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That Summer Job
Photo: Tamer Tatlici
It’s spring. As spring starts sliding into summer young people’s thoughts turn to getting that summer job. A laborer is worthy of his wages, but no job means no wages. You get that first job by showing someone that you are the best person that is going to come along.

Start by looking at the world through the eyes of the person hiring you. You see that job as something to make bucks for your college fund. Your potential employer sees it differently. The business they run may just pay their bills, but it often is what they worked to get their life’s dream. Especially a small business.

You—any employee—put that dream at risk. A slovenly, discourteous, unreliable, or dishonest employee can drive that business into bankruptcy.  An industrious, courteous, reliable, and trustworthy employee helps the owner realize their dream.

This is especially true for a first job—an entry-level job. The boss is not worried about what you know. It does not take much training to push a broom or flip a burger. The boss wants to know you can be relied on to do that job well.

Selling Reliability

How do you sell yourself as reliable and honest? You get your chance at the job interview. It may be your only chance to make a good impression.

  • Show up on time—ten minutes early does not hurt. This is your first chance to convince someone you are reliable.
  • Fill out the application completely—write clearly and spell properly.
  • Dress appropriately. Cutoffs and a tank-top are out. A dress shirt and slacks (or skirt) never hurt for an office or store job. Jeans and a work shirt may be appropriate for a construction or shop job, but wear good ones that are not worn. In any case make sure that your clothes are clean. You say “I understand how important this business is to you.”  Be clean and neat, too.  Neat, combed hair helps.
  • Know something about the business. Read the company’s website. See what they think of themselves. Knowing about them scores points—they know you are serious.
  • Focus on what you can do for them—not what they can do for you. The job interview is not where you learn whether they are worthy of your presence. Answer that question before turning in your application.
  • Answer questions completely, and confidently. Say “yes” and “no,” not “yeah” and “nah.” Answer honestly, even if the answer is “I don’t know.” Get caught lying in an interview and you are toast.
  • Do not sound enthusiastic—be enthusiastic. This is your chance—for money and experience.

Finally, when you get the job, remember it may not be an adventure. If it were, it would not be an entry-level job.  The skills you pick up are important. In every job being industrious, courteous, reliable, and trustworthy is important. You start to learn about those in that first job.

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Written by Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2007, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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