The unemployment rate of young people aged between 15-24 in the United States is high, floating around 18%. Finding a job, any job is not easy. Consider the plight in Europe, the situation is lousy in Italy with 33% and nearly hopeless in Greece with 52% and Spain's 51%.
Europe and the United States both have higher minimum wages. Employers must pay these wages. Lower skilled workers and youth looking for their first job must demonstrate to an employer they are productive at the minimum wage salary.
I have been asked for advice on how to get a first job. I offer several principles.
First, work hard at locating an opportunity. Check every possibility, knock on doors, and fill out every application possible. Treat getting a job as a full time effort.
Be neat in appearance and dress. This is not the time to wear beat up jeans or shorts. Be clean, well groomed, wear a good collard shirt and slacks.
Insure your application is neat and bring key information with you. Avoid crossing out incorrect information. Answer all questions directly.
If you are unable to land a job look at two options. First, make your own. Do lawn and garden work or other odd jobs. After doing good work ask for a reference, then when applying for a job later you can demonstrate you actively worked to satisfy customers. Many employers will be impressed with the initiative.
An alternative is to do volunteer work. Churches always are looking for volunteers providing you with an opportunity. Use these volunteer jobs as past work and include references. Ask for a short letter attesting to your reliability. Many employers view young workers as unreliable, any evidence that demonstrates you honor commitments and follow through gives you an advantage.
Paul wrote, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV) Take these steps and you have an increased opportunity to land that first job. Be grateful you are looking for employment in the United States rather then Spain, Italy or Greece.
Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach
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