Helping Your Teen Apply For Their First Job: A Simple (But Complete) Guide

So a couple of weeks ago I sat down with my mother in-law to talk to her about this post. My Mother in-law just retired a month ago as the HR Manager for a national law firm. She has spent the past 47 years hiring and firing and motivating teams of people. She was by far the best person that I could think of to get the inside scoop on writing this post.

If you're family is anything like ours, your teen is constantly talking about all the things he/she wants, needs and desires. I think that's awesome, but I'm not prepared to just give it all to them. Their at the age now where they have to earn it, just like the rest of us. Enter the job world. Having a job even just one day a week starts them on the path to earning, saving and responsible spending. Learning things about not buying before you can afford it and how long they have to work to buy that pair of shoes they've been conventing is important. Its not mean, its good for them. So my mother in-law and I have compiled a list of really great ideas on how to get their first job. Things that employers are looking for, and prepping for their first interview. It will take a little teamwork but it will be totally worth it.

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The Resume

There are a lot of great templates out there to help get you started. Here is a list of a few basics that you need to include

1. Personal Information - Full name, Contact Information, Address 

2. Work Experience - If this is the first job include anything, even lawmaking for the neighbours.

3. Volunteer work - Through school or in the community

4. Interests- What do you like to do in your spare time.

5. Awards and accolades - If there are some special awards that you've received, now the time to let people know 

Always tailor your resume for the place you are bringing to. This may involve some intel on your teens behalf. Find out things like - Whats important to them, who are their clientele, their company Moto etc.  Also if you can find out the managers name and write them a short letter to attach to your resume, even better!

The Interview

Remember a good first impression is key so the following will help you get a jump on doing just that for your teens first interview

1. Dress Appropriate for your interview- Nothing too casual

2. Be on time/ early

3. Good hygiene, hair done, clean finger nails. Also make sure not to wear too much cologne or perfume. If your interviewee has an allergy, there's nothing worse than giving the person your trying to impress an allergy attack, better to play it on the safe side.

Appearance is important. This is your first impression. Better to over dress than under dress.

4. Try not to use slang in the interview - Be aware of the type of language, try no to use terms like "you guys'. Remember you're  in an interview, not chatting with your buds.

5. Try to expand on your answers, try not to just answer 'yes' or 'no' if possible. But also beware not to ramble on.

6. Go into your interview with a few prepared questions - Ex- About the business hours, busiest times, whats important to them, number of employees, other students they employ etc.

7. * Do not ask how much it pays! This will come with the job offer.

8. Show them what you're knowledgeable about what they do. Do a little detective work.

9. Don't be afraid to let them know that you're nervous. Its ok to say 'I'm really nervous please bare with me.' Most employers appreciate honesty.

10. Eye contact is really important. Practice.

A big tip here is to practice with your teen. Prepare some questions and answers so they can practice the tips above. Constructive criticism is a good thing so make it fun and engaging, it really helps to ease the anxiety related with their first interview.

A few other tips from the pros

One big thing to remind your teen is to be aware that employers are now checking out people on social media during the hiring process. They should be very aware of what kinds of content they are posting. Once its out there its out there and anyone can access it, forever.

Start your resume young, even if you aren't ready to hit the job market yet. This way when it comes time to apply for jobs, they aren't racking their brain to remember all the great things they've done and the dates they did them. With technology now a days this is easy.


As we enter into the another new chapter with our kids, there's nothing more exciting than you're first job. I remember my first paycheque, it was an awesome feeling. Best of luck in the job search, I hope that these tips help.