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MyFirstPaycheck.com - Jobs for teens and early career professionals

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.

A First Job, From a Dad’s Perspective

Category : Job Search

Stewart Allyn wrote a nice post on his blog a few days ago about his son’s first job. Stew’s 16-year-old son got a job as a hockey referee, and Stew seems to be pretty happy about his son entering the workforce. Stew writes, “Becoming a referee has taught him many valuable lessons in both life and in his chosen sport.”

It seems like its worked out well for both him and his son, and If you are still looking for a spring/summer job – maybe you can look into being a referee too. Hockey season is over but is your local little league/soccer league looking for refs?

Summer Job Seeking Advice for Employees and Employers

Category : Job Search

John Tesh posts some good tips that we wanted to pass on.

He writes, “Encourage your teen to spend the majority of his time networking not just looking for jobs on his laptop. Why? Because 90% of job openings are not advertised and 90% of job candidates only apply for advertised work opportunities.”

Im not sure where he gets these numbers from, but I believe them. One of the things I spend most of my time on is convincing businesses to post their job openings on myfirstpaycheck.com. Unfortunately, many companies dont put in a lot of effort into hiring and managing part-time employees, but would you rather put a sign in your store window and hire the first kid who comes in or put a sign in your window and spend 5 minutes and $20 to post on myfirstpaycheck.com allowing you to collect many more applicants and promoting your company to a valuable customer base at the same time? The more time you put into hiring good employees, the less time (and money) you will have to spend in the future dealing with turnover and training.

Summer Jobs for Teens

Category : Job Search

A lot of people have been calling us to ask how the current economic downturn is going to impact teens search for summer jobs, I tell them that its always hard to find a job but there are plenty of employers out there looking for the affordable, enthusiastic, and energetic help that teenagers provide, but teenagers have to know how to find them and how to present themselves.

Be creative, persistent, and polite and you will find a summer job.

We created myfirstpaycheck.com to help teens find summer jobs. Even if we don’t have local job listings by you yet, our advice section is a great resource – make a resume with our dynamic resume builder for teens, learn how to write a cover letter, and get out there and start applying!

And please let us know if you have any suggestions for other teenagers out there.

Summer Jobs Pay Off

Category : Job Search

Fran Hendrick wrote the following great piece in The Cincinnati Enquirer about the benefits of summer jobs. Fran writes, a “real job” can benefit teens by helping them develop the ability to say, “This is who I am, and this is what I can do,” working alongside others gives teens a sense of their own competence, The “real world” experience of a job, where their parents cannot intervene on their behalf if they fail to meet expectations, teaches teens a “no excuses” work ethic, collecting a paycheck helps teens understand financial realities, on-the-job experience teaches teamwork, and having a job can clarify for your teen what he doesn’t want to do as a career – as much as clarifying what he does want.

These are all great pieces of advice that every teenager, parent, and potential employer should remember this summer. Thanks Fran!

On the Internet, It’s All About “My”

Category : My First Job

People generally feel pretty strongly about the domain name, myfirstpaycheck.com – they either love it or hate it. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it (I actually bought it when I was 16) and the lovers far outweigh the haters so were sticking with it, but it’s an interesting issue to revisit every once in a while.

This Sunday, The New York Times published an article about My Domain names, David Browne wrote, “the Web is awash in sites that begin with that most personal of pronouns, and not simply MySpace. A few quick clicks will connect you to MyCoke and My IBM even MyClick, a mobile-phone marketing company. Collectively, they amount to a new world of Web sites designed to imply a one-on-one connection with a corporation or large business.”

They don’t mention myfirstpaycheck.com, but they could have.

The article continues, “The rise of sites with the ‘my’ prefix is an outgrowth of an increasingly customized world of technology, such as the iPod and TiVo.”

The article continues, “We all want to be individuals and this brand will help you express your individuality,” said Nick Bartle, a director of behavioral planning at the advertising agency BBDO. “These ‘my’ Web sites are the logical extension of that strategy.”

But they illustrate how corporations are striving to show that they can be as intimately connected to their customers as in-vogue social networking sites. They’re not just impersonal businesses; they are your close, intimate friends.”

I like to think of myfirstpaycheck.com as a friendly company, do you think its working?

