What Employers Want in Young Workers
Here is a summary of attitudes and actions employers want from young workers they hire:
- Be on Time
- Be Ready To Work When You Arrive
- Value The Employer’s Goals
- Value Time, Use It To Complete Work
- Communicate well
- Communicate ideas and solutions, not just problems
- Communicate without offensive language and phrases, including slogans on clothing
- Be Reliable
- Be Honest
- Don’t Steal Anything
- Try New Things, But Don’t Claim Expertise You Don’t Have
- Show enthusiasm for the job at hand
- Learn from mistakes, don’t repeat them
- Develop Teamwork
- Be Loyal
- Keep the cell phone off during work
- Accept consequences; share credit
- Spell properly
- Check the math
- Ask if you don’t understand
- Try until you get it right
- Get it Right
Critical Skills for Success
High school students in internships or summer jobs should develop skills in these areas, because these are the areas employers will be looking at when you look for employment and colleges will want to see when you apply for higher education.
Punctuality / Attendance: The participant arrives on time for classes and work site hours. This is one of the major areas of transition from secondary school — where a minute or two may not be a big deal to some teachers — to the work world, where employers pay you to be on time and will not keep employees who don’t show up.
Positive Attitude: The participant is respectful to both co-workers and supervisors. The participant takes direction from supervisors without complaints. If required to interact with members of the public, the participant treats them courteously.
Acceptance of Responsibility: The participant handles instruction and constructive criticism well and does not raise objections when tasks are assigned or when mistakes are pointed out.
Ability to follow instructions: The participant is able to carry out an assignment from the original set of instructions, and does not need to be repeatedly told what to do. In the case of written instructions, the participant has sufficient basic skills to understand basic plans and documents.
Personal Appearance: The participant is neat and clean and wears clothing appropriate for the job where he or she is assigned. The participant’s hair is neatly groomed and jewelry, etc., is kept to a minimum.
Time Management: The participant performs tasks within a reasonable amount of time, and uses the time allotted to perform allotted work.
Acceptance of Supervision: The participant works well with supervisors, accepts instruction, direction and constructive criticism in a willing manner.
Communication Skills: The participant speaks clearly when conveying information, is able to write clearly and correctly; takes phone messages without error and is able to read routine job-related materials.
Teamwork Skills: The participant works in a cooperative manner with others, respects fellow workers, understands his/her role in relation to the project at hand, and assists co-workers without being told to do so.
Initiative: The participant is able to know what needs to be done to complete a given assignment and will perform the work without being given specific instructions. When an assigned task is complete, the participant will either ask for new assignments or work with others to complete their tasks. The participant can prioritize tasks.
On the Job, Not the Phone: Cell phone use is among employers’ top peeves of young workers. Focus on work at work, not phoning or texting.
Summer Youth Employment Program Document Checklist
If you are selected for the Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program, you will be required to provide documentation that is required of all participants, due to the federal funding that supports the program.
Participants who cannot provide documentation may not be able to work.
Documentation will include paperwork to document the following:
- Social Security Number
- Citizenship Status
- Number in family
- Family income
- Handicapped status (if applicable)
- Working papers
This list is to help youth prepare for the process, if selected. DO NOT file documents with your pre-application.
Things to Learn at Your Work Site This Summer
Learn to work in a group with people from diverse backgrounds.
Learn how to communicate without slang and make sure that whatever you write can be read by others — spell properly.
Learn how to solve problems and help others find solutions.
Learn that work relationships are different from personal ones — work is not about making friends, but getting a job done.
Learn that on the job, everyone makes mistakes, everyone accepts constructive criticism and everyone puts personal feelings second to the goal of the team and tries to get along.
Learn that everyone starts at the bottom, but not everyone stays there if they really want to work.
Learn the difference between school and work in terms of consequences for breaking the rules for what you wear, when you arrive, calling in sick, and texting / phoning when you are supposed to be working.
Learn what you can do, what you need to learn, and how to improve your skills.
Learn about adults; what they expect, how they view work, and how you can develop a positive work relationship with an adult.
Learn that this is a first step, and success requires a lot more learning.