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There's still time to get a job

July 10, 2007|By SHOVAL RESNICK

School is out and summer can be boring. There are many things that teens might want to do, but many opt for a summer job. This can keep them busy and also provides money for activities with friends.

But how to begin the search?

Teens must understand that though they want money and a store might be hiring, this is no guarantee that the store will want them.

"I hire to my needs," says Jennifer McCullough, store manager of Stride Rite in Prime Outlets, south of Hagerstown. Many employers would like to give kids a chance, but if an employee can't work with the business schedule or can't provide the kind of labor they require, there is no reason to hire him or her. Employers are hiring for a purpose, after all.

There are many factors that go into getting a job. Many hiring managers say personality is one of the most important. Roger Whisner, store manager of Bombay at the Prime Outlets, says the first things he looks for are applicants who are outgoing and motivated.

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"Not being motivated is one of my biggest pet peeves," Whisner says. Without motivation, employees do little work, and employees who are not very outgoing might not give good customer service. These two characteristics are critical for a store's success, Whisner says.

There are always problems with a job search. Some teens have no experience and hope this summer they'll get their first job. Others have ongoing activities with clubs or sports that take some time out of their days. Stores expecting to hire teens are aware of their summer schedules and are usually willing to work with teens. All that is required is for teens to be upfront about obligations.

If you have no experience, many employers will give teens a chance so long as they show employers that the job is not the last priority. Whisner says the job can be second to school or other activities, but it can not be last.

Most employers will interview teens before hiring them. Elliot Richards, store manager of Van Heusen at Prime Outlets, says that's a time for teens to show their best qualities.

"Make your interview count, and don't give one-word answers," Richards says. Richards also recommends making eye contact with the employer and showing confidence "even if you have to fake it."

Sometimes, when dropping off an application, employers will ask for an interview on the spot. So dress nicely, meaning no jeans or T-shirt. McCullough recommends not applying for a job where friends work, because employers realize that could make employees less productive.

Most importantly, once you get a job, be a good employee. Show up on time. Talk to the customers. Dress appropriately. Don't talk on your cell phone. And be prepared to work.

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