Part-time jobs: A little work can go a long way

Having a part-time job helps more than your wallet

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High school is, well, you know ... You go to class, you do homework and you study for tests. You also might play sports, be in the band, work on the yearbook, belong to a club or pursue one of a hundred other things. You definitely hang out with your friends and most likely spend time with your family.

Depending on your individual situation, a part-time job during the school year and/or a summer job might be part of that mix. It shows you are responsible, helps you be independent, gives you experience dealing with other people and introduces you to some careers out there.

Chances are you’ve made a few bucks babysitting, mowing lawns, delivering papers, raking leaves or taking care of the neighbor’s dog. There’s also delivering pizzas; working at the movie theater or the fast-food restaurant; lifeguarding at the pool; waiting tables or washing dishes in a restaurant; bagging groceries, stocking shelves and collecting shopping carts at the grocery store; and working at the local coffee shop.

Having a job and earning a paycheck make for a good experience. So how do you get a job?

• Where do your friends work? Your friends and your family are great sources for potential jobs. Be on the lookout for local businesses that post help-wanted signs. Check the classified ads in the paper and search online for jobs.
• Dress appropriately and be on your best behavior when you approach a potential employer because first impressions are important.
• Ask for a job application or the web address of the application portal.

You’ll see that applications ask for some personal information and details about your education and previous work experience. You also might need to supply the names and phone numbers of people who can vouch for your reliability and responsibility. Write neatly and in complete, grammatical, properly punctuated sentences.
 
Personal interview

After you fill out an application, a prospective employer will contact you and schedule a time for you to meet for an interview. Dress appropriately and show up on time! (15 minutes early is ideal.) Dress appropriately for any job inquiry visit; you might be interviewed right then and there.

Be prepared to answer questions and answer them with confidence. Examples: Tell me something about yourself. Why do you want to work here? What other work experience do you have? Do you have reliable transportation? When could you start?

Understand the position for which you have applied. What work will you do? What are the hours? What is the pay? How often will you be paid? How soon would the job begin?
 
Courtesy counts

A prospective employer might offer you the job on the spot or want to get back with you soon, perhaps after he or she interviews other candidates. If you do not get the job (and you're not going to land every job for which you apply), be courteous. You never know when that job might be available again in the future (some first choices don’t work out) or when you’ll have another encounter with the prospective employer. 

MORE: Check out our article on interview makeovers. 

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