How to Prepare & Mentor Kids for Their First Job

What is one piece of advice when preparing or mentoring your kids to go to work for their first job?To help parents when mentoring and preparing their kids for their first job, we asked career coaches and experienced parents this question for their best advice. From learning how to accept failure to staying professional, there are several tips that will help guide you in the mentorship and preparation process with your child. 

Here are ten ways parents can prepare their kids when working for their first job: 

  1. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
  2. Be Proactive
  3. Experiment With Different Roles
  4. Accept and Learn From Failure
  5. Remember to Have Fun
  6. Work Hard and Keep Pushing
  7. Don’t Endure the Unendurable
  8. Ask Questions and Ask for Feedback
  9. Stay Professional
  10. Observe Everything

Stay Hungry

It’s essential to teach your kids that their work-life is not only about earning money. While financial stability is something that we all strive for, finding an occupation that makes us happy and fulfilled is even more critical. Whenever I think of the kids just starting their careers, I remind myself of Steve Jobs’s commencement speech at Stanford University, where he says: “stay hungry, stay foolish.” This simple phrase shows us that we need to constantly look for things that inspire us and help us become the best versions of ourselves. It also implies that you should encourage your kids never to settle and keep looking for fulfilment in their work life. My advice is to keep reminding your kids that being successful often means doing things differently than others and following your own dreams.

 – Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer

Be Proactive

Employers do not like having a team member that needs to be told what to do and how to do things 24/7. Be proactive and find work to do even after your tasks are finished. Ask how you can learn more and do more. This will show employers that you want to be there and want to work hard.

 – Olivia Young, Conscious Items

Experiment with Different Roles

You can learn so much from your first few jobs. You can learn the things you love, the things you don’t love, and what you would want to see yourself doing in years to come. This is the time to experiment with duties at work so always be open to learning new things. Some of the best learning opportunities come from others, be open to learning from those who are more experienced. This can help fill your future roles with work you love to do. 

 – Jenn Christie, Markitors

Accept & Learn from Failure

Be honest and up front with them. Let them know that it is okay to fail, but you want them to try their best. If they don’t succeed the first time, make sure they know how to learn from their mistakes and try again.

 – Adam Garcia, The Stock Dork

Remember to Have Fun

The best piece of advice I could give a kid going to their first job is to have fun! Work doesn’t have to be a drag, and you should always work hard, but be sure to have some fun doing it. For a kid entering their first job, this should be an exciting experience and they should remember to have fun and do their best.

 – Jordan Nathan, Caraway

Work Hard & Keep Pushing

The best piece of advice I would give my kid as they prepared for their first job, would be to persevere. Jobs are tough and working long hours takes some time getting used to. I’m a full blown adult and it is still tough sometimes for me to get used to long days, but you must persevere. When times get hard, don’t give up. Keep pushing.

 – Craig Carter, Jack Mason

Don't Endure the Unendurable

It is important to tell them that, in normal circumstances, if they work hard and do their part, this will be rewarded with new opportunities in their career. However, in an age where work has become more precarious and companies are asking more for less, I always remind them that they should only endure what is acceptable and healthy for their minds and bodies. If at some stage they find themselves stuck there is always an opportunity to go back to grad school or work on new and helpful certificates and skills. While it is true that he who has a “why” can bear almost any “how”, they must make sure that this “how” is worth it and not a case of being taken advantage of. 

 – Daniel Torres, Zety

Ask Questions & Ask for Feedback

As a business owner, I have realized that the best employees I have ever had are not afraid to ask questions and to ask for feedback on how they are doing. By asking questions, it shows that they care about getting tasks done correctly. By asking for feedback it shows that the employee cares about how they can improve in their job. As a father of two young children, I realize the day is approaching for them when they obtain their first job. I certainly plan to advise them to not be afraid to ask questions to their boss or co-workers and to periodically ask for feedback on their job performance.

 –Tate Meagher, Meagher Law Office, PLLC

Stay Professional

Getting the first job is a big step in any teenager’s life. Guiding them about their first job is very beneficial as it helps them in securing their future. My advice for them is that they should act with professionalism from the first day. In the start, they will get an entry-level job and thus will have to deal with many people confronting them. They should act patiently with these difficult people. If someone has an offensive attitude, deal respectfully with them. Pay no attention to their harsh comments but if somebody is going out of the line, then report to upper consultants instead of taking action by yourself.

 – Jill Sandy, Constant Delights


Observe Everything

Observe Everything

The advice I’d offer kids entering the workforce for the first time is to observe everything. The more observant they are, the better they’ll fare. Learning through seeing and doing is the fastest way to get up to speed on what’ll be required of them.

 – Randi Shinder, SBLA

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