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Summer Jobs for Teens
Long before the swimsuits and flip-flops make their appearance, many teenagers are looking for summer jobs. The competition is tough, so how can you help your child find a job that is safe, interesting and at least reasonably profitable?
First, consider how much your teen will be available to work. Summer school, family vacations and sports or other activities consume more and more free time for many young people. You and your child need to talk about finding a balance between these activities and earning money. Talk about how much your child needs to or would like to earn over the summer, so you know whether a particular job has the appropriate hours and pay.
Consider also what your child wants to get out of the work experience. Is he just trying to make some money, or does he want to take a job that provides him with experience and contacts in a particular field? Would he consider an internship, even if it paid little or nothing, in order to get that experience?
Your child will probably need a resume. And even if she doesn’t, it is good experience for her to put one together. You may be able to help her decide what to highlight on the resume, but don’t do the work for her.
Once some basic parameters have been established, your child can start his job hunt. His school counselor may be an excellent source of information about jobs. Many employers contact local schools for help in filling summer jobs, so have your child start with a trip to the counselor’s office.
Park districts are another source of summer jobs. Your child should check with park districts in your town and surrounding towns to inquire about positions as a camp counselor, maintenance person, lifeguard, etc. Some of these positions require special training, which the park district may provide.
Retail and wait staff positions also make up a big chunk of the teen job market. Your child should inquire about employment possibilities at stores or eateries that he frequents.
Entrepreneurial teens may want to start their own business. Babysitting and lawn mowing are the more common teen enterprises, but your teen might want to consider putting her talents to work in some other way. For example, could she give piano lessons, or teach tennis? It can be a valuable experience to decide how to price the services and work on getting the word out and building a clientele.
What if your teen wants to do something more adventurous? One excellent place to look is coolworks.com. This site lists jobs by regions of the United States, and it also includes jobs overseas. The focus is on fun jobs, many of them at popular vacation destinations. Some possibilities: a crew member on a river excursion down the Mighty Mississippi, a trail guide at a dude ranch, or a job in a national park. Some of the jobs require applicants to be at least 18, but there is a section on jobs for younger teens, as well as information on internships and volunteering.
And of course, your teen can always search the Web for other sites listing jobs in your area, or in an area that interests him.
A few words of caution, though. Not all jobs are safe jobs for kids, and not all kids can handle working and balancing the rest of their life. Make sure to check out any job your child takes. Talk to your teen about her experiences on the job, and keep an eye out for signs of stress. If your child seems overwhelmed, talk with her about how to manage her load.