Does Your Teen Need a Job? Think Outside the Fast-Food Box
Knowing the competition, where to look for jobs, and utilizing resources can help you score some extra cash and experience.
Entry-level jobs for teens traditionally include positions in fast-food venues like McDonald's and Dairy Queen, or stores like Costco and Home Depot. Teens looking for jobs may find themselves up against interesting competition: mom and dad, or even grandparents. Older people who are unemployed or underemployed, or retirees looking for a little extra income, are often taking entry-level jobs.
Where are the jobs?
It's not impossible for teens to find jobs - it just means digging a little deeper. JOIN – Job Opportunities in Nevada – works with Northern Nevada teens ages 16 to 21 who are looking for work, including a program for youth who have graduated or left school. Monthly workshops teach the basics: interview skills, résumé building, work-appropriate dress and Internet job searches. In Southern Nevada, Nevada Workforce Connections offers youth programs. Online searches can produce a variety of employment skills classes in both Northern and Southern Nevada at community colleges and listed through local chambers of commerce.
Job searching has changed. Teens need to be more persistent and thorough. The days of walking into a business and filling out an application are gone. Most employers use online applications.
Thinking outside the fast food box
An unpaid internship or volunteer position can pay teens back in abundance as they move toward college or the professional, post-education job market. If they can pull it off financially, an unpaid internship can be the key to success that opens the door to connections and experience.
Teens need to do their market research, identify the careers they're interested in and start calling the professionals and businesses they're interested in. Ask if it's possible to job-shadow a professional one day a week, or interview the professional – people who love their jobs love to talk about them.
No internships? Volunteer. Clean up the beauty salon once a week, help out at the animal shelter or local veterinarian office. Even if a volunteer position doesn't lead to paying employment, it shows initiative, often offers leadership experience and gives teens skills and references to list on a resume. Many colleges expect to see volunteer experience on a college application.
Parents can help
While the jobs are out there, parents whose teens are struggling to find work need some patience and understanding. Parents need to note the number of places their teen is applying, the number of rejections and the content of those rejections. Is the teen getting rejected because there are no jobs, or because of the way they present themselves?
Parents can help out by sitting down and talking with their teens about work ethic, interviewing skills, résumé preparation, appropriate dress, and other work-related topics, and suggesting their teens take advantage of employment organizations that can help.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC