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Job interview tips for teens

So your teen is about to graduate and you don’t want them coming back to live with you, right? That means getting a job. But a lot of recent grads lose out for reasons that can easily be prevented. Experts say even after graduation, there is some homework to be done.

Consider the job search like a race with hurdles. There are must-dos and don’ts, starting with attitude.

“Don’t be angry about going in to look for a job,” says Trish Miller, owner of Spherion in Goleta. “That’s not going to get you anywhere.”

Miller tells NewsChannel 3 she’s seen it all after 30 years of interviewing job applicants.

Her advice: be positive and confident. And take that interview seriously — even it it’s just over the phone. That’s your first hurdle.

Once past the phone interview then it’s face to face.

Miller acknowledges those can be nerve-wracking and recommends practicing with someone you know well.

You’ve got just 30 seconds to make a good first impression.

“The way you look, talk, shake someone’s hand, the way you introduce yourself — all in the very beginning, you can blow it,” Miller says.

Your interview outfit is critical. For guys: no jeans, baggy pants, T-shirts, or casual clothing. Take the time to comb your hair. And don’t ever, under any circumstance, expose the waistband of your underwear.

Wear a professional looking suit, collared shirt and tie, along with nice shoes and combed hair. That will make a great first impression.

For the gals: cover up and button up, no cleavage. The less skin, the better. No tank tops, sweats, shorts, stilettos or flip flops, and lose the big earrings.

Just like the guys, wear a tailored suit, paired with a blouse and close-toed shoes.
Minimal makeup and jewelry are the best accents.

“You want to dress for success,” Miller said. “It’s an old adage but people still don’t do it.”

Miller also recommends people with plugs, piercings or tattoos remove or cover them up, until you know whether they’re OK with your potential employer.

“We have people come in with a friend, parent, husband, mom with kids,” Miller said.

She urges job applicants to arrive alone. “The only focus is you. It’s all about you and getting that job.”

A couple of other “don’ts” — don’t ever answer your cellphone during an interview — Miller said people actually do that. Don’t be late and don’t arrive empty handed without your resume.

In a nutshell, Miller urges teens looking for work to be prepared. Do your homework, know exactly what the company does and what you have to offer.

If you’re lucky, your next hurdle will be getting to that new job on time.

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