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What does a first job represent?

I'm a high school senior looking for a part time position as my first job. Should a first job like this be focused on whatever is available, or should it connect to the career I want to pursue in the future. For context, I want to work as a macro social worker in the future, but there are few part time jobs open to someone with my limited resume that connect to that. What should I look for? #career #job-search #social-work #retail #social-services

Thank you comment icon I got my first job! I will be working retail in a children's clothing store. Hopefully my interactions with children and their parents will give me good experience for later down the road. Thank you all for the advice! Deana

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ken’s Answer

Hi Deana!


It would be best to get something more in line with your career area of interest. Personally contact organizations in your area that are doing what you want to do as a career and explain that you are interested in getting experience and exposure in that area. Also, contact the local chapter of National Association of Social Workers and attend a meeting and talk to the officers of the group relating to your interest in working in that career area to get experience and exposure. They will be very willing to help you and may very well know of beneficial opportunities. If this does not work out, then working in retail might work, but you would not have the opportunity to engage with that population in the manner that encompasses your career goals. If you are interacting with the kids to that extent, someone might complain that you are not doing your job and are doing too much talking and visiting. Here is the site for NASW:
https://www.socialworkers.org/


Best of luck!


You never know what you will find unless your reach out and ask. Many others have been in your shoes at one time or another and are very interested in returning the favor. Give them an opportunity.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. I don't think I have the time to make a proper commitment to an organization like that, but I will definitely pursue your suggestions as my schedule clears up! Deana
Thank you comment icon At every opportunity share with other people your aspirations and your vision and ask them what they might recommend or who they might recommend that you talk to. Many people that I have worked have gotten ideas and suggestions from the most unlikely sources just because they asked and shared their vision. Whenever any one says "what are you doing these days" say I am looking for the opportunity to learn ( ) or do ( ) because I know that I can help people. Who do you know that does that or who do you know that can help me to learn more about that? Surprising answers will come from surprising places. Ken Simmons
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Kim’s Answer

DeanaS.


I'm going to go in a different direction on this. A "first" job is just that: a job. The purpose of a first job is to teach you about the world of work, in general. Punctuality, teamwork, and all that good stuff. Believe me, it is not easy working with certain people. You learn to get along and work with even those who you do not like. It usually also is your first exposure to "customer service" skills. This is a "transferrable" skill, and you can use it to show your ability to work with customers on all different levels. Social work, just like good customer service, is all about the art of listening and actually hearing what is being said, and responding accordingly.


And, if you need or want money at the moment, the job also provides that.


Yes, it is great to explore your career, but you can do that with internships, shadowing, etc. Just get some work-world experience, and start working on that resume!


ALL of my jobs before my first "REAL" job were in retail sales. The first professional job was as a cop. After doing that for 25 years, I now work in a state workforce office, helping people find themselves and find jobs.


Please don't overthink this decision!


Kim

Thank you comment icon Thank you for replying to me. It's comforting to know that any job I get will provide me with transferable skills. I'll keep that in mind as I look for a job in the next few weeks. Deana
Thank you comment icon Your welcome! Transferrable skills is an interesting topic. If YOU believe a skill from one job applies to another, and can show the potential employer how it applies, it will work! I once helped a person use skills from fast food to apply to a doggie daycare position. The link? Fast food is concerned with food poisoning, Doggie daycare is concerned with infectious disease control. Both basically the same thing: following proper cleaning procedures. Creative writing at its best! Good luck to you! Kim Igleheart
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Axay’s Answer

Job should not be like job, this should be activity which you love to do anyway but now you have opportunity to do it and getting paid. Look for those kind of opportunity, I know it will be little hard but that will give you solid foundation for your whole life ahead of you.... just have to explore little more, try to connect people in the field, do more research, I'm sure you will find one..... Good Luck!

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, I'll keep that in mind! Deana
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Angela’s Answer

Hi Deana:


Why do you want to to look for part-time job? If you need to work for financial reasons then you should focus on what jobs are available that you qualify for and in areas where you have an interest. I agree with an earlier response that as a first job, any experience you gain will be valuable and a good stepping stone into your next job and so on. However, I caution against looking for a job in an area you know you will not enjoy it just to get a paycheck, that won't last long. If you don't work to work around food, don't get a job in a cafe or fast food restaurant even though those positions may be readily available.


If you don't need to work for financial reasons, then you can focus on finding work in areas where you have a career interest. You may find that you don't have enough skills yet to get paid, in which case you can simply volunteer and gain valuable experience that way.


Hope this helps,


angela

Thank you comment icon Your answer is great Angela, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work! Jordan Rivera, Admin COACH
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Carol’s Answer

Because your best career will be built off of something you're interested and passionate about, I would recommend you choose the industry or company you're most interested in...not just what's available. Identify a company you find interesting and then search out connections at that company through your network, family, and friends. Ask for informational interviews - eve if there's not a job posted. That way they will know you're looking specifically for a spot with them and not just a job.
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