The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Getting a job in high school can be especially challenging due to certain constraints, particularly lack of experience and limited resources. Nonetheless, getting a job this early can instill critical life skills including communication and collaboration with peers, technical know-how, and time and money management among many other things. Here are five tips on how you can land a job as a high schooler.
Internship programs are the most common way to get your foot past the door of companies you want to eventually work for post-graduation. As an intern, you’ll be exposed to different areas of a company, such as engineering, business, and technology. Most internship programs are paid, but there are still some that are unpaid. Be cautious of taking unpaid internships, and only do it if adds prestige to your resume and if the work experience opens up career opportunities later on.
If you want to work at a coffee shop, for instance, taking a barista training course can help you with coffee tasting or espresso making and can improve your chances of getting hired. It often can even yield higher wages. Your school may also be offering workshops you can enroll in, such as data encoding, woodworking, etcetera. Workshops not only help with technical training but can also help you connect with professionals who might know a job position open for a person of your limited work experience.
As a high school student, you probably won’t have an attractive work resume or LinkedIn profile that will get you headhunted by HR. And the problem is, no one really knows who you are so if you don’t advertise yourself, you’ll surely not get any leads. Advertise any related experience you have online and offline. Ask family members and friends to do the same. You can find good leads on short-term or seasonal jobs from your family friends or parents’ colleagues as well as on your local newspapers and sites, like Craigslist and Indeed.
This is especially common in STEM-related industries where job candidates are selected based on their relevant experience first and only on their academic credentials second. You can get a job in graphic design, web development, or ghostwriting if you have a portfolio that showcases tangible results and usable or interactive solutions. Employers want to see your interest in a given field and your ability to finish projects. For example, having a mobile app or website can help you land a job as a software engineer or at least an intern at a tech company even without prior work experience. If you have articles or blog posts published on another site, you can also use that to apply for writing gigs.
You’ll find a lot of workplace horror stories from employers who’ve had to deal with unprofessional employees, many of whom were of the younger demographic. There’s this stigma that younger people tend to be less professional when at work – they come in late, dress inappropriately, and spend most of their work hours talking to coworkers or on their phone. When looking for a job as a high school student, act mature and professional at all times. Dress professionally when attending job fairs, mind your manners when talking with company employees, and always be on time for your scheduled interviews.
Getting a job in high school can prepare you in ways that formal education can’t. It’s also a good way to make some income while you’re saving up for college. By following the tips aforementioned in this article, you can position yourself favorably as a budding job candidate.