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 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.