Job Application Tips for Teenagers

Two teenage students searching for jobs online.
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Teenagers applying for summer work, or part-time jobs during the school year, should know that how you apply can make the difference in getting hired. The application needs to be completed accurately and legibly, or you can expect it to get tossed into the reject pile. Leaving off important information can have the same effect.

Before you start filling out job applications, be sure that you take the time to find out what information you will need to provide to prospective employers.

It’s a good idea to put together a resume, even though many employers won’t ask for one. It will give you the opportunity to organize and categorize your experience, and can be useful when filling out applications to maintain consistency and accuracy in filling in your work dates and experiences. Plus, it’s good to have a starting point that you can add to and edit as you gain experience over the next few years.

Practice filling out an application before you start actually applying for jobs. Here's an example of a job application you can print and use to get started. If you're not sure about something on the application, ask for help from a family member, guidance counselor or friend. If you get it right the first time, you'll have a better chance of getting hired.

Top 10 Tips for Teens Completing Job Applications

1. Whenever possible, take the application home or fill it out online, so you don't have to rush while sitting in an employment office.

Make a list of all the information you need to include on your application prior to filling it out. Not sure what to say when you need to pick up an application for employment? Here's how to ask for a job application.

2. Neatness counts. Have a friend or parent with nice handwriting fill out your applications with you if you have sloppy handwriting.

If you have access to a copy machine, make a copy to use when filling out other applications, since they all ask for pretty much the same information, and often even in the same order.

3. Show the employer that you can follow directions by filling in all sections of the application form. If you don't have information to put in a box you can say N/A (not applicable).

Review all the questions carefully to make sure you understand what they are asking for. If you don't have formal work experience, it's fine to list jobs like babysitting or yard work, or even participation as an officer in a school club or student government, on your application. Request help from a parent or guidance counselor if you need assistance responding to any confusing items.

4. Check your application for spelling and grammar mistakes and have someone else review it as well. Put your finger on every word to make sure it is okay even if you are typing and using spellcheck.

5. Make sure you emphasize the job responsibilities of your past jobs which are most relevant to your target position when completing your descriptions. For example, suppose that you only spent a fraction of your time generating documents in your campus job, but it will be the primary function in a target job.

List that activity first on the application when describing your campus job, so your key qualification is easily noticed. Use action words to lead your phrases when describing past jobs.

6. Employers of teens value reliability, especially in terms of attendance and punctuality. Try to incorporate references to perfect attendance and punctuality, if possible.

7.Don't forget to include any honors or awards since employers will likely believe a high GPA or Honor Society membership, for example, is evidence of a strong work ethic.

8. Get a list of references. Most employers will request 3 or 4 references- people who can vouch for your work ethic and responsibility. You should ask several people who might be willing to give you a good recommendation, should they be contacted by a potential employer.

9. Be prepared to furnish the names, job titles and contact information for your references. If you haven't held a formal job, consider asking families for whom you babysit or have done odd jobs, as well as teachers or coaches. Let people know if you plan to list them as a reference so they won't be surprised if they get a call or email message from an employer.

10. Check your phone. You will need to list your phone number on the application, so be sure that the voicemail message on your cell is suitable for an employer to hear. Check messages regularly so you don't miss any calls from employers.

More Tips for Teens: Tips for Writing Your First Resume | Job Search Tips for Teens