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Advice on where to apply and how to impress your interviewer, from L.A. Youth writers who have looked for jobs

Apply at places where you know someone who works there. You have a better chance of getting hired. I recently applied to work at Gelson’s supermarket in Century City during the summer. I have a very good chance of being hired because my mother has known the manager for 22 years. I talk to her whenever I shop at Gelson’s. Also, because my family has been shopping at Gelson’s for several years and I know the environment well, I know I will be comfortable working there.
Brett Hicks, 16, Loyola HS

For interviews remember to relax and come prepared. The first time I went on a job interview, I was extremely nervous. I dressed in jeans, gave very short answers and didn’t make eye contact. I knew there was no way I had gotten the job. The second time, I practiced answering interview questions that I had been taught in my life skills class (my mom even had me do a few practice interviews at home). I dressed professionally in a plain skirt, shirt and sweater. I made sure to smile and shake the interviewer’s hand before sitting down. I felt great about the interview. The woman who interviewed me even said, “This went very well.” I ended up getting the internship.
Melanie Boysaw, 16, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies

Think about your interview like an essay and bring up examples. For a program I did that’s designed to give high school students jobs in finance, we had mock interviews. I told the interviewer I was very social and confident. But she said anyone could say that. So I said it was easy for me to speak to anyone and for confidence I said that after running a marathon, I feel like I can do anything. At the end of the interview, ask, “What do I do next?” to let them know you’re interested in the job.
Richard Aviles, 17, Foshay Learning Center

When my friends are worried about their first interview, I remind them that they’re already pros. Every time you talk to someone, whether you know them or not, you’re in an interview. What you talk about with friends is usually what interviewers want to know. What have you already done? What do you plan to do, and how is that important to you? It’s easier to say, “relax and be yourself” than to do that under interview pressure, but it’s worked well for me in my two interviews.
Sylvana Insua-Rieger, 16, Beverly Hills HS


Find jobs that are teen-friendly. Last summer I called H&M and places at The Grove shopping center. They told me I couldn’t work there because I wasn’t 18. This year I heard from a friend that the Hollywood Bowl hires teens so I called them. I got the job.
Gabe Andreen, 15, Pilgrim School


When can teens work?

Work hours for teens ages 14 and 15

Work hours
• 7 a.m.–7 p.m., from Labor Day–June 1
• Not during school hours
• 7 a.m.–9 p.m., from June 1–Labor Day

Maximum hours when school is in session
18 hours a week, but not more than:
• 3 hours a day on school days
• 8 hours a day Saturday–Sunday and holidays

Maximum hours when school is not in session
• 40 hours a week
• 8 hours a day

Work hours for teens ages 16 and 17

Work hours
• 5 a.m.–10 p.m. when there is school the next day
• 5 a.m.–12:30 a.m. when there is no school the next day

Maximum hours when school is in session
48 hours a week, but not more than:
• 4 hours a day Monday–Thursday
• 8 hours a day Friday–Sunday and holidays

Maximum hours when school is not in session
• 48 hours a week
• 8 hours a day