You are at a interview for a job, and the interviewer suddenly asks you one of the easiest yet hardest questions, "So why should we hire you to work for us?"

That's when we all tend to freeze. Selling yourself to an employer shouldn't be as hard as we all make it. Just list key characteristics about yourself that will benefit the working environment you're looking to enter.

With the economy like it is, getting a job is more difficult than in the past. So being ready and willing to work whenever an potential employer needs you is really important.

Some teens may put down that they can only work Sunday through Thursday; they want to stay free for plans on the weekend. They may also put that they can work after 10 a.m. on the weekends because they want to sleep in. Well having a job means having a flexible schedule. Make sure you put down any hours you can work, and not only the hours you want to work.

There are tons of people struggling to find work, so make sure you list as many good features about yourself as you can.

But some people may state qualities about themselves that are not true. Saying you can cook and not being able to, is a lie. Selling yourself and lying are two different things, its all about how you answer the question.

It's very easy to turn a negative view into something positive. If someone asks if you can cook, instead of saying "no," say, "No, I cannot, but I love to try new things, and I'm a fast learner."

Having the right attire for an interview or your first day can make a good impression. Do not show up wearing ripped jeans and a sweatshirt. I'm not saying to wear a suit or a fancy dress, but wearing a nice pair of jeans and a decent shirt will make you look more put together.

A critical characteristic to have at your job is the right attitude. It may be boring and you might want to be doing 10 other activities besides working, but having a poor attitude will get you nowhere.

Remember that the perfect job doesn't exist for many. Just about everyone has to deal with some type of shortcoming.

Looking forward to having your own money and freedom is exciting.

But with that said, having money does come with responsibility. You not only need to save some of your income, but have the knowledge to know how and when to save it. Talk to your parents about saving and see what they suggest.

The responsibility continues when it comes to transportation.

If you don't have a license and your own car, your parents may not always be there to bring you to and from work, so you need to have a backup plan.

Whether you are walking, catching the public bus or riding your bike, having a job means having certain obligations, and being on time is one of them.

Applying for job after job can be very frustrating, but don't give up. Keep applying for jobs with the same amount of pride you had when you applied to your first one.

Having the freedom, in the end, is worth it all.

Melissa Flathmann is a junior at Oneonta High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an e-mail at melissa_flath@yahoo.com or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.

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