Category Archives: Other Stuff

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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.


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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


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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!


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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.


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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?


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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!


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“Corporate Idol”

Category : Other Stuff

There is a fun article in the Times about a great contest that McDonald’s is running. They have created an “American Idol” knock-off for its employees. McDonald’s put out a casting call to its 1.6 million restaurant workers worldwide and was overwhelmed by the response. Video auditions came in from 3,600 singing workers across the globe, all vying for a chance to win the $25,000 prize. 14 finalists get to compete in a final showdown in April at a McDonald’s convention in Orlando.

This is a great example of the little (and not so little) things that employers can do to make things fun. Companies cant buy advertising like this article in the Times or on this blog, and I guarantee that all 1.6 million McDonalds employees told their friends and families something positive about McDonalds after participating.

Happy employees are your best advertising, and happy teenage employees are even better.

Find them at MyFirstPaycheck | Jobs for Teens.


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Little Negative Effect Seen From Pa’s Higher Minimum Wage

Category : Other Stuff

From Philly.com, “When Pennsylvania boosted the minimum wage twice in 2007, restaurants, retailers and other business interests groaned.

A report issued this week by the state’s Minimum Wage Advisory Board shows why they were worried. Businesses in the leisure, hospitality and retail trade sectors employed two-thirds of all of those making minimum wage in 2007.

Business owners complained that increasing the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 per hour would raise their costs, forcing them to cut workers.

The increase directly affected 132,800 Pennsylvania workers, or about 4 percent who earn an hourly wage, the advisory board said.

It cited census statistics showing a less than 1 percent decline in employment in retail trade and manufacturing shortly after the two wage hikes. However, employment in leisure and hospitality rose by less than 1 percent during the same time period.

So call it a wash.

Any worry that Pennsylvania is less competitive with the higher wage will be moot as the federal minimum wage rises from $5.85 to $6.55 on July 24 and to $7.25 in July 2009.”

Have you noticed any changes?


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HB 2196, the Youth Employment Incentive Tax Credit

Category : Money , Other Stuff

We are proud to join The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is urging lawmakers to approve HB 2196, a Pennsylvania state tax credit for businesses that employ disadvantaged youth.

Rep. Josh Shapiro (D – Montgomery County) introduced this terrific bill that would encourage business to hire young adults from under privileged households.

Under this measure, if a business hires a young adult who comes from a household with income that does not exceed 235% of the federal poverty level, that business would be eligible for tax credits equal to 70% of the employment expenses incurred. Introduced by Rep. Josh Shapiro (D – Montgomery County), the bill sets aside $20 million for these tax credits.

Putting young people to work is important. We want our teens to have the valuable skills and life experiences earned from working, and its great to see Rep. Josh Shapiro and the state focus on how they can help.

This is not a hand out, but a working solution.

Please contact your state legislators and ask them to vote YES on HB 2196, the Youth Employment Incentive Tax Credit.

From the Chamber, Details of the Bill:

  • Employers must submit an application describing the position to their local Workforce Investment Board (WIB). The WIB will submit applications that meet threshold criteria to DCED for review. DCED will issue a commitment letter to employers that will include the maximum amount of tax credits the taxpayer may claim. Tax credits may be sold or transferred with approval of DCED.
  • Eligible youth are Pennsylvania residents between the ages of 14 and 21, whose median family income does not exceed 235% of the federal poverty level -consistent with TANF grants.
  • Qualified expenses include wages, fringe benefits, related payroll and training expenses, and other related expenses approved by the Department of Revenue (e.g. Transportation).

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Immigration Policies Making it Easier for Teens to Find Jobs

Category : Other Stuff

The link is explained in Kate Zezimas article in The New York Times.

She writes, ” In an effort to win support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and its allies have blocked voting on legislation that would allow employers to rehire foreign seasonal nonagricultural workers independent of a 1991 quota.

As a result, the government is limited to issuing the 66,000 seasonal work visas set when the visa program, known as H-2B, became law 33,000 for winter workers and 33,000 for summer workers. Last year, more than 120,000 foreign workers entered the country on H-2B visas.

