WorkSource receives a lot of calls from teenagers seeking employment. Many of them are seeking part time work to supplement their high school schedule; some are looking for after school and weekend jobs to earn spending money.
Since WorkSource is the first screening source for these young people, we thought we’d pass along advice for avoiding the mistakes teens make when calling potential employers. If you’re a young person seeking to stand out from the crowd and hoping to get an interview, here’s what not to do:
1. Don’t make looking for work someone else’s idea. The literal truth may be that you do need to get a job to meet requirements for your school program, or because your mom told you to get out there and earn your own money. But positioning yourself that way on the phone can really hurt your chances of getting an interview. Instead of, “My mom says I have to find a job,” simply saying, “I’m looking for part-time work” immediately makes you sound more motivated. Employers are looking for young people that want to work, and dread the thought of hiring someone who’s just going through the motions.
2. Don’t mumble on the phone. Most young people lack confidence in selling themselves, and the phone tends to make everyone sound worse. Especially when leaving voicemails, work at making your diction clear, and speak at a rate that allows the listener to understand what you want and copy down your number correctly. Do your best to project confidence and energy. Recruiters often make judgments about your intelligence and energy level over the phone, and the phone is an important part of their screening process. If your message is incoherent, or you sound like you just woke up from six months of hibernation, you’ll never get a call back for an interview.
3. Don’t drop the ball – follow up. One of the most common complaints about young jobseekers is that they just don’t follow through on their commitments. One Jacksonville recruiter claims that she has an 80% interview no-show rate for jobseekers under 20 years old. It’s critical that you follow through with appointments, and call back when you say you will. If you take another job, call to cancel your other interviews, and thank the recruiters for the opportunity. You never know when you’ll need to look for work again, and burning bridges can hurt your chances of getting interviews in the future. Common courtesy goes along way in making you look professional and ready to work.
So if you’re having trouble getting interviews, check to see if you’re making any of these common mistakes.