Author Archives: Susan Summers

Summer Job Develops into Full-Time Career

Category : Careers

Saw this story about Juli Weber in mysanantonio.com and thought I’d pass it on because it’s a nice story of somebody who turned a summer job into a career. Not everybody is going to go work for their father at age 16 and find a lifetime career – but it’s a good reminder that you do learn valuable life skills at summer jobs – so take the experience seriously.


Student Jobs Scarce as Economy Worsens

Category : Job Search

One of the tough things about losing a job or struggling to find one is that it’s easy to think that you are alone in your struggles – but it’s just not true, especially now.  Everybody is having trouble, this article in The Independent Florida Alligator states that, “The national unemployment rate for workers 20 to 24 years old is 12.1 percent, which exceeds the overall rate of 7.2 percent — the highest in 24 years, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”  Sounds depressing, but I am posting to encourage you. The trick is to keep applying and following-up with employers. Good luck!


Top Ten Tips for Teen Job Seekers

Category : Job Search

Get Organized. Before you start your job search, make sure that everything you need to job search is ready.  You may need working papers – check with your High School Guidance Office for details.  Make a list of all the personal information you will need to complete a job application – home and school addresses, phone numbers, people or companies you have worked for, and references.

Don’t Wait. The recession and down job market has hit all levels of job seekers – from entry level candidates with no experience to top executives.  Start your job search early, because there are fewer jobs available and more competition for every position.

Start Local. One of the easiest ways to find a teen job is to start local.  Check with your school to see if they have job postings. If you’re interested in retail, walk around town or the mall. Look for help wanted signs in store windows or ask if the company is hiring.  If you’re looking for a summer job, check with summer camps, amusement parks, and other seasonal businesses.  Check your Chamber of Commerce web site, many list job openings.

Search Online. Next, go online to look for job postings. Myfirstpaycheck.com is an excellent site for teens, because all the job postings are geared to teen job seekers.  Also, visit the other sites which list jobs just for teens.

Use Your Connections.  Who you know is as important in finding a job, especially your first or second job, as finding jobs to apply for. Tell everyone you know – family, friends, teachers, coaches – that you’re looking for a job. You never know who might be able to help.

Be Prepared.  Create a resume if you don’t have one. It won’t take long and even if you haven’t worked at a “real” job, you can include child care, dog sitting, volunteering, and school activities. Myfirstpaycheck.com has a resume builder that will create a resume for you. Review samples (http://jobsearch.about.com/od/teenstudentgrad/a/studentresume.htm) if you need help creating a resume.   Offering a prospective employer a resume will help you be a strong candidate for employment.

Bring the Right Stuff. When you apply for jobs, bring a portfolio or folder with your resume, the information you will need to complete an application, a list of a few references, and a pen.  You don’t want to have to ask for a pen when a hiring manger hands you a job application or not have the information you need to apply.

Dress Presentably.  Don’t wear what you think looks good. Seriously.  Ask your parents or another adult how they think you should dress for an interview.  What looks terrific for going to school or out with your friends is not going to impress the interviewer. The key is to dress conservatively with no belly sticking out or bra straps or underwear showing. You’ll probably have to buy an outfit just for applying, but it’s a good investment.

Be Flexible.  It’s important to be available for work when the employer needs you.  Keep your schedule as open as possible for work.  The more you’re available, the more likely you are to be offered a job. And be honest – tell the company the truth about when you’re available to work. If you have other commitments, be upfront about them. The employer may be willing to work around your schedule, but they do need to know.

Don’t Give Up.  Finding a job is hard work, especially when you don’t have much – or any – experience. Don’t give up if you don’t find a job right away.  Keep looking, keep reminding people you’re in the market for a job, and consider a wide variety of work options.  The more jobs you apply for, the better chance you have of being hired.

