the college financial aid system and the confusing FASFA form. You should check it out if you are trying to figure out how to pay for school.

You are generally not going to be able to pay for college with after-school and summer jobs (especially with escalating school costs and the decreasing number of jobs) – but it is still important to work and save. Teens to need financial aid to close the gap to pay for college.

Check out our summer job listings to find jobs near you, but check out the Fafsa, and instructions for filling it out, online at fafsa.ed.gov. Finaid.org is another good resource for information, at no charge, about the Fafsa and financial aid.


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Grim Outlook For Teen Jobseekers

Category : Job Search

Sue Shellenbarger wrote a blog post for The Juggle, a WSJ Blog about the Grim Outlook For Teen Jobseekers. She writes, “With the teen job market already reeling, employment among people ages 16 to 19 this summer may fall even lower than the historic nadir of 32.5% posted in summer 2008, says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, Boston. That was the lowest rate in the 60-year history of government jobs data, marking a steep decline from 45% just eight years earlier.”

And asks for summer job tips for teenagers. I told her to check out myfirstpaycheck.com, what advice would you have passed on?


Summer Jobs for Teenagers

Category : Job Search

There are countless ways to find summer jobs when you are a teenager. Possibilities include everything from working online to mowing lawns to working retail to starting your career. Read on for some great ideas on how to get started on your search.

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Summer Jobs for Students

Category : Job Search

You should check out my article on about.com ‘Summer Jobs for Students,  Start Your Summer Job Search Early’ if you are getting serious about your summer job search. And if you aren’t getting serious about your summer job search, you probably should start.


Adventureland – The Summer Job Movie?

Category : Job Search

I just saw a preview for ‘Adventureland,’ “A comedy set in the summer of 1987 and centered around a recent college grad who takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park, only to find it’s the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.” It has a great cast including; Jesse Eisenberg and Ryan Reynolds and looks like it’s a pretty good representation of summer jobs.  I’ll let you know how it is when it comes out – but something to look out for in the future.