Sue Scheff: Summer Jobs Scare for Teens

It seems today economy will soon effect the summer jobs our teens look forward to. Well, most teens look forward to. Connect with Kids offers some great tips to start looking for your summer employment. Parents, take a moment to read and learn how your teen can get a jump this summer. Having a summer job can help build self esteem, learn responsibility and accountability. No matter what your financial status is, a sense of self worth that job can bring a teenage can be so important in building their maturity and giving them a good foundation in life.

“It’s a difficult job market, but don’t give up. Look longer and work harder to find [a job]. There are some, but you’re going to have to commit yourself in a much more focused way than maybe in the past.”

– Michael Thurmond, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Labor

They look through newspapers, scan the Internet, and drive around looking for “Help Wanted” signs. There aren’t many out there.

“I looked for a summer job for probably about a month and a half,” says 16-year-old Julie Wells.

“I had an extremely hard time finding a job,” adds 16-year-old Chelsea Coleman.

They’re not alone. Experts say finding a job is going to be tough this summer.

“Our teens in this nation are facing the worst job market in recent memory … since World War II,” says Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor, Michael Thurmond.

This summer, experts predict most teens will not find a job, compared to eight years ago when nearly half of all teens were employed.

The reason is no surprise. As the recession ends, adults who have been unemployed for months -- or longer -- are taking low-level jobs that were once the domain of teens.

“Teenagers all across this country are being forced … to compete with better skilled, more educated adults,” says Thurmond, “and there are fewer jobs to be sought in the beginning.”

But he does have some advice. First, teens shouldn’t give up. The job search may take longer, and they may not get the job of their choice, but there are still opportunities. Second, if you can’t find a paying job, volunteer for a non-profit organization. It’s one way to show future employers that you have what it takes.

“Committed to showing up on time, doing a good job, respecting authority,” says Thurmond.

Tips for Parents

Perhaps the most difficult and most important step in getting a job may be the interview itself. There are many things you can do make a good impression with an interviewer. Consider the following, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (WDWD):

Do your homework on the company. Ask the personnel or business office for printed materialp; talk with an employee; check the public library; go to the company website. The more you know about the company, the better you’ll do in an interview. You’ll sound intelligent, up to date, and the interviewer may recognize the hard work you did in preparing – and that will make a more favorable impression.

Practice interviewing with a family member or friend – especially one who has been successful in getting jobs and will offer you honets feedback and helpful suggestions.

Bring your resume, a work record and names of references.

Dress conservatively – a dress, suit, or nice pants and a blouse (women) or a suit or trousers and a neat shirt (men). Do not wear "fad" or flamboyant clothes.

Report for your interview on time – and alone.

Answer the employer's questions honestly and briefly. Don't talk about personal matters unless asked. Do tell about your qualifications completely – without exaggeration.

If the first interview does not lead to a job offer, don't get discouraged. Few people get the first job they apply for – and often not the second or third, either.

Think about each interview and determine what made a good impression – and what you could improve. Some people even suggest calling the interviewer to ask for helpful feedback. Then try again for another job.

Finding summer jobs can be daunting for students. When summer break rolls around, the job market suddenly becomes saturated with adolescents all vying for the same openings.
Therefore, it’s important to know what will help you most in getting a job. Experts at the WDWD have developed the following tips for you to share with your child:

For the best chance at private industry job, students should start looking in late winter or early spring. Large businesses usually have personnel offices that will take applications early. Your child should check back with the company regularly.

Sometimes students can get priority for summer jobs by working part-time or on Saturdays during the school year.

Small firms may not take applications until they are ready to hire, but checking early will let employers know your child is interested. Your child can also find out the best time to apply and what his/her chances are.

Here’s a useful exercise: have your child make a list of things he/she has to offer an employer – specific skills, personality/attitude, work or volunteer experience, and anything he/she has learned in or out of school that may be useful on a job. For example, typing skills, working around cars or machines, or helping children.

Tell your child to talk with a teacher or counselor about jobs in the area. Your child should ask how he/she can put his/her skills and talents to work. Teachers and counselors may be able to suggest fields that are right for your child.

Encourage your child to create a type of resume to give to interviewers. It should include work experience, names and addresses of previous employers, volunteer work, and personal references. Teachers and adult friends are good reference choices; relatives should not be listed. Tell your child to always ask permission before using anyone as a reference.

Georgia Department of Labor
Quintessential Careers
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

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