Finding Employment Guide
This guide has sections for each step of the job search process, with videos, resources, tips, and tricks. Read through the whole guide, or use the links below to go to a specific section:
IF YOU WANT HELP WITH YOUR SEARCH
PREPARE YOUR MATERIALS
Define your goals
Before you start your search, you should make a plan about what you’re looking for.
Do you want work that’s part time or full time?
Will you need to find a job that can fit around your school schedule?
Do you want to find something in a field of interest so that you can move towards your long term career goals, or just earn some money?
Get a professional email address
Make sure you have a professional email address to use for your job search - don’t use your high school email address unless you’re 100% sure you’ll have access to it after you graduate!
Complete a resume
The first step for most job applications is to complete a resume. Remember, if you’re using a template, use your own words and experiences - don’t include anything that doesn’t apply to you.
Some jobs will ask for 1-3 references that the employer can contact to learn more about your experience. Often, references are only contacted late in the hiring process, but you may have to provide them with your application.
Your references should be people who know you well and who can talk about your strengths - but not your family members or friends. Some examples of good references might be a former boss, a teacher, or a coach, or a mentor. Make sure you contact your references to ask permission before listing them
Write a cover letter
You may be asked to complete a cover letter as part of a job application. The cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, because it’s a chance for you to share why you are a good fit for THIS role. Remember, if you’re using a template, make sure you use your own words and experiences.
FIND AND APPLY FOR JOBS
Search for jobs
Many jobs are posted online - you can look for postings and sometimes apply with just one click. You can filter your search by location, full/part time, and level of experience. Use the links to the right to find general jobs, but if you’re interested in a specific career or field, you may be able to find job boards specific to your field. If you want to work at a specific company, you can also look at their website and see what jobs they have posted - look for a page called “Careers” or “working here.”
Use your network
Let your friends and caregivers know you’re looking for work and they may be able to connect you to people who are looking for employees. If you’re in any activities or community groups, your community there can also be a good resource - sometimes having a person refer you to a job can help get your application reviewed or get you an interview. If you want to work at a restaurant or store in your neighborhood, you can also walk in and ask if they’re hiring - sometimes they’ll have you fill out an application on the spot, so make sure you bring all of your materials with you.
Once you find a job that is a good fit for you, it’s time to apply! Carefully read the job posting to find out how they want you to apply - sometimes you’ll fill out an online application directly on the company’s website, sometimes you’ll email in your materials, or sometimes you can directly apply through the job search website.
Beware of scams
Unfortunately, when you’re looking for jobs online, you need to beware of scams - be careful about job postings that seem too good to be true! Remember - a good employer will never ask you to send them money or ask for copies of your personal documents before you are hired.
After you apply
Once you’ve submitted an application for a job, you should keep an eye on your email and phone for an invitation to interview - and see below for more tips about how to prepare for the next steps!
CC Image courtesy of World Bank Photo on Flickr
Finding construction or city jobs
Certain roles in government or trades have special processes to apply. For City (Civil Service) roles, most applications are a multi-step process, including a competitive exam. Each trade union has their own process, but many job paths start with an apprenticeship.
HOW TO LAND THE JOB
Prepare for an interview
For entry-level jobs, you will likely have 1-2 interviews before you are hired. This is an opportunity to show the employer that you are the best person for the job, so you should take some time in advance to practice your answers to common questions and research the company. An interview is also a chance for you to learn more about whether the job is a good fit for you - so come ready with some questions to ask.
If your interview is on the phone or online, find a quiet place without distractions to join the call. If it’s a video call, test your computer’s camera and audio - get set up in a place with a neutral background, or use a virtual background. For video or in-person interviews, make sure you’re dressed appropriately (this will depend on the role, but usually involves a button-down shirt or blouse and well-fitting, neutral bottoms). If you’re going in-person, map out your route in advance, and leave plenty of extra time - but don’t go into the company more than 15 minutes early!
What to expect after your interview
At the end of the interview, the interviewer should tell you the timeline for next steps, and if they don’t, it’s okay to ask - but remember, hiring often takes much longer than expected! Depending on the job, you might have another interview, or they might call your references. After you’ve completed an interview, make sure you follow up with a thank you note - email is the best way to do this. Once you’ve sent that follow up, you don’t need to do anything else - the employer will contact you if they want to move you forward! While you’re waiting to hear back, keep searching for and applying to other jobs!
CC Image courtesy of Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels
Getting a job offer
Once an employer wants to hire you, they’ll make you an offer of employment. If they offer you the job over the phone or in an email message, they’ll likely follow up with a formal letter that states your hours, wage, first day, and any important conditions of the offer (for example, the offer might be contingent on the results of a background check.). Once you’ve gotten the offer, it’s important to let the employer know you’ve received it, but it’s okay to take a couple of days to consider it - and if you still have questions about the job, or if you have any concerns about the offer, now is the best time to ask! Once you feel sure about the job, notify the employer that you want to accept the offer - they’ll likely give you more information about what you need to do to prepare.
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING A JOB
Get ready for the first day
Once you’ve accepted a job offer and set a starting date, you can start getting ready. Plan your commute, figure out how to balance your work schedule with other responsibilities, and make sure you have the right wardrobe (if you haven’t asked about dress code before, now’s the time). You’ll also have to fill out paperwork when you start - the employer is legally required to collect copies of your passport or ID, and may ask for bank information to set up direct deposit.
Different jobs can have very different cultures and expectations, so the most important thing is to learn the expectations for your workplace by observing and asking questions. This is a good time to practice your active listening and ask for support when you need it!
Know your rights
Every worker in New York City, regardless of industry and immigration status, has the right to sick and safe leave, the right to be paid minimum wage, the right to be compensated for overtime work, the right to organize, the right to a discrimination-free workplace, and the right to a safe and healthy workplace. If you work in fast food or retail, you also have rights related to your shifts. Additionally, if you have a disability, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations in your workplace.
AM I ELIGIBLE TO WORK?
CC Image courtesy of Cytonn Photography on Pexels
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder), or a refugee/asylee , you are eligible to work in the U.S., and employers are required to verify your eligibility by looking at your documents - you should be prepared to provide documents that prove your identity and your immigration status when you start a new job, as well as fill out an I-9 form. Additionally, if you are under the age of 18, you will be required to provide working papers, even if you have graduated high school.
For justice-involved job seekers
Being involved in, accused of, or affected by a crime doesn’t have to keep you from following the path that you want to be on. In New York City, criminal history can’t be part of the hiring process until after a job offer - employers can’t ask about your record or run a background check until after a conditional offer of employment. Additionally, unless you are applying to be a police or peace officer, you never have to tell an employer about any arrests where you were not convicted, or about any sealed convictions.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with further questions and comments.
Robin Blanc, Career Readiness Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org