By Matt Suppelsa

With multiple generations competing in today’s work force and feeling the effects of the economic downturn, teens have to stand out and prove they’re not apathetic. On top of that, teen employment dropped from around 50 percent in 2000 to just 27 percent nationwide in 2011, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. Here are some tips from the College Board on how to navigate the job market and show your interest as an applicant.

Write a comprehensive resume and be sure to proofread it.
Include any volunteering, clubs and memberships (i.e. National Honor Society) that show responsibility and any skills that make you stand out from others, such as speaking a foreign language.

Make sure your application is both accurate and legible.
If a potential employer can’t read your handwriting, they likely won’t waste time trying to read your chicken-scratch. If you have poor penmanship, type your application if possible.

Drop off your resume and application in person during off-peak hours.
Don’t go in during busy hours when there’s potentially a line out the door and no one can take the time to talk to you. They likely won’t remember you and you won’t leave a good impression. Talk to the hiring manager and introduce yourself, but be brief.

Show you’re really interested in the position by following up.
Take initiative and check back with the hiring manager after a week or two. Keep it short and sweet by mentioning you recently applied and want to know if the position has been filled yet.

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About The Mash

The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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