Older Sister Advice: First Job
By: Melody Lau
What do you want to be when you grow up?
You’ve most likely been asked this question far too many times throughout your life from many different people, whether it’s a relative or the local barista at your favourite café.
But no one is really asking you what your dream first job will be.
Why is your first job important?
I know many people will disregard their first job and forget about it as they grow older but your first job is actually extremely important.
Whether you’re working at your local diner or putting up flyers, you’re learning valuable professional and personal skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you’re not at the age where you can start legally working yet, you can still make extra money by asking your parents for more chores or your neighbours if they need help with mowing their lawns or snow removal. If you’re crafty, you can even sell your handmade items in-person or online whether it’s slime or a bracelet!
What to do when applying to jobs
For those who are looking for their first jobs in the real-world, you must be feeling a bit nervous or unsure of how to even prepare to apply.
1. Get help on your resume and cover letter
I remember when I was in high school, my friends and I had just quickly made resumes (or whatever we thought resumes should look like) and dropped them off at random stores in the mall.
Let’s just say that I didn’t hear back from many. First, our resumes were not top-notch. We weren’t too sure of what to include in our resumes since we didn’t have much experience, which was why I had two pages filled with just irrelevant information on my hobbies and interests.
If you’re looking for help on your resume or cover letter, look to see if your school has any workshops or ask a parental figure or older sibling for help.
2. Be professional
Another factor as to why my friends and I weren’t succeeding with our early job search was our lack of professionalism. We often dropped off resumes with the intention of also shopping and hanging out after, so we usually showed up in super casual clothing.
I know, we didn’t realize that your clothing mattered as much when you were just dropping off your resume until a sales associate gave us advice that we should be dressed in semi-formal clothing since every impression counts. Honestly, at first we were annoyed with her, but we realized there was truth to her critique.
I’m not saying you must be dressed like you’re going to a banquet, but it’s important to dress in a professional manner during pre-interview stages and during your interview. Some staple pieces to always have in your closet include a casual blazer, neutral colour blouses and black dress pants.
3. Be yourself
The last thing to keep in mind is to try to keep the nerves down and don’t fake your persona. By this, I mean you should be honest with your answers on your resume and in the interview. It’s perfectly okay to admit that you don’t have knowledge of some of the tasks, but reassure your employer that you’re excited to learn!
I know first jobs are nerve-wracking or even the stages before getting the position, but you will learn so much from any task you complete. It’ll be rewarding to not only make your own money, but to see your advancement from your first job to the next.
4. Accept rejection
Before I end off my thoughts, you also have to brace yourself for rejection. Rejection happens to everyone, but you learn what you can improve on and keep growing.
About the Author:
Melody was a Master’s student in Journalism and Communication at Western and hopes to pursue a career in entertainment or investigative journalism. She also loves Letterboxd, country music and is excited to be a part of the Apricotton Team! Connect with her here.