With summer just around the corner, let’s get ready to help first-time job seekers find employment.
But first, if you know such a person and are interested in assisting, helping or gently nudging them to take action, here’s a suggestion: Embrace their technology of choice and share, post, link, tweet, pin or forward this column to them.
If you choose to go low tech, simply cut or clip this column and tape it to their door or slip it in their backpack.
Here are my tips and techniques for getting that first job:
While your job options may be limited by location, types of businesses in your area and your age, do not limit your options to work further by not trying as hard as you can to get a job. You are full of youthful energy, and you may be pleasantly surprised to see what you are capable of doing if you try.
Make a list of places where you want to work. Seek out businesses you like and locations where you can see yourself working. Work is less like work if you enjoy the people you work with, the location you work in and the things you do at work.
Ask the right questions. Do not ask “Are you hiring?” That is a yes-or-no question that is too easily answered with a no.
It is so much better and productive to say, “I am hoping to work for a place like this and was wondering what type work you may need help with.”
Be sure to ask, “Can I help you get that work done?” Those types of questions are conversion starters and show the potential boss or owner that you are interested in not just a job but the work you will be doing.
There is a perception of young people versus the reality of young people. Some, but not all, employers view young people as not dependable, untrained and more interested in being on their smartphone than in getting work done. Unfortunately, these stereotypes exist because there are many young people who have had job opportunities and have not committed to doing a good job.
Stand up and stand out
While your friends are making less productive decisions like binge watching the latest television drama or reality show, you need to get out and meet people and make a positive impression. Stand up and be noticed and stand out for being polite, making eye contact and most importantly, smiling whenever possible. Happy people get hired.
Bring some attention to your brief or limited “work” history. If you don’t have a resume to speak of, chances are you have some “experience” in areas that show you are responsible. Things like babysitting or mowing lawns for neighbors on a regular and consistent basis can help show you are dependable. Ask those you have done this type of “work” for to write you a letter of reference. You might be surprised by how others view and value what you have done to help them.
Speaking of value, it is extremely important that you understand your value. Value can be seen and measured in the skills you have and can provide to a potential employer. There are opportunities you may have thanks to skills that you do not even realize you possess that can help you find employment.
Thanks to your years of “training” in the areas of social media, you have valuable marketing and communication skills. These may not be the honed skills of an expert marketing representative with years of experience but your skills still have value.
Your value comes in the form of being able to convert a message or content into 140 characters (or less) or to take a picture that encourages people to respond to, like, share, re-tweet or pin. This form of communication and savvy social media marketing is an add-on value skill that businesses are seeking and you have the ability to do.
Creativity counts, so think about unique ways to reach out to potential employers and to make an impression. If you do not have a business card, consider designing a “calling card.”
It should contain the basic information you would put on an application: your name, address, phone number and e-mail. Be sure to hand it to the owner or supervisor that is accepting the applications or give it to the person interviewing you for a job at the end of your conversation. If you show potential employers you can market yourself it is much easier for them to feel comfortable that you will market their business.
Now is the time to put these techniques and tips into action. Embrace your value, be creative and show people what you are capable off.
For those of you that will take the time to give this information to a young person, thanks for caring about our youth and the future by sharing this information with those that are first time job seekers.
Joe Molineaux, director of the Small Business Development Center at Richard Stockton College, can be reached at MxBusinessBeats@gmail.com.