Expert Advice

You'll never regret helping your teenager find their first job

It's not about the money, money, money ...

By Michelle Gibbings.
Getting your first job is an important milestone for any person. The experience can be filled with nerves and apprehension, but it doesn't have to be.
Here are five tips to consider when your child is looking to find their first job.
Think 'stepping stones'
Your child's first job is a stepping stone to the next job and so the most important thing is for them to get their foot in the door.
Usually, securing this first job is the hardest as they are trying to get into the workforce with little or no prior work experience. This means they need to be prepared to put effort into finding the work.
Many organisations look for extra staff over the holiday periods and take on interns, so do your homework to find what's possible and be aware of seasonal variations.
Michelle Gibbings is a leadership and career expert. Image: Supplied.
Don't go for perfect
Everyone has a dream job, and a person's first job isn't likely to be it. Your child's first job is about getting the experience of working and holding down a job.
This doesn't mean they should be discouraged from aiming high but help them be realistic about what the first job will involve as it is likely to be an entry level position. This means it will involve work that can be tedious and repetitive.
On the upside, part time jobs provide a range of life-long skills, including responsibility, time management, money-management and relationship skills.
Your child's first job is a stepping stone to the next job. Image: Getty.
Look for transferable skills
Regardless of the nature of the work, your child will learn important skills including socialisation, responsibility and accountability, relationship management, money management, and process management.
The best entry level jobs are ones that offer a range of transferable skills that they can take with them to their next job. This includes, for example:
  • Tutoring – where they learn how to explain details and teach another person a skill
  • Retail sales – where they learn customer service, relationship management and sales skills
  • Call centre – where they learn how to engage with a customer remotely, how to manage conflict/ customer complaints, and learn systems and processes
  • Waitressing – where they learn how to deal with difficult customers, how to manage multiple requests, and how to balance their energy
  • Receptionist – for a small business, gym etc where they learn how to interact with people from all walks of life, along with customer service and communication skills
WATCH: Gwen Stefani reveals her first job. Continues after video ...
Be Flexible
It's important to encourage your child to be flexible. The more flexible they are the easier it will be to get the first job.
This means encourage them to not be too rigid in what they are looking for in terms of working hours, location and style of work.
Practice resilience
Getting your first job is often hard and it's likely to involve a few knock backs. Supporting your child through this process is critical so that the rejections they receive don't negatively impact their self-esteem.
Through the application process they will learn about how to present themselves, articulate their skills both verbally and in written form, and how to best prepare for a job interview.
Michelle Gibbings is the author of 'Step Up: How to Build your Influence at Work', and 'Career Leap: How to reinvent and liberate your career' www.michellegibbings.com