Summer is here and students all around the Portland area are looking for jobs. After they’ve given up their dream of working at a place like Lava Springs, the country club in High School Musical 2 where you can sing and dance while you work and no one will notice, they start looking for jobs at businesses across the city. I began to write this commentary with the hope of supplying students looking for employment with sound advice. The only problem is, I’ve never actually had a job; yes, I’ve had my share of babysitting and mowing lawns, but have never held a position that required any sort of application or interview. To assist, I brought in a couple Cleveland seniors who have gone through the process and ended up snagging the job. Sydney Williams is one of the supervisors in a food stand at the Oaks Park roller rink. Joey Henderson is a swim instructor and coach for Portland Parks and Recreation. Kaytlin Gaines has worked at Oaks Park and a daycare.
Many students are confident in their abilities to wow their future employers with their resume and interview, but just don’t know how to find them! They don’t know where to start looking for jobs. Cleveland senior Sydney Williams suggests looking at the Multnomah County Library website, or going to teensjobs.org. If you have a specific company in mind, Williams said, “Just google ‘whatever the place’s name’ and jobs at the end and I’m, sure you’ll find something.” Senior Joey Henderson has a much more local method. “I just asked the students at Cleveland where they had jobs,” Henderson said. Senior Kaytlin Gaines suggests even asking around your family, as your parents will know more people in the business field than you do. “The CCC has a job wall, and that’s good place to start.” Gaines added, “I think the best way is to just go in places and ask if they’re hiring.”
Some young students get overwhelmed at the vast amount of types of employment; they simply don’t know which employment position will suit them. Gaines suggests walking into stores that you often go to or have an interest in. “If they’re hiring, make sure to pick up an application. That’s getting your foot in the door, it makes them remember you more than just an online application,” Gaines said. Williams suggests a more expansive and open-minded attitude about a variety of positions. “Don’t be picky. A job is better than no job,” Williams said, “so get out your resume as much as you can and you will find something that fits you. You will adjust with whatever you find, and along the way in the application process, you’ll figure out what suits you best.” Henderson advises that you go with your skills. “You’re not going to be happy in a job that you’re not passionate about. If you really like cooking, try to find a job in a restaurant, “ Henderson said.
Resumes are the determinant of whether you get an interview or not. Many high school students become confused on what exactly they should put on their resumes. Should they include extracurriculars, or only work and volunteer experience? Should they submit a long or short resume? Williams advises putting extracurriculars, leaderships roles, people skills, and anything else that shows that you have take taken responsibility and have had time to commit time to things. “With your resume, you want to put your best foot forward, so whatever you can put on there, whether it’s babysitting or outdoor school or Model United Nations. Anything is good on a resume,” Williams said. Gaines believes a resume should be tailored for each position. “I’d definitely highlight the things that would fit with that particular job,” Gaines said.
The interview process is the make or break moments for many employment positions, and is one of the most dreaded parts of the job application for some. “Advice that I was given was just go in being confident, and show them that if you really want the job, show them that in the interview. Believe that you are going to be a good employee, and present yourself that way. That goes a long way in the interview. It’s the human interaction of showing that you’re willing to learn,” Williams said. “Going in with that sets the tone for how that job is going to go.” Gaines believes much can be said through how you present yourself. “Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have,” Gaines said. Henderson feels that honesty is always the best policy during an interview, and that the employers want someone who is true to himself. “Be really genuine and transparent,” Henderson said. “They really value transparency, making sure you’re being 100 percent honest on your skills and what you’ve done in the past and your other commitments.”