The time is now to take the next steps to build a successful future. Landing the job you want and enjoy takes preparation and planning.

Preparing for a Job


Today, most businesses require identification from you before you can apply for a job. Below is information on how to obtain important documents if you do not have them.

Showing Off Your Skills

Employers are looking for these kinds of qualities in their employees. Find out more below on how to stand out to a potential employer.

  • Everyone has Skills - Visit the CareerZone Portfolio Job Readiness Skills Module to find out which skills you can add to your resume from your previous work, volunteer, or extracurricular experiences. Make sure to create a Portfolio account or sign into your Portfolio account if you’ve already created one to access the Job Readiness Skills Module.
  • Get the Competitive Edge with Soft Skills - Businesses are looking for people with soft skills (good communication, a strong work ethic, and many other skills). Find out how you can gain soft skills today!

Job Application Tips

For many entry level jobs, employers use applications to screen future employees. The information in a job application is used to decide who they are going to call for a job interview. If you want your application to get you an interview, get tips on filling out job applications.

Job Search Tips


Resume and Cover Letter Preparation

Your resume and cover letter show an employer who you are and why they need you. Get tips on words to use on a resume, examples of resumes, and what to put on a cover letter and cover letter examples.

Resume Writing Tips


Additional Services

Some individuals face barriers to employment, ranging from disabilities to a criminal record. The resources below can help you overcome these barriers and successfully join the workforce.

  • The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) - DEI is located in some of the New York State Department of Labor Career Centers and can help people with disabilities in their job search, resume writing, or job applications.
  • Disability Disclosure- This video shows how youth may or may not choose to disclose a disability. Deciding to disclose a disability is a very important decision to make, especially as it relates to your education and employment. 
  • Self-Advocacy- Learn how you can speak up for yourself and communicate your interests, needs, and rights to others. Whether you need help completing your job tasks to learning how you can get transportation assistance, it is important you to be your own self-advocate.
  • If you have previously been arrested, make sure you know if you were a youthful offender and know the difference between an arrest and a conviction. There are still many programs that can help you get a job, like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program or the Federal Bonding Program

Safety and Health

Protect yourself and your rights on the job. Whether you want to make sure you are receiving the right wages or are concerned about a co-worker's health, it is important you know your rights so you can have a great work experience and avoid conflict with your employer. Below are some links that will help you get familiar with your rights on the job.

Health and Wellness for Life Success

Since there are many things going on in your life, it is important to stay healthy and balance your life in order to stay on track. School, home, friends, work, and extracurricular activities are just some the things you need to balance. Below is information that provides tips on dealing with stress, staying healthy, and balancing your life now and in the future.

  • Stress Management - Are you feeling bogged down with homework, sports, applications? This link provides you with tips to decrease stress.
  • Food for Thought - Tired in the morning? Can't make it through that next class? Find out how a balanced diet can help you stay alert and energized throughout the day, as well as keep your mind and body focused.
  • Apply for Health Insurance through NY State of Health - Everyone deserves quality, low-cost health care. It’s an important tool for building strong lives and strong families. NY State of Health is an online marketplace for health plans. If you are 19 or older and live in New York State, it can help you find health insurance at a cost you can afford.

Build Your Future

Career Plan

CareerZone can help you by exploring your strengths, skills and talents with a no-cost, career portfolio account. Learn more about your career interests with the following CareerZone features:

Budgeting and Banking

Budgeting & Banking – It’s never too early to start learning to budget. A good budget can help you plan for the future and save for emergencies, like car repairs or hospital expenses. Below are some tools to help you create and keep a budget.

  • Dollars and Sense Budgeting Tool - This tool in CareerZone can help you create a budget around an occupation or based on life choices.
  • On the Money - Provides information on opening a bank account, credit card and also provides a savings calculator.
  • Five Budgeting Tips - Not sure how to budget or what makes up a budget? This site has tips to help.

