Getting a Part Time Job for High School Students, Part 1

When you don’t have work experience, it’s hard to know how to get a job. In part 1, Stever gives several tips on how to pursue and land a real job.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #212

Listener Andrew is a high school student who's thinking ahead. He Tweeted, asking about finding a part-time job.

In this economy, decent jobs are hard to find. Technology has been replacing all the low-skill jobs, and now it's starting to replace the high-skill jobs too. That means that there aren't enough jobs for people with proven track records, much less new job entrants like you, Andrew. Welcome to the future.

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People with no qualifications or knowledge about such things say that these technology advances will make enough new jobs available so we can all have decent jobs. Of course, there's no economic, scientific, or religious theory that explains why or how this will happen. We call it "magical thinking." If you write novels about magical thinking, you might be able to get those novels made into movies about sparkly vampires, and buy your own private island by the age of 25… Or not.

Just in case that doesn’t pan out, you should probably start pounding the pavement now, to find yourself a part-time job. So Andrew, even though you're still in high school, I advise you to treat this like a real, full-time job search. And if you're listening/reading this and you're already a graduate, these tips will still help.

Tip #1: Find Companies That Meet Your Goals

Even if you just want a part-time job, narrow the field by going after companies that meet your goals. Sometimes you'll want a job for the money. The latest laser-based toe fungus removal system is hitting the stores next Tuesday, and you want to be first in line, with enough money to ensure sweet-smelling toes for life. In that case, you want to identify companies that will pay money now.

If you're thinking about setting yourself up for later success, you might take a job for the learning experience. If you're really smart and insightful at such a young age, you might even consider a in which you can interact with successful local businesspeople who, five years from now, can help with career advice, introductions, and contacts.

Tip #2: Research the Company

If you're out at a dance and you see someone who makes your blood boil and your hair stand on end, you don't just walk up and say, "Hey, let's go steady." No, you get out your smartphone and Google them. Then you read their Facebook page. Then you check out those dating web sites that destroy people's lives by having angry ex's write what it was really like to date them.

Then once you're sure they're not a psycho, and their parents are rich, and they like the same Pokeman as you do, then you walk over and ask them to go steady.

Approaching a company for a job is no different. A quick web search will tell you what the company has been up to. What have they done? What are their major products? What’s on the horizon? Then, when you're talking to someone from the company, if it seems appropriate, you can ask smart questions, based on what you've read. "I understand you're thinking of branching out from pizzas and burgers into ball bearing manufacturing. What prompted that decision?"


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.