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by Abigail Van Buren

Teens Out Looking for Jobs May Need a New Attitude

DEAR ABBY: It's summer vacation time, and many high school graduates probably are still out looking for jobs. Two or three years ago, you published some good advice for young people on how to dress, how to act and what to say when applying for a job. I cut it out to save, and now I can't find it. I have a grandson I want to send it to. Please print it again. It could help me -- and a lot of young people. Thank you. -- DULUTH GRANDPARENT

DEAR GRANDPARENT: The advice to which you refer first appeared in William Raspberry's column. He quoted Karen Rak, a high school English teacher in Strongsville, Ohio, who composed a letter from an employer to let youthful job seekers see themselves as they are seen. I am pleased to print it again. It deserves as much exposure as it can get: "DEAR KID: Today you came to me for a job. From the look of your shoulders as you walked out, I suspect you've been turned down before, and maybe you believe by now that kids your age can't find jobs.

"But I hired a teen-ager today. You saw him. What was so special about him? Not experience; neither of you had any. Attitude, son. A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E. He did his best to impress me. That is where he edged you out.

"He wasn't dressed like Easter Sunday, but then that wasn't necessary. His clothes were clean, and he had gotten a haircut. He filled out the application form neatly and completely. He did not ask to borrow a pen. He carried his Social Security card, had basic identification and did not ask, 'What's a reference?'

"He didn't start to chew gum or smoke while being interviewed. He didn't keep looking at his watch, giving me the impression that he had something more important to do.

"He took the time to find out how we 'operate' here and what his day-to-day tasks would be. I think he'll keep his eyes open and work for me like he'd work for himself.

"He was willing to start at that point where I could afford to pay. Someday, perhaps, he'll get to the point where he'll have more authority over others and a better paycheck.

"You know, kid, men have always had to get a job like you get a girl: case the situation, wear a clean shirt and try to appear reasonably willing.

"Maybe jobs aren't as plentiful right now, but there are jobs. You may not believe it, but all around you employers are looking for young men and women smart enough to go after a job in the old-fashioned way.

"If you have even the vaguest idea of what I'm trying to say, let it show the next time you ask for a job. You will be head and shoulders above the rest.

"For both our sakes, get eager, will you? -- THE BOSS"