Preparation for College

  • High School Equivalency Diploma – Many colleges and universities require you have a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma to attend. You may want to start thinking how you can prepare and take the exam required to obtain a high school equivalency diploma. Select the link above for more information on high school equivalency diplomas in New York State.
  • Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) – Many colleges require you take the SAT as an entrance exam in order to attend. The PSAT is a practice exam that helps you prepare for the SAT. The links above provide information on what the SAT and PSAT are and how you can prepare and sign up for the exams.
  • Financial Aid – It is important to know what financial aid you qualify for to help pay for college. A lot of people end up taking out more loans than they can afford and don’t realize how debt can impact the rest of their lives. It is also important to get financial aid information from trusted resources and websites. Below are some of these trusted websites to help you navigate through the financial aid process:
    • Adult Student Checklist – If you’ve never been to college or started before and did not complete college, this link provides a checklist of activities to look into prior to applying, such as exploring careers and seeing if your employer helps pay for college.
    • Federal Student Aid Portal – Contains information on different types of financial aid (including scholarships ), how to apply for financial aid, and managing student loans.
    • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – This is a form that is prepared annually by current and potential college students ( undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study).
      • Student Aid Estimator - Walks you through different questions about your income, the cost of the colleges you are interested in attending, and other financial questions that lead to an estimate of the federal financial aid you would receive.
      • Start a New FAFSA – This link will direct you to complete a new FAFSA if you are a new college student. If you are a returning college student, you can login to submit a new FAFSA you must resubmit for every school year that you attend and desire financial aid.
  • Check with your School’s Financial Aid/Bursar’s Office – Some colleges and universities may require additional paperwork for you to qualify for financial aid. To make sure you all of the paperwork submitted, contact your school’s Financial Aid/Bursar’s Office.

Exploring Colleges

  • SUNY College Exploration - Want to find out what the State University of New York (SUNY) campus network can offer you as a potential student? Explore community colleges and universities across New York State.
  • CUNY College Exploration - Did you know that New York City has a network of community colleges and four year colleges called The City University of New York (CUNY)? This website will provide you with information on the 23 campuses throughout New York City and help you decide which college suits your interests and career goals.
  • College Match Maker - Helps match a college with what you want to go to school for.
  • College Navigator - Search for colleges based on location, type of degree, public, private, two or four year schools, and other factors that may be important to you on your quest for college.

Apprenticeships and Military Opportunities

  • Apprenticeship: - Find out how apprenticeships can help you gain new skills and earn money in the process.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) training opportunities can lead to careers in auto mechanics, nursing, carpentry, and many other in-demand occupations.
  • Military careers offer the opportunity to travel, get a free or subsidized education while being paid and learning skills.

Digital Identity

Social networks are how people connect with each other whether it's through text messaging, Facebook, or chatting around the lunch table. Social networks connect you to people who could help you find jobs, provide you with resources to find a job, or direct you to their own social network for help. More businesses are searching for candidates and reviewing their profiles on social networks. View a web video on social networking. Below are other resources to help you understand social networking and the importance of your digital identity.

Keep Your Digital-Self Professional- Remember that your social networks connect you to hundreds and thousands of people across the country and the world. Here are some tips on how to make your social networks work for you:

  • Use a formal email address on your resume. It is recommended that you use some form of your name so that a business will remember who you are.
  • Ringback and voicemail messages on your cell phone may sound good to you and your friends, but a potential employer may not call you back if they sound unprofessional. Just have a simple voicemail message with your name and phone number.
  • Have you ever searched for your name on the internet? After a business enters your name into a search engine, they evaluate you based on your social network profile (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter). So keep your profiles appropriate!

So Why Should I Belong to Social Networks? - Social networks can still be fun, but use them to your advantage. Many companies and organizations use social networks to find or attract candidates. Below are a few tips about your social network accounts:

  • Create two different profile accounts: one that's private for friends and family, then a professional account that employers can search for.
  • Learn how to change your privacy settings, and who can and cannot view your profile on the following social network sites:
  • Seek out and join professional organizations and online social networking groups. Ask your contacts who you should meet and ask if you can connect with their contacts. If you do connect with someone, be friendly, respectful and brief. Also be very clear about what you are looking for. Be realistic as a new contact is unlikely to provide a job offer, especially right away. Your goal is to gather valuable information in your field or occupation of interest. Make sure you follow-up. It's your responsibility to keep the communication lines open by touching base every so often updating your contact on your progress with your job search.

Find a Job

Dress for Success

The way you dress for an interview can leave a lasting impression with a business/organization. Below are some helpful resources to help you prepare.

Interview Tips

Need help preparing for your interview? - Interview questions can be stressful if you’re not prepared. The resources below provide interview suggestions to help you get the job.

Searching for a Job

Here are some of the job search websites that can help find a job that's a match for you: