Ask LH: How Can I Score A Part-Time Job?

Dear Lifehacker, I am currently 15 and I want to get a part-time job. Ideally I'd like to work in a smaller store like EB Games where I already know all the stock. How should I write a resume and apply for the job? My own experience with EB Games suggests that knowing the stock isn't always a high priority for hires, but that personal niggle aside, there's a few basic ways to approach a retail resume.

First and foremost, you've got to be willing to put in a bit of time to call/email/visit (depending on the store or stores) and face a fair bit of rejection. Part-time staff aren't looking for a long-term career; you're just trading your time and presence in return for money, and in return most retail stores are after at least a basic level of competency in their store staff.

Knowing the stock isn't necessarily a bad thing (and if you are asked about it, being able to show you know at least some basics about what you'd be selling is a plus), but be wary of being too keen on the particular store. While Apple hires on the basis that it really wants its staff to be enthusiastic fans, that's an exception. Most stores would look on a fanboy or girl as a potential liability; your job in EB would be to sell games, not necessarily either gush about your own tastes or correct those of other customers.

EB Games also isn't a small concern, so it would be well worth checking the company's web site for any contact details related to hiring. Depending on your location, it may be that the closest store is fully stocked for part-time staff, but one a few suburbs away may be hiring. They may also have a stock form for prospective employees to fill out, rather than expecting a resume.

Lifehacker's written about perfect resume writing in the past. You should make sure it's readable, not just accurate, ensure it hits the right points, and keep it relatively brief; you might think that a bulky resume shows experience, but for most interviewers it's just a pain to read.

Finally, if you don't get that particular job, don't be too despondent; there are many factors that go into whether one candidate or another actually gets hired. Also, you're 15, and while the money from a part time job would be sweet, getting the most out of an education that's yours free for the taking right now could bring you in a lot more cash in the long run.

Cheers Lifehacker

Any other readers — perhaps those who have worked directly at EB or a similar outlet — got any tips on scoring a job there?

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right. Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.


    When I first started working in retail for a part time job it was pretty standard knowledge that the online recruitment systems were useless in getting spots filled and that the best way was just to drop a resume in to the manager. Sure you'll get a bunch of rejections, most places won't even call back but it's by far the most effective way of getting a job

      without a doubt follow this advice. applying online is fine for big corporations (coles myer or woolworths, say) but for other shops just walk in, smile politely and ask for the manager.

    when looking for a first job your resume should NEVER be longer than one single sided page. seriously, looking through 3 pages of fluff from a 15 year old put me off when hiring (i used to work in hospitality).

    also, if i remember correctly EB only hires 18+ staff (i applied when i was 16 and got turned away). i recommend you broaden your search, apply everywhere you think you could handle. go for a fresh resume drop every 2-3 weeks. you will find a job easily at this time of year.

    most importantly, be realistic. you are 15 with no work experience and can only work around your schooling. people will not be lining up to employ you. you will get rejected. it will be tedious and frustrating. start off by getting any job, the experience will put you in a great experience in 6 months.

      I started at Eb when I was 16, quit last year though, long live team 217 =P

    Maybe aim for Big W or something similar - if you demonstrate a strong ability in home electrics/games, and you ask (always be asking, let your managers know where you want to be), you might get bumped to the electronics section. After a couple of years there, you'll have plenty of experience in that field and be ready to work somewhere like EB or JB Hi Fi (they treat their employees really well there).

    I must say you're showing initiative already :) Writing in here and having your question published with people commenting on their own experience is seriously worthwhile IMO.

    My first 5 jobs from age 9 were offered to me by people who knew me as a customer, where my parents were the customer, or a friend worked there. Paper round, bakery, burger joint, Roller skating rink, DJ. No "cold calling" of dropping in resumes or applying to head office.
    Places you already go may be a good place to start with informal conversations, getting to know people without being too much in anyone's face (ie video store, games store, music store, comic book store etc)

    In fact, apart from my first 2 jobs out of Uni which I applied for "the traditional way", they've all been through this kind of method

      Nepotism FTW!

    Are any of your friends currently employed? I got my first job because one of my friends was working there and directly passed my resume onto the manager/put in a good word.

    If you are under 18 NEVER apply to any stores that deal in 2nd hand goods you will never get the posistion so EB Games, JB HiFi etc etc are all out of the question you will be immediately turned down due to 2nd hand licensing rules not to mention they probably receive 10+ applications per store a week so your chances are slim.

