The job market for teens is slow. Jobs traditionally given to teens are going to older workers who are willing to take low paying employment to make end’s meat. Also, establishments that usually add summer help are also the places (retail, theme parks, and the hospitality industry) where Americans hit by the recession are cutting back on spending.
Finding work is hard. Parents need to be supportive and realize what a difficult time it is to find a work. Kids need to get out of the house and pound the pavement. Finding a job is a job itself.
How does a teen land a summer job in today’s tough market? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Be prepared and have a plan.
a. Put together a simple resume. You do have something to brag about, just figure out what it is. This also sets you apart from other job seekers because you have done something different.
b. Look presentable—first impressions matter. You don’t need to wear a suit but dress like you deserve a job!
c. Act like an adult – speak properly, say yes sir or mam, look prospective employers in the eye, and shake hands.
d. Be prepared for no. Finding a job is a right place/right time deal, rejection should not be taken personally—it is part of the process.
e. Follow up – ask for the manager’s card, send a short email, and check back in person the next week.
2. Put a new twist on an old tradition. Use social media to network. Get on Facebook and ask your friends if they know who might be hiring.
3. Work for free—seriously. Volunteering for a cause is rewarding but also consider trying on your dream job. For example, if you want to be a lawyer, knock on some doors and offer to assist at no charge. Treat it like a job and you may eventually get paid. This will also build great resume material.
4. Start a business – “work” the neighborhood and do odd jobs. This is a great way to meet others in your community and learn how to build a business from the ground up including marketing, book keeping, and customer service.
5. Check out “cool” summer job websites. For the industrious and older teen, there are some really unique opportunities such as rustling cattle in the west or being a camp counselor at Sea World. For the younger teen, thinking about these jobs now will help pave the way to a strong application next summer.