the Blog

Can You Land a Retail Job in a Recession?

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS just published an article, “Your Career: Landing a Retail Job in a Recession” that states, “Whenever a retailer does hire employers, it’s usually inundated by people hoping for a job.”

“J.C. Penney Co. received 15,000 applications, more than double what it expected, for 500 positions at its new Manhattan store., an online site, said 160,596 applicants applied for jobs at one national department store chain in July, more than twice the number of a year ago.”


These applications aren’t coming from teenagers either. More and more adults are ‘settling’ for retail positions since they can’t find anything else.

What’s a teen to do?

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on August 18th, 2009

Michigan Teenagers May Receive Pay Raise This Week

Michigan’s subminimum wage, a wage paid to employees younger than 18, will jump from $6.55 to $7.25 when the federal minimum wage rises to that rate on Friday.

Check out for more information.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on July 20th, 2009

Work at Home Job Resources for High School & College Students

The New York Times just published a story about teenage entrepreneurs that featured Laura Durst, 18, a recent high school graduate in Woodstock, Conn., who created to provide teenagers with information and online resources to find jobs that can be done from home.

It’s an example of what some teens are doing when they can’t find traditional jobs. You are not alone, if you are thinking of starting your own business. Interest in entrepreneurship education among teenagers is rising according to The Times.

Have you started your own business? Let us know and we’ll feature you on our blog.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on June 28th, 2009

Delta Airline Summer Jobs


Tell your friends and family about Delta’s Summer Airport Customer
Service program. We are looking for people who want to work full-time
during the summer months only. We need people who are committed to
providing exceptional front-line service – assisting customers at
check-in and baggage handling.

Employees will receive $10.82 per hour as well as worldwide travel
privileges that enable them to fly on Delta.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, able to lift at least 70lbs,
authorized to work in the US , have a H.S. diploma/GED equivalent as
well as a valid driver’s license and the ability to pass an extensive
background check and drug test.


Select “Apply Now” and then select either Airport Customer Service
Ticket/Gate or Ramp Operations/Baggage Handler.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on May 26th, 2009

A 15-year-old runs her business–with a little help from mom. has a neat story about Lani Lazzari, founder of Simple Sugars, an all-natural body care company she runs out of her parents’ basement in Pittsburgh, Pa. It’s inspiring and provides some lessons that we can all learn.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on May 6th, 2009

Job Advice from Derek Johnson

It’s always interesting to see how entrepreneurs got started. Derek Johnson, the CEO of is one of our favorite entrepreneurs and he was willing to share his story with our readers. I think his tips make a lot of sense, what do you think?

What was your first job as a teenager?
Ever since elementary school I’ve always been on the hustle, taking any small job that anyone gave me. My first real job was one that I created by starting my own company, Johnson Labor. After school and during the summer months, I would ride my bike around the neighborhood and knock on doors and ask if they had any random jobs I could do for them. I did everything from power-washing to babysitting, and gained a reputation as the go to guy in the neighborhood for any random job that needed to be done. Very soon I had more jobs than I could handle myself, so I started hiring my friends and focused primarily on managing and acquiring new jobs.

What are some important things to remember when looking for/selecting a job?
I think the most important things to remember when selecting a job is to ask yourself whether you are going to have fun and if it will be challenging for you. As the old adage says “if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life.” I would say the worst jobs I’ve ever had were the jobs that I wasn’t passionate about or didn’t have an interest in. Those were the jobs that I dreaded going to work everyday and everyday seemed longer than the last. The minute you find a job that is fun and you can become passionate about, you will know what I’m talking about.

What are some important things to know for the interview, etc?
The most important thing is to get into the mindset of your employer. Companies hire people to make money or save money, that’s the simple truth. If I hire you for $40k a year, you will have to save or make me a multiple of $40k. The minute you realize this, selling yourself in any interview is much easier because you are thinking along the same lines as the person doing the hiring.

How has that job helped you as you grow older?
It’s taught me how to manage people. More so, it’s taught me how to manage people that are the same age that I am, which is very difficult in my opinion.

What piece of advice would you offer somebody looking for a job?
Hustle hard!!! A few years ago, it was a much easier job market than it currently is. It used to be that you had to hustle once you got hired, but times are different, you now have to really hustle your ass off to just get in the door with a company.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on April 28th, 2009

Jobs in New Orleans

Slightly older job seekers should check out WorkNOLA.comJobs for New Orleans, A collaboration of many local partners and businesses, offers those looking to move to New Orleans, and those already there, a way to explore and apply for local job openings.

