5 things that teens need before starting their first job

The idea of starting your first job can be a worrisome thought. What are you going to wear? What will you be doing all day? Will you like your coworkers? Those questions may be top of mind, but more importantly what you will need to know is, “What do I need to have before I start my first job?” 

To be prepared, here are five things you should have if you are getting ready to get into the workforce. 

  1. A good resume 

A resume is what is going to get your foot into the door for a potential new job. Make sure that your resume has up-to-date information, applicable experience, and good references. If you have taken TeenQuest in the past, you can use the resume you built in the program as a template for future resumes.  

  1. A state ID or Driver’s License 

When you start a job, your employer is going to have you fill out an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. It is required by federal law for employers to verify the identity and employment status of all new employees. For that form, you must present a valid state ID or driver’s license. In some cases, you may use your school ID if it has your photograph.  

Both a state ID and driver’s license can be obtained through the Secretary of State offices. For more information, visit the State of Michigan’s website.  

  1. Birth Certificate 

Additionally, for an I-9 form, you will need to present your birth certificate. Be sure to note that it needs to be an original copy of your birth certificate, or a certified copy issued by your county or another municipal authority. In Genesee County, you can order a certified copy online, by mail or in person at the Genesee County Administration building. Learn more about how to order your birth certificate on the Genesee County website.  

  1. Social Security Card and/or Number 

A social security card can also be used to verify identity if you cannot access your birth certificate in time to start your job. However, even if you have a birth certificate, you will need to know your social security number to fill out other paperwork related to employment. It is best to try and memorize your number whether or not you have your social security card readily available.  

  1. A Work Permit 

If you are under 18, you will need to obtain a work permit before you can start your job. Typically, your school front office can help you get a permit to work. When you get your permit, your guardian will need to fill out Section I of the permit before bringing it to your employer. After your employer finishes Section II of the permit, you must return it to your school to finish Section III. Your school will then keep a copy and you will return the original copy to your employer to keep on file. If you get a new job, a new work permit will be required to be filled out by your new employer. You can learn more about the process on the State of Michigan’s Labor and Economic Opportunity website.  

Prepare yourself for your first job my taking TeenQuest, a pre-employment and leadership training program. For more information, visit EducateFlintandGenesee.org/TeenQuest.