A Guest Post From Alison Doyle, About.com Job Searching Guide (jobsearch.about.com)



Gap in Posts

Category : My First Job

Sorry for the lack of posts recently! I know that we’ve been bad about updating the blog, but I promise we’re going to be better from now on. We’re currently switching our blogging platform, and as soon as we’re done moving our old blog posts over – we’ll start writing again. In the meantime, check out our twitter feed for updates.


You Need a “Brand” to Stand Out From the Competition

Category : Job Search

Whether You’re Going for a First Job at a Fast-Food Restaurant or an Internship at a Lawyer’s Office, You Need a “Brand” to Stand Out From the Competition

Let’s face it, in today’s economic situation there’s going to be even more competition than usual for entry-level or “first” jobs. If there are 20 teens, for example, applying to the same one job, how can you increase your chances of being the one teen hired?

By creating a unique brand that sets you apart from the other job applicants.

What’s a brand? It’s a public persona composed of pieces of information about you that are all on what we writers call “the spine of the story.”

Confused? Let’s take an imaginary teen, Joan, who wants a job for this summer before going to college in the fall. She applies at Pearl Fine Art Supplies, whose tagline is “the world’s largest discount art supplier.” (FYI: That tagline is Pearl’s brand – positioning that sets Pearl apart from other art supply stores.)

Joan has the usual teen resume: she’s babysat for the neighbor’s kids, gotten good grades in high school, and had an unpaid internship at a local veterinarian. What could possibly make her different than the other 19 high school graduates applying for the same summer job?

It just so happens that Joan decided to apply to Pearl because Joan has a love for drawing. She’s been a frequent customer of this particular Pearl store, where she buys drawing paper, color drawing pencils, and frames for her artwork.

Now this is not likely to be information that will appear on the resume she’s handing in at Pearl. So what can she do with this information to create a brand for herself and stand out from the other job applicants?

She can take one of the Pearl drawing sheets and cut it to the same size as her resume. Then she can do a color-pencil sketch of a scene from the inside of Pearl and sign her name and date the drawing before attaching the drawing to her resume.

Next she can attach one additional sheet of paper with some of her observations from being a regular Pearl customer for her art supplies. (The attached drawing demonstrates that she really does drawings.) She might include praise for the times the employees have helped her find what she’s looking for, and a constructive comment that she wishes the drawing pencils were more clearly labeled to help price-comparison shopping.

Joan has now created for herself a brand as an art supplier consumer who has thoughtful insights into Pearl’s products and product displays.

If you were the local Pearl store’s hiring manager for the one summer job opening, who would you hire? One of the 19 teens, all with almost identical resumes, or the one teen who has demonstrated clearly that she knows and cares about art supplies?

Now obviously if Joan had applied for a summer job at a sports store, she couldn’t use this brand, and she might not have anything in her areas of interest that could fit a sports store brand.

So what’s your first step? To figure out what your brand can be (you might have more than one potential brand if you have varied interests).

Your second step? To apply to jobs (or internships) where that brand can help you stand out from the competition.

If you follow these recommendations to create your own brand appropriate for the job to which you are applying, you should have a much better chance of getting that first job or internship this coming summer, regardless of the economic situation.

This is a guest post from Phyllis Zimbler Milller, the president of Miller Mosaic LLC, an online marketing company that helps book authors and small businesses build a brand through utilizing a marketing-focused website. You can access more of her articles at http://www.millermosaic.com


The Teenage Employment Market

Category : Other Stuff

It is scary out there for teens (and parents) looking for jobs. It seems like all of the headlines are about the number of unemployed rising and companies laying people off – but there are still companies that are hiring for the holiday rush. Have you gone out and applied yet? The key is to be prepared (have a resume and cover letter) and be persistent (keep applying!)

Good luck and let us know how your holiday job search goes


Neat Recognition for myfirstpaycheck.com and Austin

Category : My First Job

I was recently named one of the The Top 101 Emerging Connectors in Philadelphia by Leadership Philadelphia. Pretty neat huh?

All that work Ive been doing to find jobs to post on this site has led me to meet a lot of neat people.

Thanks!


