Making a Good Impression: Work Tips for Teens

Ayoung man learning how to fix a car engine.

Hoping to get a job this summer? Do you know what employers are looking for in an employee? You may be surprised to learn they aren’t always looking for someone who already knows the job! Most employers are looking to hire friendly people who have good work ethic and “people skills” – sometimes called “soft skills”. They want to hire polite, optimistic, and cooperative employees. Here are some things you can do to make a positive impression on your future boss.

Look and Act the Part

Working is different than going to school. You are being paid to do a job and in return your boss will have expectations. How you look and act while on the job is very important. Here are some suggestions:

  • You and your clothes should be neat and clean.
  • Dress modestly and avoid offensive phrases and logos on your clothing.
  • Be mindful of your body language, the tone of your voice, and even the words you use.
  • Arrive on time and be ready to work.
  • Never leave early without permission.
  • Stick at a task until it is done.
  • Mute, or turn off, your cell phone and other devices.
  • Don’t talk with co-workers when a customer appears.
  • Don’t have conversations with friends when you are working.

Check Your Attitude

Working is different than being with your friends and family.  When you are working you will be representing your employer. Here are some hints on what your boss will be looking for:

  • Be honest and respectful.
  • Smile and be positive.
  • Be considerate and polite.
  • Listen carefully and pay attention.

Join the Team

Working is different than being in class. Your boss will expect that you will get along with your co-workers and customers; and that you will identify yourself as being part of their team. Here are some ways you can be a team player:

  • Work with others and share responsibilities.
  • Help others and ask for help when you need it.

Try, Try Again

Working is like school. Your employer will not expect you to know everything or to be perfect. Making mistakes is okay, but learn from them. Here are other things to remember:

  • Do your best.
  • Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what you are being asked to do.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes. Remain positive.­­
  • Take responsibility for errors and apologize.
  • Accept direction and criticism without feeling defeated, resentful, or insulted.

Now, go and fill out those applications, go to those interviews, and get that job! Remember to put your best foot forward by showing off that you have the “people skills” your employer is looking for.

Want to know more or want improve your skills? Ask your Promise Counselor about Soft Skills Training in your area…