Art by Gabrielle Campbell

High school is a time when many people want to get their first job. This might be a result of wanting money, craving more independence, or another objective. The process can seem overwhelming, and it is hard to know where to start. There are many opportunities for students to get jobs around Portland. There are a variety of different jobs that are available. The most common categories include food service jobs and jobs like lifeguarding.

Food service jobs include working at fast-food restaurants and waiting tables at more formal establishments. If you have ever gone into a fast food place in Portland, you know that these types of jobs are popular among teenagers. This is because no prior job experience is needed to get a fast-food job and they provide a steady paycheck. Fast food restaurants in the Franklin neighborhood include Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Burger King, Burgerville, Subway. These places will often have a job available.

There are a range of retail jobs in Portland. They range from jobs at big grocery stores such as Fred Meyer or Safeway to jobs at small shops along streets like Hawthorne and Division. If you can’t see yourself working at a retail or food job, consider jobs like lifeguarding or other types of activity-based jobs. Portland Parks and Recreation has a variety of jobs including lifeguarding and swim instructors available that may be interesting if you like swimming, working outdoors in summers, and interacting with kids.

If you are having a hard time finding a job you want, there are a variety of ways you can find one. First of all, there are many websites that will help you with finding a job. This includes sites dedicated to job searching, such as Indeed. Indeed allows you to search for jobs by type and location and allows you to filter the results of your job searches in all kinds of ways. Another option for job searches is Craigslist. There are all kinds of jobs on Craigslist, ranging from odd jobs to full-time jobs. Odd jobs can be found under the “Gigs” section and ask for everything from helping someone move to photography. Because of the range of jobs, Craigslist can be a very helpful tool for finding your ideal job.

You can also start with businesses that you are interested in working for. Make a list of the businesses that you might be interested in working for and then start finding job openings from your list. Many businesses will have a link that says something along the lines of  “job opportunities” on their website. You will then be able to see available jobs and submit applications. If there is no link on their website, try calling them. Ask if they have open positions. This is also a good time to make a first impression and try to show how you would be a good person to hire.

If you are still having trouble, talk to adults you know. If you have a family friend who works for a business that you are interested in working for, ask them if there is any possible way you could get a job there. This is how Violette Creel (10) got her job at Ruby Jewel where a family friend of hers works. “Knowing people really helps,” she says. Her piece of advice to everyone looking for a job is that “the best thing you can do is be polite and kind and it will benefit you.”

Okay, you have found some jobs you are interested in and now you need to apply to them. This process can seem scary. While the process will be different for each job, you will fill out an application as a first step in the hiring process. It is a good idea to apply to multiple jobs so that you can have a better chance at being hired. The purpose of an application is to show the employer your background and notify them of any past job experiences you have had. These applications will then be sorted, and candidates they are interested in will be interviewed. To improve your chances of getting to the interview stage, make sure that your application is polished and as well written as possible before submitting it. If your application is messy, you will not make it far in the hiring process.

It is important at this stage that you are as professional as possible. Employers will be looking for people who are reliable, smart, and capable of the job. To appear professional, correct grammar and spelling on your application is very important. Achievements like Honor Roll and leadership experience also will be helpful in getting you a position because they show that you are dedicated and responsible. Think about the details on your applications as well as in other parts of your life that will be exposed to a possible employer. For example, your voicemail and email address will show parts of your character, and you should make sure that they don’t show the parts that a future employer would disapprove of. While it may seem pointless, small things like this can make the difference when a business is deciding who to hire.

Overall, having a job in high school will help you build up a resumé and give you useful experiences to carry with you throughout life. If you are ready to get a job, hopefully, this guide helps you figure out how to approach the process.