Getting that first job can be difficult since many companies usually filter candidates with some experience and related skills that they need. However, if you haven’t been in the workforce up till age 24, you might be wondering if you will have the opportunity to land a decent position.
Can you get your first job at 24? Yes, it is possible for those aged 24 to land their very first job. To do so, you need to anticipate the questions and prepare answers that will show you have been productive in other ways since graduation.
So, what does it take to get a job at this age, and what kind of skills will some employers be looking to? Here are some things that may come up in an interview for your very first job.
Questions You Might Get Asked in an Interview
When you go to interview for a job, there’s usually some typical questions employers will ask you. It’s good to be prepared for these if this is your first job.
Some things you may be asked by future employers would be:
Why haven’t you had a job yet?
This question is not code for “how lazy are you?” Instead, if you haven’t had any previous jobs, your employer will want to know why and what it is you’ve been doing all this time. Whether it be college or unpaid work, they will want to know how you filled in this time.
To prepare for this question, you need to do some reflection. Grab some paper and make a list of everything you have done since high school that involves learning, working with others or personal development. Have you done any volunteering? Taking classes at a community college? Then write those down.
How about traveling? Did you learn anything as you trotted around the globe? Interact with other people? Learn things about yourself? If so, add it to the list.
When you have finished the list, you’ll be much better equipped to answer other questions.
What can you bring to the table at this job?
One thing that you may be asked in an interview is what you can contribute skills-wise to the position you are applying for. If it’s a cashier job, being good at quick calculations with change or being fast with your hands helps. You want to ask yourself what relevant skills you may have that you can bring with you to the workplace.
As mentioned earlier, making a list of all your previous experiences will make it easier to discuss relevant skills for the interview process. You can now confidently point to how your experiences will help the company. If you want to say something like “I am able to handle upset customers because of my patience and conflict resolution skills,” you can do so and explain why. And if you can’t, then don’t. Employers are quick to pick up on misleading answers.
Why should we hire you above anyone else?
Relevant to the last topic, what sets you apart from all the other people applying to this position? This doesn’t have to be just work-related, it can also be your hobbies such as music or art. Anything that makes you unique to everyone else.
The best way to deal with this question is to do research on the position. What is the vibe of the company? What type of employee are they looking for? You can point out that you have the necessary skills for the job. Then you can use your research to explain what else makes you unique.
What are your weaknesses?
Something commonly asked of interviewees is what their weaknesses are. It is good to use this as an opportunity to show your strengths by bringing up non-weaknesses. An example of this would be saying your weakness is a strong dislike for tardiness, which in turn means you will never be late.
However, that seems too contrived. According to Hotspot, the purpose of this question is to find out if you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how you have tried to overcome them. Another reason for this question is to purposely throw you off your game. The person hiring you wants to see how you respond to a curveball question.
Be honest. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m afraid of speaking in front of people” if, and this is the big if, you talk about what you have done to overcome your weakness.
What are your strengths?
As much as they want to know what you aren’t good at, they will be more interested in your strengths. These are similar to skills but highlight what you excel at above the rest. A skill may be math, but strength maybe patience.
For strengths, you want to focus on a character trait: “My strength lies in my ability to always do what’s right.”
Jobs That Will Hire Without Previous Work Experience
When searching for your first job at 24, your best bet is entry-level positions. There are the obvious, more visible positions, but there are others that you might not expect.
These are the kinds of jobs you might think of because they are so visible.
This comes to mind because eating out is pretty common for most people.
- Coffee Barista. Working as a barista is a very manageable first-time job as it needs no previous experience.
- Waiter or Waitress. If you like to engage with customers, this might earn you some fast tips. However, you need to interact with several tables of people and learn the basics of how to run a restaurant.
- Dishwasher. If you prefer not working with people for your first job, consider becoming a dishwasher. Dishwashers stay in the back away from the main crowd, and some can even listen to music as they work.
- Cook. Not every restaurant will hire someone with no experience as a cook. Typically, casual chain restaurants would be a good place to look for an entry-level cooking job.
Retail work is also easier to come by.
- Cashiers (General). Cashiering is a job that you can take up, even at 24, since they have training plans in place. This can give you experience in handling money and dealing with customers.
- Front Desk Reception. This type of role can help build skills that you might be able to use in a human resources department if that’s what you want to do in the future. Being a front desk receptionist means wanting to work with people, having great communication, and making everyone feel welcome.
- Sales Associate (Retail). Folding clothes, taking items back, and checking prices are some of the things you do as a sales associate. Retail is a common first-time job and lets you learn how to deal with upset customers that come into the store.
- Stocker. Stockers will replenish products on the aisles of grocery stores and such, pulling items to the front and taking down expired products as they see it. As a stocker, you can learn many things that could eventually land you a job in warehousing.
There are jobs for which no experience is needed that may pay you more than you expect.
- Real Estate Agent. What you will need for this job is to take a series of courses, typically several weeks. You also need to have good people skills, patience, and a willingness to drive around for hours. Pay may not always steady, but according to Glassdoor, the average agent makes fifty thousand a year.
- Home Health Care. The pay is low, but if you like helping people, these positions are in high demand. Requirements for certification vary from state to state, so that’s something you will need to look into.
- Customer Service Representative. If you are good around people, can keep a positive attitude, and can be a team player, then this job might be for you. Usually, the company that hires you will train you for their requirements.
Getting a job at 24 when you’ve had no previous work experience is definitely doable, and there are plenty of jobs that will hire you. Entry-level jobs are ideal for those who are just entering the workforce.