First Day at Your First Job: Tips for Homeschool Teens

It can feel like a lot of pressure! No need to worry about your first day at your first job: Tips for Homeschool Teens.

First Day at Your First Job: Tips for Homeschool

First Day at Your First Job: Tips for Homeschool Teens

Many homeschool teens start their first “real” job during their high school years. Homeschoolers tend to make excellent employees because they tend to be:

  • Self-motivated
  • Honest
  • Hardworking
  • Have a good attitude
  • Are polite

This sometimes gives homeschool high schoolers a boost during the job search and interview process. Then comes the big moment!

The first day at work! Sometimes, teens feel kind of nervous about that first day. That is perfectly normal. However, we can help boost your confidence with a ten tips for that first day!

Ten tips for handling the first day at your first job

Tip #1: Arrive fifteen minutes early

Try a practice run the day before at approximately the same time you need to report for work. This helps clarify what your travel time will need to be. For instance, some drives might take you ten minutes at noon but thirty minutes during the rush hours!

When you aim for fifteen minutes early, you have a little leeway in case there is a delay on the road. Go on and go into your workplace when you arrive. Your grandmother has probably told you the old saying:

Ten minutes early is late!

Tip #2: Turn your phone off until break time

No matter how hard it is or how bored you might get, do not touch that phone until you are off the clock!

Tip #3: Bring a small notepad and pencil for notes

Yes, you could take notes on your phone. However, on the first day, that phone simply needs to disappear. Therefore, bring a small notepad and pen to take notes on instructions that might be complicated.

Tip #3: Put on your magic non-verbals

When you walk into the building where you will be working, pull your shoulders back and put your chin up a little. Put a “Mona Lisa” smile (a little smile) on your face.

These are welcoming non-verbals. (You might have used them in your job interview if you listened to the Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode about how to handle those stressful events). Friendly but professional body language helps others feel comfortable around you and more eager to help you learn the ropes!

Tip #4: Watch, listen and learn

Go into the day with the intention to:

  • Watch carefully
    • What are my coworkers doing?
    • How much do people interact while working?
  • Listen for instructions
    • Often you will watch some training videos or attend a training class. Do your best to remember what you hear, take notes if it helps you remember.
  • Learn people and processes
    • As best you can try to remember the names of colleagues and supervisors. (It might take a while, so do not be hard on yourself.)
    • See if you can repeat steps in your work processes to yourself. This might help you learn all the procedures more quickly.

Tip #5: Ask questions

There is usually TOO much to learn on a first day. It is not unusual to get confused or find you do not quite understand what to do. Asking questions about what to do is an important job skill. You can start with:

Excuse me, may I ask a question about…

Sorry to interrupt, but could I get some help with…

Tip #6: Talk kindly to yourself

You will think most clearly if you give yourself some positive pep-talks. For example:

I’m doing a good job!

That was hard, but I will learn it soon.

It’s okay to not know everything yet! I will learn everything I need to know soon.

I might have not done that well, but I will get it next time.

Positive self-talk will lower your stress hormones and help you think more clearly. It is also part of a healthy growth mindset.

Tip #7: If you finish a task, ask for something more to do

If you run out of things to do, ask for something else. After a while, you will know the job well enough to be able to look around and see what needs to be done. However, at first, it is wise to ask for more. This shows initiative and a good work attitude.

Tip #8: Smile and say “thanks” to everyone who helps

One of the best ways to make friends at work is to have an attitude of gratitude. Say “thank you” whenever you can! People like to feel appreciated.

Tip #9: Have a little elevator pitch ready

It is likely that some friendly coworker will ask you a general question about yourself. If you have a little elevator pitch ready, you will not waste time stumbling for words. (An elevator pitch is a very quick statement you can make about yourself- like the amount of time you would have in an elevator with someone.)

For instance:

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Answer: I’m in eleventh grade. I homeschool and I’m excited to have my first job at …(name of place)

Bonus tip: It also helps if you have a follow up question that YOU can ask:

For instance:

Question: How long have you worked here?

Or: Tell me what you like about this job?

Tip #9: Tidy up before you leave

Look around your work area before you go home for the day. Did you leave anything out of place? You get BIG bonus points for leaving things like you found them.

Tip #10: Leave on time

Never leave early unless your boss tells you to. Leaving early makes it look like you have a bad attitude about your job. So stay until it is time to leave.

Bonus tip: Try not to look like you are “clock watching”. That also makes it look like you have a poor attitude.

Bonus Tip: At the end of the day, thank God and congratulate yourself!

You did it! Hallelujah!


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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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