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Your teen got a job interview. Now what to wear?

They say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have, but what does that mean for a teen who is interviewing for their first job? With the dog days of summer quickly approaching many teens are going to be eagerly (or not so eagerly) submitting those job applications and resumes in hopes of landing at least an interview. First impressions matter, and so does what your teen wears to their job interview, regardless of what the job is for.

While most prospective employers aren’t expecting a teenager to show up to an interview in a business suit, what they wear to a job interview can tell a hiring manager a lot about your teen so it’s important to pay attention to the details. If your teen has a job interview here are some tips and tricks on what they should wear to help them make the best first impression possible.

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What should I wear to a job interview as a teenager?

Regardless of where a teen is interviewing for a job — whether it’s a local fast food place or the front desk at a local business — being prepared for the job interview and looking professional tells a prospective employer that you care about the job and put an effort into looking neat and tidy for an interview. Suits aren’t necessary, but khakis, dress pants or even dark jeans paired with a button-down, polo shirt, or blouse are great options for teens who are interviewing for a job. According to Indeed, “overdressing is usually not frowned upon in a professional setting,” so if you wanted to wear a tie or a blazer or even a suit, you definitely can. It’s important that teens know that paying attention to their wardrobe for their interview shows maturity and eagerness to earn the role they’re interviewing for.

What should I not wear to a job interview as a teenager?

While teens may have to work with what they have in their closet, there are some things they should bypass when picking out an interview outfit. The Balance Careers warns teens to avoid going too casual for a job interview. Avoid wearing cutoffs or jeans with rips and holes, no hoodies or sweatshirts, and try to avoid casual shoes like flip flops and sneakers. Ball caps or any type of hats and athletic wear such as jerseys should also be avoided as should any excessive jewelry that could become a distraction during an interview. You also want to ensure your clothes are well fitted meaning nothing too tight or low cut and nothing too loose or baggy. Teens should also keep their phones tucked away and have them on silent or fully turned off during a job interview.

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How do teens do well in a job interview?

There are a number of ways teens can help themselves to stand out in a job interview. Indeed recommends researching the job and company ahead of time can help you be prepared for any questions you may be asked during the interview process. They also suggest teens memorize their resumes and even do a few practice interviews with family and friends before the official interview.

Live Career recommends teens know their availability before they attend their interview so they can clearly articulate to the employer the hours they’re available to work. They need to take into account any extracurricular activities and school responsibilities before committing to any schedule. Teens should also be familiar with what the current minimum wage is and have realistic expectations surrounding salary.

Questions are an integral part of any interview so The Muse suggests teens practice answers for some commonly asked questions (tell me about yourself, and what are your strengths and weaknesses?) as well as preparing a few questions of their own. This kind of dialogue allows a teen to really showcase their talents and eagerness to work while also showing real interest in their prospective job and employer.

Almost all experts suggest that you write a quick thank you note after your interview. In most cases, a quick email to thank them for their time and consideration is enough, while for the more traditional workplace a handwritten note may be a better option. Indeed says that the note should be sent within 24 hours of the interview, and “should be simple and error-free.”

Getting a job is a big step for teens in not only earning their own money but in learning responsibility and dependability as well as other life skills that will help them as they get older. Being prepared for an interview, including looking neat and presentable is one of the first steps in securing a job that will allow them to earn not only some cash but a lot of independence too.

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