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Sandy Journal

Five tips for those entering the workforce

May 06, 2024 09:43AM ● By Holly Curby

Local JR. Women in Business teens learn from local business with the South Valley Chamber of Commerce. (Photo courtesy South Valley Chamber)

When it comes to teenagers embarking on their professional journeys, the lessons they learn can set the foundation for a lifetime of success. On Holly’s Highlights podcast, a podcast designed to encourage, inspire and equip listeners to intentionally live their life full of purpose, Season 2 Episode 15 highlights five insights that can resonate with those entering the workforce of all ages. 

1. Respect an employer's time. This is often overlooked by job seekers. The time and money an employer invests in the recruitment and training process are significant, and therefore, potential employees should approach their job search with diligence and research before applying for a position. An article on recently reported a cost between $2,000-$20,000 to hire a new employee. Do you meet the qualifications? Are you available the hours needed? Read descriptions and posted information before applying, otherwise you could leave a bad impression and lose your chance of applying again in the future. Whether the interview be by phone or in-person, be prepared and arrive on time. If a conflict arises, notify the company immediately and perhaps some mercy will be shown to reschedule.

2. Realize that you are always interviewing for your next job. Your character, integrity, decisions made, how you live your life—including what you post on social media—they reflect to those who know you, those you have the privilege to serve, and even to your current employer. Do you take initiative or just get by on the bare minimum? Do you switch shifts, arrive late, and call in to work or are you dependable to show up when scheduled? Do you cause or talk drama? Do you approach tasks optimistically and speak of your company positively? Are you a good steward of your talent, the company’s time and their resources? Technical expertise can be taught, but your soft skills including your integrity, work ethic, and emotional intelligence can get you hired or even promoted.

3. Remember to have a growth mindset. Try to be approachable, teachable and humble each and every day. Show up with an open mind of “what can I learn today?” We are not going to know it all and you shouldn’t want to be the smartest person in the room. Regardless of age, title, experience or educational degree obtained there is always something for us to learn each and every day from everyone around us. In a recent Forbes article the author David Villa shares that often the biggest challenge to having a growth mindset is our confidence and the ability to acknowledge our imperfections. Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Having a growth mindset is crucial not only for teenagers but for individuals at any stage of their career.

4. Responsibly communicate. If you're able to have a job, then you're able to take ownership of job applications, interviews, employment duties, requests for time off, and even deal with tough situations. This responsibility fosters maturity and independence and is an essential component of professional development. Helicopter parents, it’s OK to take a step back. We can mentor our teens, advise them, correct them, listen to them and even cheer them on, but encourage them to take ownership and be the ones to responsibly communicate with their employer.

5. Resist burning bridges. There is an art of leaving a job gracefully. It’s so important to give proper notice and maintain professional relationships in hopes of preserving future opportunities. Especially for teens, a job may just be for a season of life, but in that season we have the opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally, and to build relationships that can provide networking in the future. When that season ends, finish strong, with integrity, and on a high note. Two weeks is a basic minimum, but as you progress in your career more notice is suitable for various levels of responsibility. Some wise words Olympian Usain Bolt shared about his performance could apply when leaving a job, “There are better starters than me, but I’m a strong finisher.” The goal is to not leave a company in a bind, but to leave the company a little better than you found it because you were there.

Whether looking to jumpstart your career or navigate the challenges of the working world, by fostering these skills early on, teenagers and adults alike can set themselves up for a fulfilling and prosperous professional life.

For more in-depth on this topic or for related episodes check out Holly’s Highlights podcast available wherever you listen to podcasts such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, as well as on λ