Tips For Teenagers: Getting A Summer Job

From types of seasonal work to filling out applications to interviewing, these tips will help teenagers get a summer job no matter what their experience level.

Summer jobs help teenagers explore career choices, learn money management, and develop teamwork and other responsible skills. With proper preparation, a positive attitude, and intimate knowledge of the summer job market, teenagers can easily land an enjoyable job that leads to even better opportunities.

Getting a summer job starts long before filling out applications. Because teens have little or no previous work history, prospective employers examine grades, classes, and extracurricular activities when deciding whom to hire. High grades in difficult classes demonstrate responsibility and hard work, since students cannot score well without good attendance and study skills that can help them learn new job tasks. Extracurricular activities show teamwork and initiative, both excellent employee qualities. Managing several after-school activities also shows time management skills, but too many activities may indicate that you don't have enough time to balance a job.

The first step toward finding a summer job is knowing where to look. The best jobs for teens are businesses that need extra summer help because of tourism or vacationers. Golf courses, resorts, ice cream parlors, movie theaters, public pools, zoos, museums, and amusement parks are all good choices. Fast food restaurants, libraries, animal shelters, and telemarketing firms continually need help, and starting a summer job there may mean continuing to work during the school year.

Another option is to start your own summer business. Mowing lawns, doing housework, and babysitting are all great opportunities for teens. To get these types of jobs, advertise your services with neighbors, teachers, and other adults who may appreciate the assistance. Set a fair price, and describe exactly what you provide so you do not disappoint customers who have different expectations. If they want you to do more, you can arrange a different price. When working for yourself, you must have the self-discipline to be on time, be a good worker, and learn how to do better. The more you please your customers, the more likely they are to call you again.

If you are more interested in getting experience than a paycheck, volunteer opportunities are a great way to work during the summer. Animal shelters, veterinarians, hospitals, day care centers, youth programs, libraries, and senior care centers are only a few places that look for volunteers. This allows you to explore different types of jobs, and next summer you can list volunteering on your application or resume for paying jobs. Some volunteer jobs even become paying jobs if you are a great employee!

When deciding where you'd like to work, remember that being an employee is making a commitment. You should pick jobs you are interested in, ones that won't be boring or annoying after a few days. Hobbies, interests, and skills can all lead to fun job opportunities if you know where to look.

The next step is filling out applications. Apply early for the best jobs, because many teens will be trying to get the same job and employers want to fill positions as soon as possible. The longer you can work, the better your chances of being hired: employers don't like to hire someone who needs time off for family vacations, camp, or other commitments. If you can work during evenings or weekends, of if you can continue to work during school, you may have an edge over your competition.

Fill out the form completely with your best handwriting and watch out for careless spelling errors. Include any clubs, honors, and activities that are related to the job such as computer skills, different languages, volunteer activities, or personal experience. Many applications include an assessment test that evaluates different situations including theft, integrity, punctuality, and teamwork. These tests are an important part of the application and you should answer each question honestly.

Some employers ask for a resume, even if you don't have any prior work experience. That's okay! Include your full name, address, and telephone number, and list your honors, awards, and other achievements along with previous jobs and volunteer experience. Include your expected graduation date, grade point average, and any extra skills you have such as swimming, foreign language, photography, or other helpful hobbies. Finally, include references such as a school counselor, teacher, minister, or other adult who has known you for years and could tell a prospective employer about the type of person you are. Ask everyone's permission first to ensure they don't mind being listed as references.

Some employers will be willing to interview you immediately, so you should always be dressed nicely and prepared to talk with them even if you're just picking up or turning in an application. Answer their questions honestly, and speak clearly without slang to demonstrate how you will interact with customers if you are hired. Dress professionally: clean, neat clothes, preferably dress slacks or a modest skirt with a plain shirt. Do not wear a lot of makeup or jewelry, and tie any loose hair back from your face. Most jobs require a dress code, even if they supply a uniform, and you need to demonstrate that you can dress for success.

One of the most important things you bring to an interview is your attitude. Most employers will ask why you want the job, and showing your enthusiasm with a smile helps them understand how you feel about the work. At the end of the interview, always thank them and shake hands even if they say you're not quite right for the position. You never know when they might change their mind!

Getting a first job is never easy, especially for teenagers with no work history and very little experience. Many seasonal businesses are willing to hire teens, however, if they demonstrate responsibility, a good work ethic, and enthusiasm. With good grades, early applications, proper dress, and a realistic outlook, teens can land summer jobs that not only provide steady income, but also pave the way to better job opportunities next summer.

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