tips for teens with time on their hands.The days are getting longer and the sun is peeking out a bit more. With summer right around the corner, it’s time for your teens to start thinking about what they can do to earn some money in their free time. It’s also beneficial for them to consider the type of career they would like to have in the future, as there may be an opportunity today for them to find out what working in their field of interest is really like.
There are important considerations and to-dos when job-seeking. You can share the following tips with your teens whether they are looking for summer jobs or part-time after-school work.
1 Get your papers together. You will need your driver’s license and social security card. You might also need additional photo identification such as a passport or school ID. In some states you also need a signed permission form from your parents or guardian. Some jobs require a school form that is a work permit, which you can discuss with your guidance counselor.
2 Prepare a resume. Although many part-time or temporary jobs don’t require one, having a resume might help you stand out in the crowd. Include your school experiences or other activities that make you a good fi t for the job for which you’re applying. You can refer to online worksheets to help you create a nicely formatted resume.
3 Plan your wardrobe. Dressing for success if you’re a teen is not as formal as it might be for an adult, but you want to have that positive edge on the other applicants. Your clothes should be tasteful and conservative. Avoid trendy items or jewelry. You want to be memorable in a good way — not because the interviewer couldn’t stop looking at the super-oversized watch you wore!
4 Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the company and/ or job you are seeking. It’s also important to consider your career interests. If you think you may want to go into the health care field, looking into jobs that require caring for people may help you understand what it’s like and whether you’re passionate about pursuing it. It will also help you meet people in that field who can share real-life stories that might be useful in determining the best colleges to apply to or how to shape your academics to support a certain career.
5 Practice what you will say in the interview.Think about why you are the best candidate for the job, and then practice how you would deliver that message. You want to promote yourself without putting down others. Have examples of what you have studied or experienced that will make you an ideal fit for that particular team or agency.
6 Plan your strategy. You have your resume, job pitch and outfit ready. Now it’s time to start hitting the road to submit your applications and get ready for interviews. You can learn from every application and every situation. Fill out as many applications as you can so you know which questions are most common and you have the correct information with you at all times. Be prepared for the interview, even if you think you are just submitting the application.
7 Use online job search databases and local employment agencies. This might give you new options that you hadn’t even thought about before.
8 Spread the word about your job search. Ask family and friends for contacts, especially if you are looking at jobs not traditionally sought out by teens. This is called “networking” and someone might know someone else who is hiring, so use all your resources.
9 Learn to handle rejection and competition. There are lots of people looking for jobs, and many may have prior experience or other skills that put them ahead of you. It’s not personal if you are rejected. Start early and be prepared at every step to improve your chances. You may be competing against college students and retired folks, so just keep putting in those applications.
10 Follow up. Whether you submitted your application online or in person, send a thank-you note after an interview to restate how much you appreciated the opportunity to meet with the company rep. Verify your follow-up numbers and address.
Many teens are just looking for afterschool and summer opportunities, so finding available jobs is often hard. Areas to explore include the following.
1 Fast food restaurants. Jobs are often minimum wage, but they can still start off your resume. Learning to run a cash register, take orders, meet the public and cook and clean based on local laws and requirements can really add to future employment opportunities.
2 Local retail outlets. Teens are often hired in music stores, clothing stores and video rental shops. Such jobs help them develop skills in dealing with the public and learning local laws and customs for sales.
3 Public libraries. Often the library needs help with computers, re-shelving books, and copying materials. Teens can perform these tasks, while having a chance to prove they’re dependable by showing up on time and completing assigned tasks.
4 Movie theaters. Although a teen might expect to just watch movies all day, movie theater jobs usually include selling tickets, collecting tickets at the door, working the concession stand and sweeping up after the show.
5 Lifeguard opportunities. A lifeguard must have CPR certification and good swimming skills.
6 Offices. A family member can often help get a teen a summer internship in an office. Tasks may include computer keyboarding, delivering and even writing.
Remind your teens that they need to take every job seriously, and that they must always be good employees. Being on time is critical, and being a teenager does not excuse you from good work habits. Plan on completing all tasks given to you, seeking out work if you are caught up with your assignments, and looking at every employment opportunity as a chance to meet new people and build knowledge for the next phase of your life.
Terea Giannetta, DNP, CPNP, is the Chief NP at Children’s Hospital Central California with practice in Hematology for over 22 years, and is an Associate Professor at California State University, Fresno, where she is faculty and PNP Program Coordinator.