As students were released from classrooms in May, many traded their textbooks for uniforms and their learning for earning. According to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., 994,000 16- to -19-year-olds have seasonal positions so far this summer. If you’re not lucky enough to be in this group, don’t despair: There’s still time to score a summer job.
But landing it likely won’t be a walk in the employment park. Though the number of teens hired in summer has been rising since 2010, it’s still a tough job market. With some gigs paying as much as $200 per day, some people keep their summer jobs for years, even after they have acquired salaried positions, which cuts the number of positions available. And “one of the biggest obstacles teenagers face in today’s job market is the fact that there is more competition from older job seekers, such as recent college graduates as well as retirees,” said Challenger.
But experts say that despite these challenges, teens still have time to score that coveted summer job. Here’s how.
Create a Resume
Many teenagers think that since they do not have previous work experience, a resume is useless, but Elisa Sheftic, president and managing partner of Right Executive Search and creator of PrepareForYourNextInterview.com, says it’s essential. In fact, a resume attached to the general application shows drive and commitment, which are two traits that employers look for when selecting new employees. So what do you include on a resume if you don’t have work experience? Add experiences — like volunteer work, school projects or extracurriculars — that are relevant to the job you want. For example, if the job you’re applying for requires people skills, you might want to mention that you’re president of your student council or head cheerleader.
Be a Social Butterfly
Teenagers should network, says Lucy Yeh, life coach and creator of YehForLife.com. “Inquire with people and businesses who already know you and love you,” says Yeh. “The dentist who cleans your teeth, the pizza place your family goes to every week, the corner froyo joint, even the pet store that sells you Rover’s chewies. Let them know you’re interested in working for them and they may be interested in you.” Sheftic says that teens should “prepare and practice an “elevator speech,” so that when they meet adults they can mention with poise and confidence that they are high school students interested in obtaining part-time jobs..”
Work the Web
Use the internet and social media to job hunt, says Sheftic. “There are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that high school students may find helpful,” says Sheftic. “[The groups] may include specific town groups, interest groups or even their parents college alumni groups, where their parents can post a message that their son or daughter is looking for a part-time job.” Sites like SnagAJob and About.com’s Job Search have a special section for teens to find opportunities in their area.
Despite fewer opportunities in traditional retail settings, there are many non-traditional settings where teens can find employment, says Challenger. You can create your own job by doing things like cleaning pools, gardening, mowing lawns or helping adults learn social media skills or start a blog. Advertise your services on Facebook (and ask your parents to do the same) or put up fliers around the neighborhood.
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