When I was 16 years old I applied to work at Arby's fast food restaurant. A humble beginning but my older sister worked there with a few of my friends and it always seemed like they were having a good time, serving roast beef sandwiches with a side of special sauce.
My mother was an employment development professional, building a career working with hourly wage employees, factory workers and top executives, preparing them, coaching them, inspiring them to be successful in their job search. Well, as her teenage daughter, I was subject to all of her inconvenient wisdom and embarrassing knowledge.
I wrote my first resume in preparation for my first job experience. At Arby's! I wanted my sister to just bring home an application but that was not happening on my mother's watch. So, I went there to pick up the application personally. Of course I wanted to sit down in the booth and fill it out right then. But no. I brought the application home, made a copy just in case I made a mistake in filling it out and after making sure everything was spelled correctly and my writing was legible, I made a copy, as coached, to use as a reference guide for future job applications.
I returned the next day and asked to speak to the manager, as I was not to leave my application with some kid at the counter (rolling eyes). The manager reluctantly came out from the back. I will name him James. I am pretty sure James was high. But his glassy eyes didn't deter me. I proudly presented him my completed application and my very first resume (which consisted of babysitting and lawn mowing which I really only did once or twice). He took my resume and application, stared at me like I was an hallucination and hired me on the spot.
Why is this moment important? The biggest reason, our first jobs matter! They matter because they are the content of our future resumes. Second, the annoyingly tedious preparation allowed me to walk into that restaurant and feel confident about my skills, my abilities, myself. It didn't matter if he read my application or my resume. I knew what it said and I was prepared to sell him on why I was qualified to do the job. Third, my networking opportunities grew by one that day. James would be important when applying to my next job (a real, non-family reference!).
I loved working at Arby's with my sister and my friends. We had a blast. And the amazing part - I had no idea that there was so much work that went into applying for a part-time hourly job. Not everybody gets the job. But that day, I did! "Beef and Cheese with a side of fries? Coming right up!"
Lori Ann Dinkins
One blog at a time, I write the truth about my life as it is, as I hope it will be, as I wish it would have been. Business insights and personal triumphs. Thank you for joining me.