Peep These Pointers Before Applying to Your First Part-Time Job

Whether your parents tell you "school is your job" or they conversely take the stance of "no free lunch," one of these days you'll have to apply to your first part-time job.

Applying to these positions can be, well, difficult to maneuver at times. I mean, when the employer asks why you want the job of cleaning up after movie-going popcorn slobs, it's tough to muster up a winning response.

Scroll below for tips on how to snag your first part-time gig by perfecting the application process:

Be Deliberate About Your Job Search

It's important that you go out for jobs that have some sort of silver lining. Even if that just means that you work at a pizza shop because you really like pizza. Applying to something that you have zero interest in won't likely land you the position or ensure that you stick around long enough to make it count.

Mia coffee job La La Land

(La La Land via Black Label Media)

In addition, and it may seem like common sense, but look for a place that is currently hiring. Yes, you may have your dreams set on getting that employee discount at Urban Outfitters, but if they aren't currently hiring, you're wasting your time. As shy as you may be, walk in to the store, ask an employee if they're hiring and take an app home with you if the answer is "yes." We recommend bringing along a folder to store your apps while you're out on the hunt.


Provide Ample Work Ability

You'll probably come across a chart on your application form that asks your work availability. With the exception of school or practice hours, go ahead and give yourself as much availability as you can. This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be working every hour you aren't in school, but it will show your employer that you're dedicated to the part-time gig and you're looking for a steady set of hours. You can always pull back on your availability later.


Fluff up Your Extracurriculars

Don't stress when you see the sections allotted to prior work experience. Just because you've never been employed before doesn't mean you're an automatic pass in the eyes of a future employer. While you're forced to mark N/A on these lines, you'll have other opportunities to brag about your skills. But definitely do not make up past experience—that is a huge no-no that will come back to bite you.

In lieu of work experience, exaggerate your extracurricular skills and responsibilities. Whether this means you've been the head of a club, team captain or even spent time babysitting, you can use these titles to represent your work ethic and dedication.

Babysitting two little boys

(via Shutterstock)


Have a Solid Mode of Transport

The first thing a potential employer is going to notice when you apply for a job is your age. One elevator look and they may feel wary about your punctuality. Have a short and quick answer in regards to your transportation. If you appear flip-floppy as to how you'll even get to work, you may not have a place of work to visit.

In any event, do not highlight the fact that you may not have a car or a license. If you're asked explicitly if you have a mode of transportation to work, simply write "Yes." You're not lying just because this mode is either by foot or by dropoff.


Be Honest (Within Reason)

When asked questions that you think will lower your chances of getting the job, don't jump straight into a lie. For example, if the application asks if you currently have another job, you don't need to disclose your babysitting gig or your tutoring hours. They don't need to know every single thing you do to make some spending cash. They also don't need to know your exact GPA, if you don't feel like yours is all bright and shiny. The local froyo shop isn't about to call your school, so it wouldn't be completely poor form to round that 2.5 up to a 3.0 average.

Alternatively, if the app asks about your future intentions with the company, you want to be open. You should disclose if you're going off to college in the fall or if you are only interested in the position for a season. While these answers may impact your hireability, it'll keep the air clear with your boss when it's time for you to pack up. Remember, this may just be a part-time job but it still helps to have prior employment recommendations. If you leave this gig on bad terms, you lose your good rec.


Find an Authentic Connection to Your Life

Whether you encounter these questions in the application or you're bombarded by them in the interview, you're bound to be asked general questions regarding your character. Find ways to make your life connect to the position, even if the link is vague. For example, when asked why you want the position at a movie theater, reveal your interest in film and the joy that the theater brought you as a kid. Cheesy, sure, but employers would rather you be bonded to the job than disinterested. If the gig involves kids, mention your babysitting experience and say that you love the creativity and critical problem solving that children bring to the table.

Anything you can do to prove a deeper relationship to the job rather than a paycheck will definitely up your chances of landing the gig.

13 Reasons Why movie theater job

(13 Reasons Why via Netflix)


Type Rather Than Print

If you can find the application online or if you have access to a scanner, type your answers on the app rather than scrawling them in with pen. Your application will look much cleaner and you can use every small brownie point you can get—especially when this is your first job. It shows your employer that you've taken your time and that you're serious about the position. If you must print on the app, use black ink and write in your nicest possible penmanship.

Applying to job

(via Shutterstock)


Keep the App Clean

Along the same terms of typing your answers, you also want to keep this baby clean from front to back. We're talking no coffee stains, no rips or crinkles and no Wite-Out or eraser marks. If you mess up, start again, rather than turning in a messy app. Again, this may seem obvious but you'd be surprised how many people treat their apps like last week's math homework.


Have you already applied to your first job? If you've held a position at a movie theater, you'll relate to all of THESE buttery truths.