The Frugal Teenager, Ready or Not – Financial Education and Jobs for Teens

Category : Money

The Times has a great article in today’s paper about teenagers and the current economic crisis.

Its fairly anecdotal and talks mostly about teenagers at a private school in Manhattan (probably why its in the Style Section) but it hits on some great points.

“Last week a semiannual survey of 7,000 15- to 18-year-olds by Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and research firm, showed that annual discretionary spending by teenagers, whose money comes from allowance, gifts and part-time jobs, had dropped 27 percent to $2,600, from its spring 2006 peak of $3,560.”

“American teenagers, many of whom have weak quantitative skills, are generally naive about finance. In a 2007 study for Charles Schwab, the financial services company, 62 percent of teenagers believed they were prepared to deal with the financial world after high school. That boast was undercut when they were probed about topics like check-writing and paying bills.”

The reporter also says that the teenagers they talked to are starting to look for jobs to make up for cutbacks in spending money that their parents are giving them.

If I were a retailer focused on selling to teens, Id be interested in hiring these teens at my store, wouldn’t you? I mean, take a look at this small business started by a young entrepreneur that is powered by social media.

Teenage employers become brand ambassadors and their friends are more likely to think positively and shop at places that hire their peers. And myfirstpaycheck.com can help!


Work Study Jobs for Students

Category : College

The cost of going to college increases substantially each year. Students try to keep costs down with scholarships, loans, etc. A great way to do this is through work study programs. Most colleges will let students work at the school in various capacities (dishwasher, library assistant, research assistant, housekeeping…) and instead of giving a salary, the college will deduct costs from the students’ tuition. This can be a great opportunity to meet new people on campus, get to know a different part of the college, and perhaps make out-of-classroom connections with professors. Even the connections you make when working in dining halls can be invaluable. People often return to their dorms after work study in the cafeterias with trays of left over cookies, and we all know that in the college environment cookies can be a savior.

Most college websites should have information on work study programs. Check it out! And if you are still applying to schools, consider work study when thinking about those unbelievable tuition costs.


Sen. Obama’s First Job

Category : My First Job

When Sen. Obama was in high school he scooped Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins. He understands some of the difficulties of working in food service, he said, “Girls would come in. Youd be trying to talk to them. They wouldnt give you the time of day because you were in this cap.”

But his experience also helped him gained experience for his run for the Presidency. He said, “”I was making maybe a hundred dollars a week or something and they were still taking all this money out. I thought, man, thats the payroll tax. So its already regressive. I dont want to raise the income tax on people who are not making a lot of money already.”

How did you spend your summer?

For video of Sen. Obama speaking about his first job click here.


Manner & Etiquette Tips for Teens

Category : Other Stuff

I was emailing with Jodi R. R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting about job tips for teens and she offered a few pieces of great advice that I wanted to pass on.

Walk the Line ~ Yes, you should tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. But dont beg, seem needy, or exude desperation. Be upbeat and breezy. Dont ask if they have any job openings; instead ask if they know of anyone who may have job openings. Having a positive attitude is critical.

Generate Activity ~ Stay busy. Go to networking meetings, volunteer for local committees, and organize lunches. Check the job listings every day, send out resumes every day, call to follow up on openings you have applied for every day. Activity breeds activity and eventually leads to a job.

Formal First ~ Many of the job application vehicles are seemingly informal methods of communication. E-mails, websites, and on-line listings tend to lend themselves to informality. Do not be fooled. Use “Dear,” “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Sincerely” until you see how they are communicating with you. Once you know the organizations level of formality, you can mirror it.

Thankful ~ Get into the habit now of being grateful. For anyone who offers a lead, refers you to a job, takes you to lunch, interviews you, or helps during the interview process; write a thank you note. The note need not be long. But good manners will take you far.

We cant stress how important it is for teens to have good manners – it makes a huge impact on first impressions and greatly increases your chances of getting hired.

Thanks Jodi!


I’m 15 Years Old, What Kind of Job Can I Get?