New Orleans is a great place to do well by doing good – we’re going to move down there and we hope that you can join us!

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on April 20th, 2009

Job Adivce for Teens from the TalentDiva

Our friend Adrienne Graham is an extraordinary talented Headhunter, Recruiter, Networker who specializes in high level diversity talent on a global scale – and is also passionate about teenage employment. We asked her about her first jobs and she had plenty of advice to share.

MFP: What was your first job as a teenager?
I worked as a Cashier at a store called TSS Seedmans. It was a low budget Target of its day.

MFP: How did you find that first job?
I went in to the store and applied. I lived five blocks from the store. I interviewed one day and started three days later.

MFP: What are some important things to remember when looking for/selecting a job?
Look for jobs that fit your personality. It’s not enough to just want to get a check. You have to really enjoy the work.

MFP: What are some important things to know for the interview, etc.:
Always show up prepared. Interview attire is the number one faux paux that teens make. Regardless of the type of job, you need to always dress your Sunday best. We live in the internet age. Companies expect you to know a little bit about them. Google and do your research. Then prepare about five questions to ask. It shows that you really care about the position your looking for. Finally, always treat everyone you encounter with respect. That Receptionist or Administrative Assistant you ignored or was rude to may be the one who has the hiring manager’s ear.

MFP: How has that job helped you as you grow older?

That first job gave me my first hard lesson on dealing with people. I learned that people will look down on a service/retail worker so it’s up to you to always have a positive attitude and confidence in yourself.

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

Watch how you conduct yourself online. Recruiters and employers are looking the very places you hang out online for candidates. Don’t show things you wouldn’t show your parents. Take advantage of the internet and gather as much competitive intelligence as you can before going on interviews. Have a professional prepare your resume. They may be able to craft it in a way that showcases all of your best attributes. And find an adult to help you with mock interviews. This gives you practice and allows you to correct your weak areas before you interview.

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on April 20th, 2009

So Would You Hire You Looking Like That?

This is a guest post from our friend Gloria Bell of Red Stapler Consulting.

All too often we fail to stop and think about appearance. So much emphasis has been put on “what’s inside” of a person, we don’t remember that a job interview is a lot like a first date. There has to be a certain “attraction”. You have to give that potential employer a reason to keep talking to you. And more importantly a reason to want to keep you around.

Being realistic, you don’t have a long and accomplished job history or that fancy piece of parchment from “Wherever” University to sway them in your favor. What you do have is your appearance and your earnestness. So what does this mean? Do you show up to apply for a job at a fast food restaurant or a hardware store in a suit? No. What it means is that you show up to fill out that application or for that interview dressed appropriately, or maybe a little better dressed than their employees generally appear. Not in your “I’m with Stupid” or some other cute, or goodness forbid, obscene saying shirt. Keep in mind the environment you will be working in – an office, a fast food restaurant, an upscale retail store, whatever it may, there is a standard “dress”, at minimum, match that. It also means some good personal grooming – showered, hair combed, clothes clean & neat.

What you want is an appearance that is going to leave an impression. Something that
makes you stand out from the hundreds of other people your age who are applying for the same jobs. Standing out is also more than your clothing, it is your manners, your speech, your “pulled together” overall appearance. It means pulling out those manners that Mom and Dad hammered into you at the kitchen table – Yes Ma’am, No Sir, etc… It means listening to questions, not interrupting and giving thoughtful, accurate answers. It means remembering that the person you are interviewing with, whatever their age may be, is not one of your “buds” that you talk shorthand or slang with.

So next time you are heading out to fill out applications or hopefully go to that interview, stop, look at yourself in the mirror or, even better ask an adult to take a look at you. Would you (or the adult you ask) hire you looking like that?

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on April 17th, 2009

Teens Turn to Summer Start-Ups

Sue Shellenbarger has a great article in the WSJ today, “Cupcakes and Cattle Breeding: Teens Turn to Summer Start-Ups” about teenagers starting their own businesses instead of finding summer jobs. She echos many of the same pieces of advice that we offer on including: Find and fill an unmet need, Look for a low-cost niche, Find something you love, and Expect setbacks. Continue reading our blog to read some more great tips about teenage entrepreneurship and interviews with great teenage entrepreneurs like Pencil Bugs

Posted by myfirstpaycheck on April 15th, 2009