This could be another challenging summer for teen job-seekers, with high schoolers competing with out-of-work adults for even temporary or seasonal gigs. They’ll need to put their best foot forward to get hired. Here's how you can help.
This could be another challenging summer for teen job-seekers, with high schoolers competing with out-of-work adults for even temporary or seasonal gigs. They’ll need to put their best foot forward to get hired.
That means that parents — while not qualified to dole out fashion advice — might need to step in and help their teens get ready to land that first job.
As you offer assistance, refrain from being too critical. Remind your youngster of her strengths. Let her know, too, that almost no one lands the first job they apply for; if she gets shot down, she should just keep trying.
Why wait to learn the art of networking?Your teen should let everyone know that she’s looking for a summer job. Many teens find work through their parents’ friends or their friends’ parents. Encourage her to apply to as many places as possible, as early in the season as possible. And just like adults, teens may need to adjust their expectations and accept a job that isn’t the stuff of dreams. Of course, they should shoot high and try to land a gig that will give them experience in a field they love. But there’s much to learn from less-than-glamorous jobs. Scope out amusement parks, hotels, state parks and landscaping companies, to name a few options.
The paper trail
Resumes are a great asset, even to the youngest job-seekers.Don’t forget to include volunteer work. If your teen hasn’t worked, a brief list of skills is sufficient instead of a resume. If your state requires your young teen to have “working papers,” have these ready to show potential employers.
Does your teen’s demeanor need some help? No one wants to hire a sullen, muttering teen. “He has to convince the employer that he’s reliable and ready to work,” says Gary Waffle, director of the Office of Employment and Training in Norwich, N.Y. “And don’t go in there cold — learn about the company you’re applying to.” Play the role of the interviewer and ask common questions. Instead of answering that he needs a job to make money, Waffle says, encourage your teen to think about how he’ll relate the summer job to eventual career goals.
The entrepreneurial spirit
Of course, many teens start their own businesses. In the absence of the next billion-dollar Web-based phenomenon, think tried-and-true moneymakers like lawn-mowing, babysitting and dog-walking.