Category : Careers , Job Search

Myfirstpaycheck.com was created to help young people get jobs. We have job advice for teens, interview tips, a resume builder, etc. but you have to know what jobs younger teens are allowed to do.

As a 13-year-old, 14-year-old, and 15-year-old you can do a lot of things. According to the Government Site YouthRules!

  • You can deliver newspapers.
  • You can work as a baby-sitter.
  • You can work as an actor or performer in motion pictures, television, theater or radio.
  • You can work in a business solely owned or operated by your parents.
  • You can work on a farm owned or operated by your parents.

When You Turn 14 . . .

You also can work in an:

  • office,
  • grocery store,
  • retail store,
  • restaurant,
  • movie theater,
  • baseball park,
  • amusement park, or
  • gasoline service station.

You generally may not work in:

  • Communications or public utilities jobs,
  • Construction or repair jobs,
  • Driving a motor vehicle or helping a driver,
  • Manufacturing and mining occupations,
  • Power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines,
  • Processing occupations,
  • Public messenger jobs,
  • Transporting of persons or property,
  • Workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed, or
  • Warehousing and storage.

Does (Fill in Company Name) Hire Teens?

Category : Job Search

Teenagers are web-savvy, and rely on the internet for many aspects of their daily lives. Teenagers who use the internet to do their homework, communicate with their friends, shop, and entertain themselves, are learning to use the internet to find jobs.

“Read More”

Great Way of Using Facebook

Category : Other Stuff

My friend Willy came up with a great way of using facebook to promote yourself and find a job. I dont think it works for many of the hourly positions you will find on myfirstpaycheck.com, but its a great idea for high school and college students seeking internships or first career jobs. Eitherway, everybody should read his piece on One Day, One Job because it offers great networking advice.


Staff Turnover Costs Money

Category : Other Stuff

I just read an article in an Australian Paper about staff turnover (particularly among younger employees) is costing Australian businesses a lot of money.

I think thats pretty obvious, but it should again remind employers how important it is to treat their employees fairly, and how important training is for new hires.

One other lesson for employers to gain from this survey is that it is important to hire the best candidates for the position, not just the first ones to walk in the door. One of the great things about myfirstpaycheck.com for employers is that our site allows you to collect a much larger pool of employers than you would be able to otherwise and find out more about them allowing you to pick better candidates who will stay around longer… why are you still not posting jobs on myfirstpaycheck.com?


Where Are Teens Shopping?

Category : My First Job

Michael Grynbaum wrote an article in todays Times that said, “Retail Sales Weakest in 5 Months.”

The article continued, “Wednesday’s retail sales report was the latest sign of weak spending habits in July. In privately tracked sales figures released last week, many name-brand department stores and clothing outlets reported significant declines in sales at stores that have been open at least a year.

Saks, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney and Target all reported sales declines, along with Gap and other popular apparel brands.

Americans seemed to be shifting their shopping habits to wholesale clubs and discount outlets, although even the big-box stores are seeing signs of a slowdown. Sales at Wal-Mart in July rose but failed to match expectations, a surprising show of weakness for the discount behemoth, which also said its business would worsen in August. Wal-Mart also said that shopping patterns indicated that more customers were living paycheck to paycheck.”

and also, “The weak labor market, which has played a big role in the cutback in consumer spending, has shown few signs of improvement. New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in six years, according to the Labor Department. New applications rose by a seasonally adjusted 7,000 to 455,000 for the week ended Aug. 2.”

And you know when its bad for everybody, its worse for teens.


Jobless Rate Climbs to 5.7% as 51,000 Jobs Lost in July

Category : Other Stuff

Uh oh… this isnt good for anybody. When jobs are cut, it hurts parents and it makes the job hunt even harder for teens.

The competition for traditional teen jobs (retail, restaurants) is going to increase as adults expand their job search so teens have to make sure that they are prepared when applying.

Teens should also get creative, and I know money is important, but think about volunteering and internships as ways of getting your foot in the door and gaining experience.

