Teens trying to put some money in their pockets for the holidays need to start their job searches now.
Retailers are already hiring extra workers for the holidays. The shopping rush offers teens a good chance to earn extra money, and it's good timing because students are out of school during part of the season. It's also a good deal for stores who need temporary help during a time when many permanent employees take time off.
"A lot of retailers like to go out and recruit holiday applicants early so they can get people trained before the season starts," said Tim Sors, who's in charge of team relations at Target in the Augusta Exchange shopping center. "We've already started hiring, but we do still have positions open, mainly focusing on overnight stocking and on cashiering on afternoons, evenings and weekends."
Target's work force will swell to about 200 for the holidays, one-third of them seasonal workers, Mr. Sors said. Many of those positions will be filled by teens. Target tries to be flexible in scheduling teens so that work doesn't interfere with school.
There's more to applying for a job than just showing up and asking for an application.
For starters, teens need to appear professional not only when they interview, but when they pick up an application.
"I don't want anybody to come in saying, 'Yo, ya' hiring?"' said Alexander Oliver, a manager at KB Toy and Hobby Shop in Augusta Mall. "I want you to come in and introduce yourself, let me know something about you, how old you are, what school you go to, then let me know what you're interested in if we're hiring anyone."
Another big mistake teens make when they apply for a job is not dressing conservatively enough, Mr. Oliver said.
"Don't come in with jeans or shorts, with gold in your mouth, jewelry hanging out," he said. "I don't need to see all that. I know about it, but you're not going to be wearing it while you're working."
You also need to appear confident and friendly at the interview because many of the jobs that are open, such as those for cashiers and sales clerks, involve contact with customers. Manners and patience are important in dealing with harried shoppers, employers said.
Mr. Oliver, one of four managers at the toy store, said that co-workers tell him he's a pain when it comes to hiring because he's so tough about what kind of impression prospective employees make. That's why he does most of the hiring. The store will hire about eight people for the holiday season. Prior experience isn't necessary, just enthusiasm to work, Mr. Oliver said.
Being able to list a holiday job when you apply for later jobs is a plus, he added.
"We can give you experience. And people will look at that and say, 'You lasted through that rush? That's pretty good."'
Dress neatly and appropriately. Employers don't care how cool or trendy your outfit is: They want to be sure you can look neat and professional. Wear nice slacks or a skirt - not too short - and a collared shirt.
The hiring process starts when you pick up an application. The person giving you the application might be the one who ultimately interviews you, so make a good impression.
Be prompt. If you're late for a job interview, you look irresponsible.
Be pleasant, cheerful and polite. Many holiday jobs involve interaction with customers, so you don't want to appear too shy.
Meet the eyes of the interviewer and speak clearly so you appear confident. Practice an interview with a friend or family member so you don't stumble and mumble through it.
Don't pretend to have more experience or know more than you do.
Take a pen or pencil with you to fill out forms. It will make you look prepared.
Reach Alisa DeMao at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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