For Cape Cod, the impact has been devastating. Employers will receive only 15 of the 5,000 visas they had requested, according to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Many vacation towns rely on foreign workers because they can work the whole summer, are affordable, and are happy to work in a beach or resort – those are all qualities teens have too. If you are still looking for something to do this summer, Id suggest searching for a seasonal job in a resort community like these ones.


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Summer Job Shortage Squeezing Retailers

Category : Other Stuff

Bloomberg has a great story about the summer job shortage hurting retailers. Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Heather Burke write, “The financial pressures of adults are finally catching up with American teenagers. Since summer jobs dried up, gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon and parents ran out of spare cash, teens have had to cool it on spending for clothes..

Spending by 13- to 17-year-olds is important because in at least the past two years it has been rising faster than total apparel sales. The adolescent demographic accounted for $27 billion, or 14 percent, of the $192.7 billion of clothing purchases in the 12 months through April, according to market- research firm NPD Group Inc…. and Retailers dependent on that group are feeling the pinch.”

Not only is it important for businesses to hire teens to give them experience, but it also makes business sense. We work with many restaurants and retailers who are worried about losing teenage dollars – myfirstpaycheck.com is a great place to advertise for employees and customers.


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High Job Expectations

Category : Other Stuff

Sandy Banks wrote a column in the LATimes about her daughter’s job search. Her daughter is having a hard time finding a job, but Sandy thinks that one of the reasons is that her daughters expectations are too high.

“Read More”

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Five-Finger Discount

Category : Other Stuff

Now that you’ve landed that summer job, you may find yourself spending a lot more time staring at the same merchandise every day than you thought you would. If its something good (ice cream!) you may get tempted more than you thought. Most employers will give workers discounts for the merchandise. Some will let you take home things free at the end of the day (like food that is restocked daily). And still some may look the other way while you scoop a free cone for yourself and 6 of your closest friends.
While I have been at the receiving end of these benevolent workers, I know it is important to make sure this is okay with the employers. Before taking free samples for yourself, or subtly handing out something to friends, check with your boss on the gifting policy. Chances are the rules are pretty lax, and if not, at least you know the rules and wont accidentally get in trouble.


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Teens Spend A Lot of Time Online… Duh

Category : Other Stuff

A lot of people are now reporting on the The Tween & Teen Lifestyle Report that just came out and found, “In contrast, the time youth spend online continues to grow. During a typical week, teens spend an average of 12.5 hours, up from 10.7 hours last year. Tweens spend an average of 6.5 hours online, compared to 5.2 hours last year.”

It also found, “Among online activities, sending and receiving email is at the top of the activity list, followed by instant messaging and playing a simple game. Popular Web sites among teens include YouTube, Facebook, Google and MySpace, while tweens named sites such as Webkinz, Nick, YouTube and Disney.”

I don’t think this is particularly interesting, except if it gets more decision makers to realize how much of tweens and teens lives are spent online.

Someday hopefully myfirstpaycheck.com will be on of the post popular sites for tweens and teens too, but were getting closer everyday.

If youre trying to reach tweens and teens online and are trying to figure out how to do it – we can help, feel free to shoot me an email.


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What Employers are Thinking

Category : Other Stuff

I wanted to share this good advice I found from allbusiness.com. It’s important to know what employers are thinking when applying for a job. Think about what they are looking for, and how you can help them fill those needs.

What do you think? Do you have any other advice for employers?

Interviewing Prospective Employees

The reason you are interviewing is because you have a need in your business that can only be met by hiring another employee. Your objective when interviewing prospective employees should always be to hire the best possible candidate for the job. Ideas for making this process go smoothly include:

* Create a job description that identifies the most important qualifications your ideal candidate should possess. Include salary and benefit information.
* Collect resumes of prospective employees through such avenues as employment agencies, trade journals, newspapers, the Internet, and through networking. Go through the resumes and select the ones with the best qualifications.
* Be prepared with questions to ask during the actual interview. Review the information listed on the resume to verify its accuracy. Listen carefully to how each person answers your questions, and observe if they have a positive and professional attitude.
* Before making your final selection, let representatives of the franchisor or some of your key employees (particularly those who would be working with the new employee) interview the candidate. Dont rush your decision. Choosing the best person for the job is important to the success of your business.


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Job Market Has Room For Teenagers

Category : Other Stuff

MidwestBusiness.com has an interesting article about summer employment for teens.

