Grade: Middle
Subject: other

#4224. Helping Teens Get and Keep Jobs

other, level: Middle
Posted Wed Sep 17 10:12:32 PDT 2008 by Jennie Withers (Jennie Withers).

Boise Schools, Boise, USA
Materials Required: text or some research materials
Activity Time: 5 50 minute class periods
Concepts Taught: getting into the work force

Helping Teens Find, Get and Keep a Job

Resources (not necessary, but makes it a lot easier-cuts out research) Hey, Get a Job! available at

50 minute class periods

Day 1
Objective: Students will know the labor laws for teens, where to look for job openings and how to pick up job applications (section 1, Hey, Get a Job!)
Materials -- Copy of the youth labor laws, if not using the text- can get on from your local job service. A collection of applications from businesses that hire teens.
• Handout labor laws -- questions for them to answer (I put these on the overhead)
o How much can you work per day during the summer according to labor laws?
o Name three jobs that you could legally do that you are interested in.
o You cannot work in a mine, but could you work in a mining company's office doing clerical work?
o Can driving be a major part of the job for 16 or 17 year old worker?
o What department do you need to call if you have questions about the legality of jobs for minors?
• Discuss answers to questions
• As a class, create a list of ways to find out about openings. Include the local job service if nobody brings it up, discuss things like newspaper and internet being more for adults. My students usually do not know the job service can help them and they think they have to work in fast food or at grocery stores.
• Last, talk about picking up applications -- need to be prepared for a computer application (master application with them), GO ALONE!
• Pass around the application you collected so they can see what they ask. Try to include a couple that have questionnaires with them.

Day 2
Objective: Student will know how to fill out a job application (Section 2 of Hey, Get a Job takes you through an application)
Materials -- a blank application, one that is filled out properly on an overhead or computer with projector.
• Go through with the students the parts of an application. Keys:
o Blue or black ink only
o The difference between none and N/A
o How to answer questions about military experience, health, questions that will set them apart like extracurricular activities, electives, positions of leadership
o What constitutes employment history
o References have to be adults, have to be able to speak about their work ethic, they must be asked, and it needs to be known what they will say and they need name, address, phone number, occupation and the number of years known
Application complete with valid references is due the next day.

Day 3
Objective: Students will be prepared for a job interview. (Section 3 of Hey, Get a Job!) has example questions and interview tips.
Materials: sample interview questions
o Done this two ways depending on the maturity of the class. I split them into employer and prospective employee and had them interview one another then we come together as a group and discuss. Or I choose students and ask them interview questions and we discuss the answers as a class. I have also given them interview questions and had them write their answers for a grade. The point is, they know what are possible questions and the kind of answers expected.
All interview questions are really the same question:
Why Should We Hire You?
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is an open-ended question often asked to help "break the ice" in the interview.
The important thing to remember is to keep the answer job related.
2. Why are you interested in working for this company?
This will show the employer that you have done your "homework." State the positive things you have learned about the company and how they fit with your career goals. This shows the employer that you cared enough about the interview to prepare for it.
3. What is your major weakness?
Always turn this into a positive! State a weakness and turn it into a positive by showing how you overcame that weakness. "In the past, it has been difficult for me to accept criticism from my peers. However, I have learned to value and solicit this input and it has improved my job performance. OR Discuss a weakness that really isn't a weakness at all. "I tend to over-plan when it comes to large projects."
4. Give an example of how you have solved a problem in the past.
It is important to show the process you go through when presented with a problem. State the problem and the steps you followed to reach the solution.
5. What are your strengths?
This is the time to describe the skills you have identified that will most effectively "market" you as an employee.
6. How do others describe you?
Another way for the employer to ask this would be, "Tell me how you would fit into this work group?" If you are not comfortable with this question before the interview, call some friends and/or ask people you have worked with how they would describe you.
7. How do you think you will fit into this operation?
This is the time to express in the job and knowledge of the company. The more you know about the operation the easier this question will be to answer.
8. If you were hired, what ideas/talents could you contribute to the position or our company?
Another great opportunity for you to sell your skills. By giving examples of past accomplishments, the employer can visualize your contribution to his/her company.
9. Give an example where you showed leadership and initiative.
Even if you haven't had the title of lead worker, supervisor, or manager, give examples of when you recognize a job needed to be done and you did it.
10.Give an example of when you were able to contribute to a team project.
Unless you have lived in a total void you have been part of a team. Teamwork is used in families, community activities, and schools all require teamwork.
11. Do you have any questions for me?
By asking questions, you again show interest in the job.

Day 3
Objective: Students will know what is expected of them on the job.
Materials: PowerPoint presentation -- comes with Hey, Get a Job! or I can send you a copy, just e-mail me at or there is a publication available through the job service ( titled, "Job Hunting for Young People" that provides the information along with examples.

Presentation includes --
• Technical Skills needed -- math, science, technology, problem solving, critical thinking and logic
• Communication Skills -- reading, writing, interpersonal
• Personal Traits/Attitudes -- hard working, dependability, responsible, honesty and integrity, flexibility and willingness, respect -- including the definition and examples of harassment, positive attitude, lifelong learner, focus

I make students take notes as we go through the PowerPoint.

Day 4
Objective: Students will know what skills and attitudes employers want.
Materials: The local newspaper's want ads.

• Find 30 words or phrases in the want ads that describe the job skills employers are looking for.
• Find 30 adjectives describing the type of people employers are looking for.

Day 5
Assessment: I have never written a final test for this unit. I've found that this is important information (like driver's ed.) for the students, so they learn it. On the last day, I do an exit card. The students write three things they learned on one side, and one question they still have on the other. I take the last day to hand back applications with corrections, discuss common mistakes they made and answer their questions.

I also briefly discuss this information (Hey, Get a Job! sections 4 and 6):
From a hiring packet I picked up at Radio Shack, I show them the following materials:
• W-4 forms
Your social security number has to be on the W-4. You need to have it, or you can't be hired.
• Emergency Contact Sheet
• Employment Eligibility Form
• Company Policies
• Training Materials
• Rules to be followed, including dress code
• Harassment Policy

In the Long Run
Most employers are admirable when working with teens. These are the bosses who aim to make working a positive, maybe even fun experience for a teen. These are also the employers who schedule and pay their teen-aged employees fairly.
• How you can avoid bad employers:
o Ask questions about scheduling and requirements for promotion during your interview. Ask specifically about school nights, weekends and holidays. Find out specifics about how the employer works around a full time student's schedule.
o Ask somebody in the know. If you know anyone who works, or has worked, for the business, ask them about work conditions and how the boss treated them. Places that have a high turn over rate may have it for a reason.
o Know the labor laws for minors. Employers who will take advantage of teens are notorious for breaking these laws.
Most employers will work hard to keep their employees happy because they know happy employees work harder, and they stay.

Don't take advantage of yourself
The point is, don't get wrapped up in the money. You're young and you need to have time for fun. There is plenty of time in your future to be tied down by work.
How to deal with your money smartly
• Open a savings account
• Don't spend money you don't have
• Take time for you
• Think in terms of experiences instead of things