MKIADear Miss Know It All,

I have a question about getting a job. I’m nineteen years old and in my first year of college. When I look for work, I’m told I need experience first before they will hire me, but I need a job so I can have that experience. It all just seems like a vicious cycle to me. Help!

Looking for Work


Dear Looking,

But you do have experience—nineteen years’ worth. Here’s the deal: you need to go to the library and take out some books on how to write a résumé. Then write one from the perspective of what your existing skills are. That’s all an employer really cares about. In other words, you’re in college now, which means you finished high school, right? So to get through high school you had to be responsible, show up every day on time, complete the work assigned by a deadline, dress appropriately, interact with others, be part of a team to finish projects, and so on. Do you see what I’m getting at? All of those attributes are positive, and they’re all useful in the everyday workplace.

Many adults way older than you struggle all the time with handling those responsibilities! They moan and groan about not being able to work with others, or they don’t like deadlines, or they are constantly late to work. Whatever.

You have an edge over the rest of us old fogies (okay, okay, I’m just speaking about myself and not anyone else) because you have the fresh blush of youth on your side. Once you get that interview, be enthusiastic, and don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments (like playing for four years in the high school band, or winning a scholarship to college). Then you’ll be in charge and daring them to hire you.

Say to yourself: I deserve to have a wonderful job where I am respected and well paid.

Miss Know-It-All