Unlike many other sources, they write, “While teenagers may experience increased competition for coveted jobs this summer, the economic slowdown is not expected to significantly reduce the number of seasonal jobs filled by 16- to 19-year-olds between May and July. In fact, some seasonal positions may go unfilled as teens avoid areas requiring heavy labor.

Between 1.5 million and 1.6 million 16- to 19-year-olds will be added to payrolls this summer, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is down significantly from a recent high of 2.02 million teenagers who found summer positions in 1999 but is only slightly lower than the average number of teen jobs added the previous four summers (1.674 million).”

There is hope!

The article suggests (Just like we do!) that the bigger problem is “inexperienced job-search techniques” and suggests (Just like we do!) that “Finding a job as a teenager is just like finding a job as an adult. It requires constant attention and depends significantly on the strength of your network. Use your parents, friends and the parents of your friends as sources for job leads. Try to meet with hiring managers face to face rather than dropping off a completed application form.

Most important, don’t get frustrated by failure. Many teens give up after applying to 10 or 12 jobs and conclude that “no one is hiring teens this summer.” As the chances are good that there are more than 10 or 12 employers in your city or town, it’s necessary to cast a wider net. There are many summer job opportunities outside the confines of the local mall.”

But than the article takes a step back and suggests looking in the newspaper classifieds instead of the job listings on myfirstpaycheck.com, doh!


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Persistence Pays Off

Category : Interviews , Other Stuff

In any economy, but particularly now when jobs are a little harder to come by – persistence and follow-ups pay off.

3 basic follow up tips to help you stand out from the competition

* Send a thank you note to the interviewer within 48 hours
* Follow the interviewers directions completely regarding follow-up to the interview
* Call the employer to reiterate your interest in the position if you havent heard about the employment decision, but wait at least a week after the interview.


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Summer Jobs May be at Risk for Teens – The Boston Globe

Category : Other Stuff

The sour economy is threatening local summer job programs for city teenagers, a decades-old safety net designed to keep youth off the streets and prevent violence during the bloodiest months of the year.

This is bad news for a great program, and this news  from Aaron Tanimoto, the agency’s program director that a lot of work sites are telling the agency that they can’t take as many  because entry-level positions that were in the past filled by high school students are being snapped up by college students, isn’t good for high school students anywhere.

But people are still posting jobs on myfirstpaycheck.com, and businesses are still hiring. Make a resume, get creative, and go out and find that summer job.


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Summer Jobs for Teens Harder to Find

Category : Other Stuff

Interesting article about the summer jobs search for teens in Jackson, Michigan where it seems to be harder to get jobs now because of the economy. I think the most important thing to take away from this article is this advice from Michael Neece, chief strategy officer at Pongoresume.com who said that teens tend to limit themselves to just retail and fast-food jobs. He added, more white-collar businesses, such as public relations and architectural firms, are looking for young interns eager to work in the industries.
Neese goes on to say, “Teens are often reluctant to contact these types of firms,” Neece said. “The reality is that they do have the skills. It’s just that they don’t even know they have them.” Neece also suggests young people look outside the local area for seasonal work if possible. They can also look into volunteer work or an unpaid internship to build experience if they cant land a paid job.

“They have more options than they realize,”  Neece said.

… could not have said it better myself, thanks!


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Sacrifices

Category : Other Stuff

Much to my surprise, there was another prompt about teenage employment in my state-wide standardized testing. This time the focus was on should teens get jobs or not. The argument against it was that it took time away from school work and extracurriculars, and the argument for it being employment builds character, teaches responsibility, fills your wallet, and preps you for the workforce.

Though the arguments against youth employment do have some value, they would have to be severely exaggerated to really make an impact. With child labor laws, 14-16 year olds can only work 3 hours a day. And most teens with jobs are not working these 3 hours every single day. They still have time for a club after school a few times a week, and they definitely have time for studying and homework. Employment can even help with time management, because it is a responsibility outside of school that will take up time, so students have to maintain patterns of activity, creating a natural schedule of school, work, and studying.

The employed youth do have to make sacrifices, choosing to go to work instead of hanging out with friends. But this employment is beneficial in so many more ways that these sacrifices are worth it. So to all of those taking these state tests, think again about the arguments for employment.