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Tips for Youth - Presenting the Best You

October 9, 2019

​Getting Started

Starting the job search process can be exciting and rewarding. You may think that it will be harder for you because you may have less job experience, but you may be surprised. School activities, clubs, sports, and more will help you succeed. The first step is to be sure that you are presenting the best "you" to potential employers and networking contacts. This will help you start on the right foot and make great lasting impressions.

Your resume is the first place to get started. It helps you market yourself and communicate the value you can add to an organization, workplace, or school. Once you have a fresh new resume, you can use social media and networking to get yourself out there. Make sure you have a professional online presence that employers can view to learn more about you. Then network like it's your job! Get out there with your elevator speech and talk to people you already know, and get involved in new things in your community to build even more relationships.

These three areas together prepare you for the next step, applying for jobs.

Start a Resume

resume is used when applying for jobs, internships, apprenticeships, and more.

The first step in creating a great resume is to find the format that fits you.

  • Chronological (Overview) - Outlines educational and work experience in a timeline.
  • Combination (Overview) - Combines some of the features of functional and chronological resumes. It highlights skills and experiences as well as a brief job history.
  • Functional (Overview) - Highlights skills and accomplishments. This is best for individuals with little work experience or those with gaps in employment.

Next, add skills and experience.

  • Use action verbs and keywords to add attention getting content to your resume.
  • Use school clubs, activities, etc. and pull skills you learned while participating in these.
  • Don't forget when adding work experience and skills you can include your volunteering or community service. These can provide you with work experience if you have none and you learn valuable workplace and soft skills during these activities. Make sure to inlcude them to help your resume stand out.

Tools and Tips

  • Have your resume proofed and reviewed by multiple people. Family members and teachers are good options.
  • Log in to your Illinois workNet account to access the Resume Builder and your resumes anytime from your dashboard!
    • Resume Builder Quick Start Guide (PDF)
    • Resume Builder Tools (PDF)
  • Use the Youth Resume Samples below or view more sample resumes as guides for creating your best resume:
    • Academics (PDF​)
    • Arts and Entertainment (PDF)
    • Sports (PDF​)
    • Technology (PDF)
    • Other (PDF​)
    • Accounting Internship (PDF​)
    • Fashion Internship (PDF)
    • Little Work Experience (PDF)
    • Summer Internship (PDF)

Social Media

We use social media every day to post statuses and pictures and to share interesting stories with family and friends. While this is fun for us, you may not realize that not everything you put on social media is private. Depending on what you're posting, this can be a pro or a con when job searching.

Before you start making changes to your social media presence, be sure to Google yourself to see what employers might see if they were to do the same. This can give you an idea of what information you may need to change or get rid of.

You can promote yourself to an employer by having a professional presence on social media. Here are a few tips on how to get the best social media presence:

  • Have a profile picture that will make a good impression. Avoid selfies or other pictures that may not portray your best self.
  • Check your privacy settings to ensure you are not showing more information about yourself than necessary.
  • Ensure any public information that is showing is in-line with the information you included on your resume and promotes your activities and other accomplishments.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all social media sites you can use to search for jobs! Use the social media guide to get started.

Networking

Before getting started with networking, be sure to have a great elevator speech. This speech will help you make a great impression while offering a brief message about yourself. Your elevator speech should not be more than 45 seconds and should include this information:
  • Who are you?
  • What are you looking for in a job?
  • What are your skills?
  • What do you want?
  • What can you offer?
  • Ask for help.
  • Thank them for listening.

A great way to find job opportunities and get references is to start with the people you already know. Parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, coaches, doctors, local businesses, volunteering contacts, or student organization advisors are all great contacts you may already have from networking.

Tell them what you are looking for or the type of job you seek and see if they may know about an opportunity or have suggestions of places to start.

Getting involved in new networking opportunities in your community is another great way to network. You can get started with:

  • Job and career fairs,
  • School Career Services office,
  • Student associations and clubs, and
  • Community events.

For more info on networking, read these articles:

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