Email Correspondance with Teens

Category : Job Search

Unfortunately, myfirstpaycheck.com doesn’t yet have jobs listings nationwide so there are lots of teens (and their parents) who email us asking for us to find them jobs. We’re happy to help and flattered that people come to us to find their first job.

Below is a sample of the type of emails we get, what do you think?


My name is Amy. I am seventeen years old and I live in Hampton, VA. I was directed to your web site from about.com and I am writing because my area was not listed. Where I live the only jobs for sixteen and seventeen year olds are in fast food restaurants or a supermarket, so as you can see theres not much to choose from. A lot of the retail stores and telemarketing corporations moved the ages up from seventeen to eighteen because of problems with past teenage employees. But with a lot of the retail and telemarketing jobs you have to have at least three years of customer service experience. And many teens dont want to stay at a supermarket or fast food restaurant longer than we have to before we can get a better job. I, like most graduating seniors will be going off to college and many of us wont be 18 when we get there and we need help to find jobs other than fast food and grocery. So, please look the Hampton Roads area up and see what you can do to fix our problem.

Thank You,


I responded

Hi Amy –

We are currently working on going national, and hope to have job listings in Virginia and the rest of the country by the end of April. I appreciate your interest in myfirstpaycheck.com and hope that you continue to check out our website. Have you seen our job advice for teens section? I think it, particularly our resume builder, can be a big help to you and your friends even if we don’t have listings in Virginia yet.

I have to say that I understand the difficulties you face, because teens across the problem have the same issues. While fast food is not ideal it is a great way to start working, other good places are country clubs, camps, and pools. Just keep applying!

We are working hard on trying to grow, and would really appreciate if you could pass myfirstpaycheck.com on to your friends and family.

Best and thanks,

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.

Myfirstpaycheck.com in the News!

Category : My First Job

Frankie Darcell from Mix 92.3 in Detroit interviewed me Friday about teens jobs for her radio show.

Frankie Darcell is mother, lecturer, businesswoman, author, talk show host and one of metropolitan Detroits most prominent radio personalities. She has been spokeswoman for women tackling real issues, while combining lively listener interaction along with Detroits strongest songs, for a great ride home, when she worked for WJLB FM 98.

She is very concerned about the lack of jobs in Michigan, and is looking for ways to help. She realized that myfirstpaycheck.com is a great resource for teens (and business owners) and we really appreciated the shout-out, thanks again Frankie!

Our great resume builder was also written about on Jim Strouds site, The Recruiters Lounge, a blog that explores the wacky world of employment with articles, podcasts, comics, videos and more. It looks great.

We always appreciate a nice write-up and are happy to be talk about myfirstpaycheck.com, summer jobs, teenage employment, or just teens in general. If you are a reporter looking for a good story, or a good source, feel free to send me an email.

14 Easy-to-Start Summer Business Ideas for Teenagers

I found this list of 14 summer businesses on YoungEntrepreneur.com and wanted to share because I think they have some really good suggestions.

While we are always trying to get more job listings on myfirstpaycheck.com, sometimes you just cant find something that youre looking for, but it doesn’t mean give up. If you are looking for something to do this summer, maybe you can start your own business. The pay and hours will probably be even better than a retail or restaurant job.

1) Lawn Care / Landscaping

It’s a perfect seasonal business that can pay well and make you enough money to cover your expenses during the year. The startup costs are relatively low and you get to work outdoors. It can also be a repeat customer business for the next year.

2) Cleaning Service

People are always using the summer to clean out their garage and other rooms in the house. Offer your services to help customers organize themselves and haul away the garbage.

3) Dog Walker

If you love dogs and the outdoors, what better way to make some extra money and work on your tan? It could also give you a part time business for the rest of the year to earn cash on the side.

4) Car Washing

Everyone needs their car washed at some point in the summer and your startup costs involve a bucket, soap, and a few rags. Consider adding extra services in like detailing and interior cleaning.

5) Yard Sale Organizers

The start of summer also leads to countless yard sales around the country. Most people just want to get rid of their junk and don’t want to do the work. Offer to help them organize the yard sale and promote it for a fee or percentage of sales.

6) Sports Equipment Rentals

Rent bikes, scooters, rollerblades, and other summer-related sports equipment to people looking to have a day of fun. The startup costs are higher as you need to get the inventory but you can pick up used equipment for cheap to get you going.

