"Be nice and responsible. Just be ready to work when they want you to. Basically, you just have to have open hours. And you have to want to work, you know, not make it all about the money. You have to like your job."
—Zena Ladish, 14, Santa Monica HS
"You can’t come in looking junky. You need to look straight, neat and groomed. On your application, make sure to put down all your info and write neatly. Also, you have to make sure to be presentable, appropriate and polite."
—Jessica Reese, 17, Dorsey HS
"Don’t be too nervous and don’t be shy."
—Noel Holmes, 18, Hamilton HS
"Go to different locations and maybe find a parent or friend that could give you advice."
—Jamie Dixon, 15, Redondo Union HS
"One of my friends, who was a senior, helped me get a job. He recommended me and helped me through the whole process. So, try to find someone who could help you out."
—Rachel Cunningham, 15, Redondo Union HS
"Be as professional as possible, no matter what your job is. Even if you’re working at a fast-food restaurant, you are a teen and learning how to deal with a job for the future. Whether you are dressing up in a suit and tie and working at a bank or in the McDonald’s uniform, you have to be professional and treat each job with equal importance. It’s training for the future, you know."
—Logan Aries, 16, Taft HS
"Try only applying to places where you know they hire minors."
—Roshani Solanki, 15, Redondo Union HS
David Pio (a.k.a. "Super Dave"), district manager of Wetzel’s Pretzels in Santa Monica
"The absolute age minimum here is 16 years of age, but you have to be 18 to operate the mixers in the back. So, if we had all minor employees, we wouldn’t be able to mix the dough.
Appearance is very important. Make sure to come prepared with a pen. Don’t look like you just came in to apply like it was an afterthought. Be prepared to fill out an application and if an interview is scheduled, make sure to come early. The neatness with which you present yourself shows me how you will look like in the uniform. Coming early to the interview shows me that you would tend to show up early for your real job.
With someone with low job experience, be prepared to answer questions about school: if you are a good student, what teams you are on and extracurriculars. Some employers can take the amount of school activities you participate in as a negative because it takes away from the hours you can work the job. Yet I see it as a dedication to your community and education. Some employers look for employees with nothing else in their life. But I would look at that person and ask where his ambition is.
I like to hire students although it’s more challenging for me. But someone in school is someone doing something with their life and it shows me they will work hard for me. It shows me their ambition. Some people look at the application when there is a lot on it and think that that person does not have time to work. Yet I look at it and I see that they are probably the most organized and dedicated people."
Doug Palacios, assistant manager, Skechers in Santa Monica
"All of our applications go through our corporate offices. Our minor ages are from 15-17 but they are required to have a permit and the application is sent to the corporate office.
Always make sure your schedule does not conflict with your school hours. During an interview, don’t be shy. Be confident and communicate a lot with the interviewer."