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When should I start trying to find a job?

I am a 16 year old junior. I finally realized that to have money for college, I need to work a job. The only problem is, I have gotten rejected on all my online applications. So I decided to finish high school and wait until I start college to work.

When should I start? Do I apply ahead of time and get work while still in high school or do I wait until I'm in college to make money?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Karen’s Answer

Hello Z,

The majority of employers prioritize job experience, so it's beneficial to start gaining experience as soon as possible. Aim for roles that will help you develop skills in areas like customer service and sales. My own daughters faced challenges securing summer jobs during their college years, primarily due to their lack of professional experience to discuss during interviews. Employers often ask questions to understand your interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities. Having work experience will equip you with practical examples to provide during these discussions.

Wishing you the best of luck in your job search!

Karen
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Laurie’s Answer

Hi, Z. I am impressed with your desire to start working to save money for college. As Amalya replied above, you may have been rejected with online applications due to not having experience. While applying online is a great technique, have you looked into other ways to apply for jobs?
Local businesses are likely to be looking for help. Try going to local shops, bakeries, restaurants. They are often happy to hire young people who are just getting started. Check your local city's website, as sometimes the Parks and Recreation department has jobs that are a great fit for high schoolers. Check with your school counseling department. They can be a great resource to help connect students to jobs. Local fast food restaurants are a great place to get your first work experience. There are a ton of great options for high school students to find jobs. Best to you as you look for a job to help you save for college!
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Amalya’s Answer

Based on your thoughts and planning skills, I am sure you will get a good job in the future. But no worries. You still don't have work experience, and that is the reason of your being rejected in job applications.
Try to find fully or partially funded scholarships to fund your college studies. It will help you focus on your education since it is also very important, especially in your age. Then you will gradually build your CV and as a result, get a job you want.
Good luck and all the best.
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Amber’s Answer

I would inquire with your college about work study programs they have to offer. These are job that are specific for students like you. In my experience the work study job I got allowed me to get office experience with highly flexible hours to accommodate classes and make some money.
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Dan’s Answer

Now! The sooner the better. When you're younger, the real value in the work is not the money you make but the work ethic/responsibility that you're building along the way.

As a hiring manager, I LOVE seeing any and all kinds of jobs including paper routes, pulling weeds, delivering pizzas, working as a barista... you name it! Jobs, even small scrappy ones, show you're willing to be proactive and work hard. Unless you know exactly what you want to do, don't get hung up on finding the right job. Some of my best learning experiences were not directly relevant for my job now but helped developed skills that I still use today.

And would recommend having at least one customer service job (working in a restaurant, store, etc) so you'll gain a healthy appreciation for the hard work of all the service professionals that serve us each day.

Strong work ethics are becoming harder to find and will really position you above others later in life.
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Tiiso’s Answer

You're on the right track with your forward-thinking attitude. I admire your initiative to take control of your future. My advice would be to acquire a digital skill, like coding, digital marketing, or graphic design. These skills can pave the way for you to become a freelancer, allowing you to generate income from client projects. This path does not discriminate based on age, and you won't have to face rejection from companies. Your work portfolio will be your voice, and who can tell? You could be on your way to becoming an entrepreneur while still in your freshman year of college. Keep going, the future is bright!
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