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If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’ll be right.

Henry Ford

Get and Keep your Dream Job

man and woman shaking hands at an interview

When you are ready to get a job, employers are interested in whether you have a number of different skills.   Most employers are looking for someone who can be professional, show up to work on time, communicate well, work well with a team and show good problem solving skills.  Youth who have these skills are more likely to be hired and less likely to be fired, giving you a strong advantage in the world of employment.

Here are a few skills that you can use when preparing for job searches, interviews, and even after you get the job:

Networking

Your family members, friends and people in your community can be of very helpful to you when you begin your job search.  Tell them about your interests, career goals and what type of work you want to do.  They may already know of a perfect job that is out there waiting for you!

Be Enthusiastic

More than likely, there will be a lot of people applying for the same job as you, but you will get noticed by an employer if you show excitement about the job.  Before you go to your interview, look up information about the company on the internet so that you can ask questions during your interview.  Ask if it is okay to take notes during your interview; this will show the interviewer that you are interested in the position and willing to take extra steps to learn more about the job.

Be Professional 

In addition to having a great resume, it is important to do some research on the position you are applying for.  Having this extra information available during the interview will show the employer that you are serious about wanting the job. At your interview and after you have been hired, it is important to dress appropriately, arrive on time, stay busy with work throughout your shift. Only use your cell phone during breaks, only use computers for work-related things, speak in a respectful manner to your co-workers and supervisors, and always maintain good hygiene!

Proper Communication 

The important thing to remember about communication in the workplace is to know how and when to share your opinions, ideas and concerns.   For example, if you need to tell your supervisor about something that is not going well, it is important to remember that timing and attitude are extremely important – set up a time to talk to them one-on-one, when you’re not in the heat of the moment.  You can also talk to your supervisor or a co-worker at any time to see if there is anything you can do to perform your job better.  Lastly, it is always important to be a good listener and pay attention to other people’s thoughts and ideas before sharing yours.  A lot of problems in the workplace start with poor communication, so being an expert communicator will help you be a success!

Teamwork 

When you are on your job, there may be times when you will be asked to work together on a project with your co-workers.  When doing this, it is important to understand when to be a leader and when to let others take charge.  This is a valuable skill to have on the job and is something that you will learn over time.    Working as a team with your co-workers can help you become better friends, making work a happier and friendlier environment.  However, it is important that all of the work is shared equally and everyone is treated fairly.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

As you spend more time on your job you will start to learn how things are done and you can come up with ideas on how to make things work a little better for you and your fellow employees.   Do not be afraid to share these ideas with your employers because they usually love to hear fresh ideas.  It is also important to remember that if you are ever asked to solve a problem on the job, take time to think it through (use your critical thinking skills!) and come up with a well thought-out solution.

**Information compiled from United States Department of Labor -- ODEP website: www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/


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