Parents of teens: Here’s how to help your child ‘win’ their first job.

If you want your child to get used to the world of work it’s best to prepare early, according to people management specialist, Karen Gately.

The mother of three says parents play an integral role in readying their child for success. She says it’s important parents help their children pursue their passions and understand their own strengths.

The HR expert told Mamamia the four key ways parents can help their children win their first job and build happy and prosperous careers.

Understand strengths and experience.

“Ask your child to list the things they are good at.  Guide them to reflect on their intelligence (e.g. ability to learn, understand new things), relationships skills, organisational skills and personal characteristics.  Focus on the things they are good at and what types of jobs they are likely to enjoy.  Most kids are unlikely to have any real experience to bring to the roles they are applying for.

“What matters is their ability to point to what they have learned through school and extra curricular activities, that demonstrate their ability to succeed in the job the employer needs done. Examples may include sport, drama, music or any other area of interest your child is invested in,” said Gately.

Do they like making you coffee? Image via iStock.

Find the right opportunities.

"Help your child to find job opportunities by thinking broadly about the people you or those in your network know.  While some jobs can be found online, friends, colleagues and family can be a valuable source of opportunities," Gately said.

"Reflect on the people in your community that they or you have developed such as retail or small business owners. Guide your child to make smart decisions about the people they choose to work for.  Far too often young people are taken advantage of.  Cash in hand jobs well below award wages is an alarmingly common practice that impacts a lot of kids starting out in their working lives," Gately added.

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Nail the application process.

"Encourage your child to take every opportunity to showcase the behaviours the employer can expect from them.  Most employers are looking for young people who are reliable, hardworking, trustworthy and able to communicate well.  Just as important are initiative, confidence and a degree of ambition to be good at the job," Gately said.

"Success begins with the basics.  Turn up on time for every interview.  Conduct themselves courteously, be well groomed and appropriately dressed.  Submit well written application letters and CVs, there are plenty of templates available online."

Listen: How to get the job. Post continues...

Be the best candidate.

"Going for a first interview is a daunting experience for most young people.  Build your child’s confidence by helping them to understand why they would be a good person to hire.  Give them insight to what to expect by practicing talking to employers and going for interviews," says the people management expert.

"Spend time reflecting on the questions they might be asked and how they can respond.  Encourage your child to focus on being themselves and having confidence in their ability to speak clearly and let the employer know who they are and what they can do. If you have more than one child, they are likely to be different and will suit better jobs and working in environments.  They are also likely to need different types of support and approaches."

Karen Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately

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