Good luck!


School-Year Job

Category : Careers , Job Search

You dont want to admit it. I dont want to admit it–but summer is almost over. For many of us that means our summer jobs are almost over too. Now comes the time to decide if employment should be secluded to the summer, or if you would like to work during the school year.

Some things to consider:

Priorities–
Can you do your job and get your homework done and go to your after school clubs (and even get a few hours of sleep in each night)? Are you willing to sacrifice extra-curricular activities for a job?

Money–
How much will you be making at this job during the school year? Is it worth the time and sacrifices you would have to make?

Proximity–
Can you get from school to work and back home easily? If you have to rely on public transportation, is the cost going to be worth the salary?

Hours–
You cannot legally work during school hours, so are you willing to work at night and during weekends?

Experience–
Is this job an opportunity that you cant pass up? Will it add to your skill-set or supplement your now growing resume? Will it provide you with connections and experiences that will greatly benefit you?

A school-year job is not for everybody, but it does have its perks. Make sure to consider every angle before making the commitment.


Philly Startup Leaders

Category : My First Job

Woo-hoo Philly Startup Leaders!

This is a great group started by Blake Janelle and a few of us other young local entrepreneurs who are interested in helping each other out, and creating a better community for tech companies and start ups, like MyFirstPaycheck | Jobs for Teens here in Philadelphia.

I’ve been working with Blake and others on this for a few months, and I’m very excited about our progress, and our potential. Please let me know if you are interested in getting involved.


Myfirstpaycheck.com Crippling Newspapers?

Category : My First Job

Alan Mutter, a Media-technology consultant, wrote about MyFirstPaycheck | Jobs for Teens in his recent white paper about the newspaper industry. He used MyFirstPaycheck | Jobs for Teens as an example of how the help wanted market is developing to meet niches. This is not good for newspapers, but very good for us.

I’d like to point out that I’m a huge newspaper person, and am not celebrating the end of newspapers. Rather, I am highlighting this white paper (and our mention in it) to illustrate the little things that newspapers could be doing now to change their fortunes.

If there are any newspapermen who are interested in chatting about Alan’s paper, or teen viewers, shoot me an email.

I’m looking at you Brian Tierney.

Alan wrote, “MyFirstPaycheck.Com not only helps teens find their first jobs but also shows them how to write a resume and tells them what to expect in an interview. If you are retiring from the Navy, you can post your skills and career goals at NavyLeague.Org, where employers will seek you out. ” Alan writes, in an industry that Peter Zollman, the founder of the Classified Intelligence consulting group, conservatively estimated sold some $3.5 billion in recruitment ads in 2007 by the conservative estimate by such online entities as Monster, Hot Jobs, Dice, Ladders, 6FigureJobs, Craigs List (which charges a modest fee for help-wanted ads in the largest metro markets) and scores of tiny sites like GasWork.Com, which specializes in positions for anesthesiologists.

Alan adds that Gordon Borrell, who heads a research firm bearing his name, believes the total online expenditure for recruitment last year was a much larger $6.7 billion. His estimate includes not only money spent on sites ranging from Monster to Gas Work but also the funds that corporations spend on the recruitment environments they build on their own websites.

Alan D. Mutter is the former CEO of three Silicon Valley companies involved in online media technology and broadband media delivery; the former COO of a national cable television company with more than $200 million in annual sales, and a former editor who led the newsrooms of the Chicago Sun-Times and San Francisco Chronicle during periods of record-high circulation at both newspapers.

He has consulted on media, technology and mobile strategies for Texas Pacific Group, the Sun-Times Media Group, the Fox Television Network Affiliate Board, BASF and Kyocera. He devotes significant time to investing in and advising private companies delivering Media 3.0 content and advertising solutions. He has lectured at Northwestern and Arizona State Universities and publishes a widely quoted online commentary on the technological developments challenging the traditional media. His blog, “Reflections of a Newsosaur,” is at www.newsosaur.blogspot.com.