Whether you’re 16 and looking for a summer job or 19 and looking for full-time work, it’s important to do well at job interviews. You may be nervous if it’s your first interview but knowing what to expect and how to dress for interviews can help you be more confident. Here are some good job interview tips for teens.

Applying for a Job

Teen Working on laptop

The days of going to a business and filling out a paper application are gone. Most companies have their application process online, so if you’re trying to get a job at a large company, even if it is McDonald’s, go online to find and fill out applications.

Most retailers will have the application website information on display for potential applicants. When you fill out the application and other documents, try to answer all the questions on it. If you don’t have work experience, use any volunteer experience you might have or, if you mow lawns in the summer, include it on your application.

Impress Companies with a Resume

documents and laptop

Many employers will not expect a teenager to send in a cover letter and resume when they’re applying for a job. An excellent way to get their attention is to write one and submit it to them for the position for which you’re applying. Even if it is the first one you’ve ever had, you can put together a decent resume.

Resume Sections

A resume has five main sections that contain information that employers will want to see on it. These sections include:

  • Contact Information
  • Summary
  • Education Information
  • Work Experience
  • Skills Section

Contact Information

This section has your full name and the best way to contact you. While you can put your address and phone number, many experts now suggest leaving street addresses off resumes. Instead, include the city and state where you live and social media account icons that link directly to your social media accounts.

Also, include your email address, but use one with an appropriate name. If your email address is FlyGuy10@yahoo.com, open another free email account and think of something more appropriate. For instance, use your first name or initials and your last name for this account, and only use it for business purposes.


On many resume examples, you’ll find an objective section that tells potential employers what type of job or career for which you’re looking. However, experts now recommend getting rid of it and putting a summary about your work experience in its place.

If you don’t have professional work experience, include anything that shows you know how to work. Put down volunteer work experiences, mowing lawns, or selling cookies at a school bake sale. These may seem silly, but it can show you have the ambition and know-how to work hard.

Education Information

Resumes of people who’ve held jobs will have a work experience section first, then an education section. However, since you’re looking for your first job or haven’t graduated from college yet, place your education first.

Include where you’re going to school, what year you’re in, and, if you’re in college, include your major. You should also add any extracurricular activities that you have outside of religious or political activities. Include any sports teams you’re on, the debate squad, or organizations with which you volunteer.

Skills Section

Place any relevant skills you have in this section. Do you know how to use MSWord, Excel, or JavaScript? Include that in this section, along with graphic design skills or anything else you know how to do that could benefit your job.

When writing a resume, use keywords that relate to the job. So, if you’re seeking a position as a retail cashier, use customer service as a keyword. Also, use positive language, especially regarding your experience or skills. Your resume and cover letter should reflect some of your personality.

Format the resume with a legible font, preferably Arial, Verdana, Calibri or Times Roman, to make it easy to read. Use black ink and put it on nice paper, so that it looks neat and as if you put some thought into writing it.

Getting Ready for Interviews

Two men are talking

When you get a call about interviewing for a position, you may be nervous, but you can settle those nerves by preparing yourself for interviews. These job interview tips for teens can help you know what to expect.

Types of Interview Questions

Different hiring managers will use different types of questions during an interview, so you never know exactly what to expect. However, if you know what kinds of questions there are and prepare some answers, you can be ready for almost anything.

Open-Ended Questions

An open-ended question is one that calls for you to elaborate or explain things to someone. If someone asks questions that only require a yes or no answers, those are closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow for thoughtful responses and your personality to show.

Describe Activities and Relate them to Job

These questions could be about anything, why you are looking for a job with their company, what would you do in certain situations, or they may ask about your strengths and weaknesses. A common open-ended question to build a rapport is “Tell me about yourself.”

If you get this request, you might mention a hobby or extracurricular activity that you have at school. Then, you can transition into how your skills will fit the job that you’re seeking. For instance, if you’re looking for a summer job as a lifeguard and you go boating with your family, you can use that information to talk about any water safety training you’ve completed.

Some managers may ask questions about what you would do given a certain situation. For instance, a manager could ask you what you would do if you saw someone stealing cash out of a register? These types of questions can be unnerving, but you should be honest with your answers. Don’t be overdramatic, be calm and say what you would do and why.

Mention Your Skills or Interests

A manager may also ask, “Why should I hire you?” This question can stump many people, but you should speak about what skills you can bring to the job and your work ethic. If you’re going to be working the counter at a fast food restaurant, mention that you’re a people person and can talk to almost anyone.

If you’re looking for a job at a retail store that sells clothing, explain your interest in fashion and wanting to help people look their best. Be honest and positive with all your answers. Also, let your personality shine through when giving answers.

Use Descriptive Adjectives

“How would you describe yourself,” is another question you may hear at an interview. Again, be honest, but also brag a little about yourself. To prepare for this question, list some adjectives that describe you. Consider asking your family and friends for help to get their opinion.

Some of the adjectives that you may use to answer this question include:

  • Organized
  • Tech Savvy
  • Calm
  • Confident
  • Dependable
  • Motivated

Do a Mock Interview

Many online career sites give examples of interview questions and appropriate answers that you can study before going to an interview. Knowing what to expect and preparing for it can provide you with confidence when you’re sitting before a manager and getting ready for their questions.

Practicing an interview could help your confidence as well. Write down some of the questions you find and give them to one of your parents or an older sibling to ask you in a mock interview. They can help tweak your answers if necessary, but the practice will help you build confidence and create coherent answers.

How to Dress for Interviews

Man and Woman having interview

It’s essential to create a good first impression when you’re going to interview for a job. The way to create it is to look clean, neat and well-groomed. A good rule to follow is to dress a little nicer for the job then you would every day.

If you’re going to wear a uniform every day, wear a nice pair of slacks, a skirt and closed toe shoes for the interview. Give them the impression that you want to go into management someday, even if you don’t plan to keep the job after you graduate.

Style Hair Neatly

People On A Business Attire

Whether you’re a man or woman, if you have long hair, consider tying it back for interviews, especially if you’re trying to get a job in a retail environment. Men should also trim their facial hair to make it look neat and well kept.

If you wear cologne or perfume, apply it lightly because it can trigger allergies in some people. Also, make sure to be on time or a little early for an interview. Don’t give them the impression that you could be late for work.

It usually isn’t too hard to get your first job as a teenager but using these job interview tips for teens can help you get a job in which you have an interest. Completely fill out the applications, submit a resume, and go over questions to help build your confidence for your interviews.