Summer vacation isn’t coming up yet, but your teenager is already talking about getting a job. After spending the last few summers watching your kiddo sleep until noon, texting his or her friends for hours at a time and struggling to do the most basic chores, you could not be happier about your teen’s desire to work.
In order to help your teenager find a great job that suits his or her personality and navigate the often-stressful hiring process, check out these tips and ideas:
In the world of teenage employment, some jobs are definitely better than others. While some teens are happy to bag groceries at the nearest supermarket, others would like to work at a hotel, summer camp program or local hardware store. Talk with your teen about different jobs to try to figure out which positions might be best.
Research various companies and point out what makes them a great place to work — or maybe one to avoid. Company websites and social sites can give them insight into the company culture, although some are (too strongly) building brands around teen communities and products. Offer an example of a diverse company’s LinkedIn page (Amway’s page is a good starting block) to show your teen how to find current employees who make hiring decisions, and network accordingly.
Remind your teen that he or she does not have to be limited to traditional teenage jobs like holding signs on street corners or making burgers at a fast food joint; it is also possible to look for work that relates to any future goals like maybe being an assistant at a veterinarian’s office.
Help your teen develop a resume, cover letter, and portfolio that are eye-catching and can help land a job. Volunteer to be the editor and make sure the resume is free of typos and misspellings and that it looks and sounds professional but watch out for companies that market to teens solely. To help your teen who might not have any official previous work experience, create a resume that highlights important points. You can Google “teenage resume templates” with your teen, or check out the example at Teens 4 Hire.
Help your teen brainstorm about the many positive things to add to a resume, such as any volunteer work, previous job experience like house sitting for the neighbors or babysitting, and strengths and strong points like punctuality and responsibility and any extracurricular activities and don’t scare away your teen from discussing things at home.
As you drive around doing errands with your teen, point out any “Now Hiring” signs you see in storefronts or posters located inside the stores. These signs will often list the open positions.
If your local newspaper has a classified section, look at the want ads together. Craigslist can be hit or miss for jobs, but you can definitely spend some time on the site with your teen, pointing out potential positions. You can also walk through your local mall together looking for places where your teen would like to work and also watching for “Help Wanted” signs.
Help your teen put together an ideal outfit for job hunting and interviews. While they don’t have to look as formal as adults during an interview, it’s important for teens to be dressed conservatively and look their best. Not all teenage brains will understand that yet.
Spend some time roleplaying not only job interviews but also the initial contact with the store manager—pretend to be the manager and have your teen talk to you about the “Help Wanted” sign in the window and how he or she wants to apply for the job. When your teen is ready to go to some different stores to pick up applications, remind him or her to dress nicely and be ready for an on-the-spot interview; sometimes managers will want to talk to applicants right then and if your teen is presentable and poised, he or she might get hired on the spot.