    If you are under 18 your options are very limited trying asking your parents for part time work, or apply to fast food chains or bakeries, milk bars or perhaps even the cinemas.

      i certainly wouldnt say that your options are limited if you are under 18. Off the top of my head, the following places are happy to (and in many cases prefer to) higher under 18:
      - coles/safeway
      - big w or any similar major chain store
      - all fast food places
      - most low/mid range clothing stores (high end places usually want experienced sellers)
      - cinemas
      - cafes/coffee shops
      - pharmacies (not so much dealing with drugs, but they always need people on the front counter)
      - just about any form of small/family business

      JB don't sell second hand goods.

    Yeah - the friend hooking you up is a good option. Could also try one of the major retail chains to get some experience.

    Lower your standards. Regardless of what many 15 year olds think, you are not above McDonalds and other take away chains. You probably won't get a first job anywhere decent. You are going to have to deal with this fact.

    Always follow up. I worked for a retail store that was hiring before I quit for my first career job (for an U18 position) so I like to think I have some recent experience on how it works (+ I'm 20, been working since 16yo).

    - Don't let anyone else hand in resumes for you. It looks so, so, so bad. Do it yourself in person, if they tell you to apply online it's either we're not hiring or the manager has made a first impression and doesn't want you (this happened to me at FCUK, told to go online, which told me to go in store for the open position).
    - Nothing more than a page, if it goes over, consider reformatting first then making it double sided. I only breached this when I had uni results and 3 jobs to work in
    - Prepare for lots of rejection, most of the time its networks that get you jobs (friends, family). Unless you enter fast food or woolies, which honestly are viable options that DO look good for future jobs.
    - Once you get a job, do not leave until you've lined up another.

    Also, not to discourage you, but consider the money factor.

    I'm not sure about other states, but I know in QLD the Retail EBA pays poorly on its own, and the hourly rate goes down significantly the younger you are. I remember being paid barely $13 an hour when I was 15. Also, I worked 5 years in retail - it's generally pretty horrible.

    Try looking for jobs through family and friends, with any luck you'll find a better job where you'll be treated better. I remember refereeing soccer matches for the few years I couldn't play after knee surgery. That was almost $30 an hour on Friday and Saturdays and I got that job through my club. Just look and ask around.

    And in regards to submitting resume - you'll find different places like different things. Most the companies I've worked for over the years PREFER online submissions, which go directly to HR etc. I remember numerous people coming in to hand in resumes and I'd watch managers throw them straight in the bin because they had no input on hiring. Where as I've worked at other places where its expected you come in, introduce yourself and hand in a resume. Research the company first.

    Focus on your schooling though. I have friends who never worked a job until after they finished high school and now they are earning big money at big companies.

    Good luck!

    Folks who complain about making a lowly $13/hr in their first job don't know what it was like 25 years ago. $2.95/hr is what I started at, in my first "real" job after the paper delivery and babysitting. Roughly the cost of 6 newspapers, or less than the cost of two soft drinks. And that was only when I finally GOT a job, after a year of searching. At the time, even the few existing fast food places were full up with older kids.

      25 years ago money was also valued differently. A house only cost 80,000 to todays 500,000. Did you also walk to school in the snow with no shoes?

        I hate people that say "back in the day I earned $2.27 an hour...". Ever heard of a thing called inflation?
        I am sure that jobs were more physically demanding in the past than they are now, and you can argue the point that jobs were harder, but the pay argument is grossly over exaggerated.

    Apply for Coles and Safeway. I think every 4-6 months they recruit a lot of people (mostly kids) and if you pass the selection process (very hard not to) then you are good to go. Don't focus too much on EBGames or Gamestop because from what I've heard, those companies rely on nepotism.

    I've been working at City Beach for a year now, and I applied online. I put down babysitting/fundraising as experience (I can deal with screaming children and money), and got a call the next day for an interview, started working the weekend after. It's not the kind of store I shop at, but that's good as I'm not tempted to use my employee discount all the time. No uniform is a bonus as well.

    I was lucky though, so try applying for McDonalds or similar, as the experience looks really good on your resume. I also know that a couple of Hoyts Cinemas are hiring at the moment (you get pretty good pay, I know people who work there) if you don't mind sweeping popcorn and getting ridiculously cheap tickets :)

    As someone who used to work for both EB Games and the late GAME: Stay away. Stay far away. Your wage will be low (lower than Maccas, Coles, or Woolworths) and especially with EB Games, you'll be treated like crap. Please, just trust me on this. Look elsewhere.

    Dear Lifehacker,

    Where can I get a job sitting on my bottom all day playing video games ?

    At the dole office playing Angry Birds on your smartphone.

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