7) Computer Helper

Are you a computer expert? If so why not offer your help out to people who aren’t? Many adults could use help in learning how to use their computer and the Internet. You could also help them solve specific problems and offer a maintenance package.

8) Window Cleaner

Another low cost idea is to become a window cleaner. With all the summer parties people throw they will need to have their houses looking in top shape – including the windows. Also look at commercial stores where they need clean windows to promote a professional appearance.

9) Sell on eBay

Starting an online business can take a while to turn a profit but with eBay you can get other people’s junk and sell it for an immediate return. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure!

10) Run Errands

With people being busier than ever and wanting to enjoy their summers as much as possible, why not offer to run errands for them? It can be as simple as picking up groceries, dropping off dry cleaning, and delivering packages. Also look to help seniors who aren’t as mobile and need help on a regular basis.

11) Offer Guided Tours

Do many tourists come to your city in the summer? Why not learn about your local history and offer guided tours? They could be simple walking tours or you could rent a bus to take customers around. People always spend more when they are on vacation so why not take advantage of the opportunity?

12) Cater Parties

Are you handy in the kitchen? Why not create a catering service and offer to supply food for all the summer parties that people hold? If you have a few friends who need some extra cash you can expand by also offering to serve the food in addition to making it.

13) Instructor / Tutor

What are you really good at that you can teach others? Can you help summer students in a particular school subject or teach people how to play the piano? You’ll get to do what you’re good at and love while making money at the same time.

14) Painting Service

Summer painting has paid for many college educations and can help you earn additional income. You’ll need to have some basic painting skills but your startup costs will be minimal. The customer will pay for the paint – you just need the brushes and tools.


If you want help getting started, reach out to Jeff. He is an entrepreneur and love helping teens and college students get started running their own business.

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!


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.

Sell Sell Sell

Category : Interviews

In my state-wide standardize testing this week, one prompt was about resume and cover letter writing for teens. Quelle coincidence! This of course was a topic I knew a lot about already, but I was very surprised to see certain wording in the description of the cover letter (CL). The prompt repeatedly said that the CL is a tool to “sell yourself.” Perhaps this is how most people view job applications (and maybe all applications in general) but personally, I find this description a bit disgusting. Selling yourself implies handing yourself over and losing yourself to somebody else. I know that we are capable of filling out an application and writing a CL while maintaining a sense of self. Yes, there are certainly compromises we have to make (like taking down those drinking photos from Facebook), but for the most part, these pieces should be an accurate reflection of yourself. You do want to present yourself in good light, but if this is a job (or college or program or internship) that is really good for YOU then you shouldnt have to compromise yourself to the point of “selling.”

Good Advice from Keppie Careers – A Head Above the Rest

Category : Other Stuff

I got a nice email from Miriam Salpeter the other day about myfirstpaycheck.com | Jobs for Teenagers and our resume advice.

She wrote, “I like the point about quantifying (how many children, how many lawns, etc.), but I do think that you are advising your customers to list jobs instead of focusing on skills and accomplishments. Even early in our careers, I think there is a lot of room for job seekers to figure out how to market not only WHAT they have done, but WHY it was important. It is a different way of thinking about a resume.”

Good Point! While we advise our readers to be specific, I dont think we go far enough to stress the importance of why your experience is important. Thanks, Miriam.

Student Summers: Jobs vs. Internships Round 1

Category : Internships

I argue that its not necessary for college students to intern during their first or second summer of college.

This is going to be the start of a fun debate between me and Willy from OneDayOneJob.com, keep reading!

What do you think?

Why Teens Aren’t Finding Jobs, and Why Employers Are Paying

Category : My First Job

Here is an article about the declining number of teenagers in the workforce, and some of the possible factors behind it.

Interesting piece, but it starts, “What do Warren Buffett, Walt Disney and Ross Perot all have in common? Besides being iconic American businessmen, all three have “newspaper carrier” on their boyhood resumes. But don’t bother looking for leaders of tomorrows corporate America to be walking down your block at dawn: Your newspaper carrier today is most likely an adult in a car.

As recently as 1990, nearly 70% of newspaper carriers in the U.S. were teens. But that number dropped to 18% in 2004, and more declines are likely, according to Robert Rubrecht, director of circulation and marketing at the Newspaper Association of America.”Its an evolutionary process,” he says.”

