Frequently Asked Questions — Jobs
Questions about Finding a Job
- What if I need help deciding what kind of career I want?
- What if I choose the wrong career?
- How can I gain work experience while I'm in school?
- Should I look for a job now to pay for college?
- I've never had a job before. How do I find one?
- How do I convince someone to hire me once I find a job I want?
- What happens after I submit a resume?
- How can I prepare myself for an interview so that I can land the job I want without the jitters?
- What if I don't get the job I apply for?
If you are not sure what type of career you want there are many resources available that can help you match your interests with a career. You can search the Internet for a skills and interest test you can take for free. After you take the test, you will receive a profile of your abilities and interests and you will be given a list of jobs that match your skills and interests. You may not end up with a specific job, but you can definitely narrow your choices. Ask your counselor if such a test is offered at your school or if they can suggest a Web site that might offer an online inventory. Some colleges also provide career counseling centers designed to help adults figure out what career would be best for them. You can also gain knowledge of various careers by getting involved in extracurricular activities, volunteering for a local charity, or getting involved with your community. Ask your high school counselor to suggest some reading material or visit AIE's Find A Job page for more info.
The benefits of getting a college degree is that it offers many opportunities to go in many different directions. If you decide in the future that you want to change your career path, as many often do, a degree along with work experience will make the transition to a new career path easier.
Most of your college credits can be transferred towards another degree thereby giving you a head start versus the freshman who are starting college for the first time. Keep in mind that even if you decide to change major before completing your degree, most universities and colleges will allow you to receive credit for the classes you have already taken.
Begin by thinking about what kind of experience you would like to gain and then talk to your academic counselor at your school. Enlist their help in getting you the resources and connections to do an internship within the school or a local company. There are many organizations that need volunteers and you'll get the opportunity to learn about various different organizations and what their day-to-day business entails. Get involved in extracurricular activities at your school that will help you get familiar with your community.
Many people work before or during their time in high school and college to help pay for their education. Obviously any money you earn that can be applied to the cost of your education can be very helpful. The more money you have to pay for your education up front means the less money you will have to borrow and pay back later. Some colleges view students who work during high school as the ones who may be most responsible and have the ability and willingness to tackle the difficult tasks they encounter while in college. If you decide to look for work while in high school or college, consider the time you will have to devote to work and how it will fit into your schedule. Working so long and hard that your schoolwork and activities suffer isn't a good idea. But adjusting your plans so that you can have time for schoolwork and a job might be a good idea in the long run.
Looking for a job can be a job in itself, but the payoff comes when you find a job that's right for you. One thing most employers look for when hiring workers is experience. The trick is to gain experience before you get a job. Many high schools provide opportunities for students to gain experience by working on or leading teams, completing research, volunteering, working on after-school activities, and serving on school-wide committees or in extracurricular groups. A potential worker needs to be able to identify his or her experience and communicate that to a potential employer. Figure out what abilities you do have and how an employer might find them useful.
The trick is to know that you are capable and to communicate the facts of your abilities to a potential employer. In other words, you have to sell yourself. Usually the first step in doing so is to develop a resume that provides a clear, concise, truthful picture of what you are able to do. Without exaggerating, include those things that will help you succeed at the job you are trying to win. Include any activities that provided you with experience that could transfer to a job skill.
The employer will pre-screen your resume to determine if you meet the qualifications for the position(s) you are applying for. If you are selected as a candidate for the job, you will receive a telephone call or e-mail from the company to schedule an interview. If you were not selected for the position, then you will receive a letter in the mail confirming that your resume was received and that they may be keeping it on file for future job posting(s).
You can do many things to prepare yourself for an interview and gain the self confidence that it takes to make a good impression. Prepare a resume that provides a clear, concise, and detailed statement about your education and experience. Your resume can help you get the interview, but it does not guarantee you the job.
Employers will be looking at your appearance, your attitude, and your demeanor. You may be asked to elaborate on how much knowledge you have about their company so be prepared and do your homework.
Listening skills are just as crucial, so be sure to pay close attention to the question being asked so that you answer without getting side tracked. Being prepared will help you eliminate the interview jitters.
For job hunting, job interview, and resume writing tips; visit AIE's Find a Job section.
You may not always get the first job that you apply for, so it is important that you maintain a positive attitude and don't get discouraged. The key to finding a job that is a match for you is to keep searching and applying. Make your interviews a learning experience so that you can improve and develop those skills for your next job interview. Focus on the entire process and think about what you can do better next time.
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