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Tips for teens seeking to land that summer gig

Friday, March 27, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

NEW YORK — Are you a teen hoping to find work?

Don't let the sheer number of applicants scare you. Tough economic times mean more competition for fewer opportunities, but you can still land an after-school or summer gig, career experts say.

Here are their tips for success:

  • Cast a wide net. Let people know that you are looking for a job and willing to take anything, said Shawn Boyer, CEO of SnagAJob.com.
  • Do your research. Know the company, the audience and how you can contribute to the organization before applying, said Gary J. Vien, vice president for human resources at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island.
  • Complete the entire application, Vien said. Double-check that you haven't left things blank. If you don't have work experience, put down extracurricular activities, Boyer said.
  • Have a resume. If you lack traditional experience, list school activities, volunteer work and meaningful class assignments, said Brad Karsh, president of JobBound.com.
  • Be professional. Make sure your e-mail address is appropriate, and your voicemail is professional, Boyer said.
  • Practice interviewing. Be sure to rehearse your answer to "Why should we hire you?" said Yahoo Hot Jobs senior editor Tom Musbach.
  • Be positive. Go into the interview with a great attitude, Karsh said. Teens can bring enthusiasm into a job that older people may not have, said Jean Chatzky, author of "The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even The Toughest Times."
  • Follow up with a thank-you note. "Social graces aren't employed very often anymore, and it is a great habit to get into," Vien said.
  • Be prepared to face rejection, Karsh said. "Don't get down in the dumps if you walk around the mall and visit six stores and none say they are hiring," he said.
  • If you don't find something, consider starting your own business, Chatzky said. For example, sell other people's things for them on eBay, she said. Or teach people to use LinkedIn and Facebook in their job search.
  • Don't stop looking. Someone may leave a job in June, and you can take it for the rest of the summer, Chatzky said.

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