A terrible example of the declining number of teens working, but interesting stuff at the end about private/public partnerships in Boston

Respect Your Elders

Category : Other Stuff

If you are working, you are now surrounding yourself with a new type of person. Not your classmates, not your teachers, not your parents, but adults with a completely different relationship to you. Some will be your bosses, some your managers, and some your coworkers. Some of these adults soon become peers, a relationship where age doesnt matter. With the changing view of these adults comes this issue of respect.

We all know to respect our elders, but how much? That doesnt mean I have to respect my big brothers like I do my parents (I hope!). But it does mean that even if these adults are my coworkers, I probably cant talk to them like I would people my age. Age shouldnt hold us back from being friends, but what we are going to talk about, or even the language we use will be different then in the conversation between two 16 year olds.

Think of it from the adult’s perspective. He is working with someone half his age, earning the same amount of money. That cant be too fun. But even we whippersnappers can hold worthwhile conversations, so it doesn’t pay for him to isolate himself. As the younger party, we have to keep in mind this mentality of our older coworkers. Respect them, even if they are earning the same amount of money you are.

Why Are Teens Working Less?

Category : My First Job

From a MarketWatch Article by Ruth Mantell – “New data indicates that last years labor-force participation rate for 16- to 19-year-olds hit 41.3% — down from a peak of 57.9% in 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experts cite increasing competition for jobs, as well as low wages and high pressure for college admittance as factors keeping kids out of the labor pool.”

The article continues, “In 2006, the typical earnings of more than half of working older teenagers were less than $200 per week, according to BLS. With wages like these, even parents see that extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs can be better options to help kids prepare for their future, Goodman says.”

I think that teens can participate in sports and clubs and hold down jobs, and I think that there are a lot of benefits from working… but there is something to be said about the decision between making a choice between playing a sport and making less than $200 a week. Although most teens (and parents) I know would be happy to have an extra $800 in their pocket, the statistics show that the percentage of teens participating in the labor force is going down.

Teens want to work, they just dont know how to find jobs, and how to apply for them. This is where Myfirstpaycheck.com | Jobs for Teenagers can help, but it also requires the understanding and effort of hiring managers.
It might take a little more effort to hire a teen, but the long term benefit is immeasurable.

Why do you think teens are working less?

Where Are The Snow Shovelers?

Category : My First Job

It hasn’t snowed yet here in Philadelphia, but when it does, are you going to be ready to shovel?

Florence Shay writes, “What happened to all the youngsters carrying snow shovels who would ring the bell to ask whether you wanted your driveway cleared? I haven’t seen one in years. Did the snow-blower make the entrepreneur obsolete? I’d love to see a team of young shovelers when the snow is less that 4″ deep. True, my husband goes out with the shovel (snow blowers are for sissies) and does the job, feeling empowered by his success.”

Neil Steinberg writes in the Sun-Times, about the likelihood of teens asking to shovel his driveway, “In my dreams. The odds of something like that actually happening are about the same as Jessica Alba stopping by to read the meter. All the youngsters in my — well, it isn’t so leafy of late — snowy suburban paradise are so stuffed with cash from their over-indulgent parents that the last thing they need to do is stir from the sofa and go out into the cold to earn a little folding money.”

I’m looking at you Chicago area teens…

A Stimulus Plan With a Long-Term Payoff

Category : My First Job

A neat column from Courtland Milloy. He writes, “A recent study by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute found that poverty in the nations capital is at its highest level in nearly a decade. One in five D.C. residents is poor. That adds up to 110,000 people. Among major U.S. cities, the District has one of the biggest income gaps between rich and poor. The incomes of the city’s lowest-wage workers have stagnated, while salaries of top earners have soared. As the number of jobs has increased, employment of African American residents and people with no more than a high school diploma has declined. The employment rate for those groups is at a nearly 30-year low.

Paying youngsters to behave may strike some as a misuse of money, but were about to spend billions to keep America from having a panic attack. Apparently money can calm the nerves.

And as everybody knows, the fastest way to put money back into the economy is to put it in the hands of a teenager. And keep the shoe stores and cellphone kiosks open late. ”

I couldn’t agree more. While its tough for us to create jobs, Celeste and I created Myfirstpaycheck.com | Jobs for Teens to help connect teens with jobs that are already out there… it seems to be working so far.