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hether working while in high school to gain financial independence, or fresh out of school or seminary and taking the first steps into the “real world,” many people get their first real jobs when they’re still teens. But how do you snag your dream job without an elaborate résumé or any past career experience? What skills are necessary to help you succeed and grow in your field?

Shalva, 14, helps manage a paper goods store near her home. “I actually got my job directly through volunteer work,” says Shalva. “My friend’s parents own the store, and I used to volunteer there because I really enjoyed the work. They were so happy with me that they decided to hire me! I think the skills that help me do my job well are multitasking and having a head for numbers. Having a good memory and organization skills also help me manage the store efficiently. But I think that other personal qualities also help me in the business. I’m not the nervous type, so I can stay calm even when the store gets really hectic.

“I’m happy I’m getting the experience now,” continues Shalva, “because I’m learning the skills necessary for success in any business. I think all the experience I’m gaining now will make it easier for me to manage or even open up my own business in the future.”

Graphic artist Malky G. is now a mother, but carved out her career path while still in high school. “I took a course while I was in high school to learn the fundamentals of graphic design, and then started taking on real jobs shortly after. Some personal strengths that really propelled my career forward are creativity and a good eye for color, maturity and reliability, as well as the ability to take the initiative.

“However, it’s never easy to start a business, especially when you’re young,” adds Malky. “To be honest, the learning curve was difficult. I didn’t always have the business know-how and professionalism I have now. Once, for example, I was hired by two young women entrepreneurs to do a job for a low price. My lack of experience in setting realistic prices, as well as poor negotiation and communication skills, worked to my detriment, and sent both parties to an unpleasant din Torah. What I learned from those types of experiences as a teen gave me business smarts for the future and helped prevent things like that from happening again.”