Summer Job Tips for Teens

How Your Teens Can Still Score a Great Job This Summer

How Your Teens Can Still Score a Great Job This Summer

It’s only one week into July and I am wondering if  your teens are already driving you crazy. I have gathered some great tips on how your teens can find a job this summer.

I went to Beth Kobliner for some advice on teens and money. Here are five tips to give your teen so he or she can score a summer job.

1. Start looking now (most jobs will be filled by May and then refilled within the first two weeks of July – so there is still time)!

With the job market this tight, you need to get your resume together right now.

You can find tons of sample resumes online, but the basics to include are your contact information, education, and work experience.

Don’t underestimate what you’ve done. Been a babysitter? Voila, you’re a “childcare provider”!

List your exact duties, like feeding, bathing, and helping with homework (aka “tutoring”).

Shoveled snow or fed a cat for a vacationing neighbor? That shows you’re someone who can be counted on.

List any clubs and activities you participate in, awards you’ve won and special skills, like speaking Spanish or cooking.

Oh, and after you proofread your resume (because of course you were going to do that, right?), get someone else to look at it too. One typo can kill your job prospects.

Then brainstorm two or three people who can serve as references if a potential employer asks.

You can use a former boss, or if you’ve never had a job, a teacher in a class you aced, a Scout leader or soccer coach, or a neighbor you’ve done yard work for.

Sorry, you can’t use Mom or Dad. And (this is important), ask your references ahead of time if it’s OK to list them.

2. Get creative – and network with everyone you know.

Sure, you can hunt the old-fashioned way: Check out your school’s job board, summer internships, and other opportunities offered in the counseling office.

You can also look for jobs online, most cities have a website that is specific to their city. Look there.

But if that doesn’t work, you need to up your game.

Make a list of everyone you know. And everyone they know.

Do your parents’ friends – or your friends’ parents – own businesses that might be hiring? Could your employed friends recommend you to their bosses?

Finally, hit the pavement, asking local stores, restaurants, summer camps, and neighborhood organizations if they’re hiring.

Think seasonal – camps, ice cream stands, parks – and make a personal appearance to stand out from the crowd of anonymous online searchers.

And speaking of appearance: This may sound obvious, but dress nicely. Not a three-piece suit, but keep the midriff under wraps and the sweatpants in the drawer. Oh, and pull your hair back –  most people hiring appreciate a clean appearance. Unless you are working in a tattoo shop. Then, go with how they appear.

3. Don’t be a job snob.

When it comes to summer jobs, don’t hold out for a dream job.
Research shows that if a teenager works between one and 13 weeks in one year, he’s a third more likely to land a job the following year.

So if a job opportunity comes along, say ‘yes’ even if it’s not perfect.

Whatever the job, it’ll look good on a college application because it shows you know how to work hard and take some financial responsibility for yourself.

Plus, it’ll give you a story to tell someday on the Tonight Show, as Michelle Obama did recently when she described perhaps the world’s most boring job, assembling folders in a book bindery.

She hated it so much that it motivated her to go straight to college.

4. Put that paycheck toward “The Big R”.

If you do land a job, and you suddenly have cash in your pocket every week, you may be tempted to blow through it like the Kardashians on a shopping spree.


Reality check: College is around the corner, and saving for it has to be a huge priority.

Estimate what your summer costs will be, including things like gas money and lunches. Then commit to saving most of the rest for college, or your dream trip, and some for even later.

I recommend opening an RRSP account, put $100 per month into it. Don’t roll your eyes, just thank me when you are 40. (Whoa! Retirement? Well, yes, because it’s really just a super-smart savings account that lets your money grow tax-free for life.)

If you’re 16, putting in just $1,000 today and never touching it again could result in $10,921 by the time you hit 65, at a 5% rate of return.

That said, it’s OK to treat yourself to something small on payday.

5. Expect rejection, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Getting rejected when you apply for a job you want doesn’t feel good, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s just a frame of mind. Make a deal with yourself to actually get good at rejection, that way you will push more, ask at businesses you wouldn’t normally ask.

You can still earn money by taking on odd jobs like mowing lawns or babysitting. (Many adults these days find themselves in the “gig economy,” too.)

Consider volunteering, which can give you solid work experience and boost your college application.

Get started at an online list of not for profits in your community.

The bottom line: Just remember that the entire experience of summer job hunting, rejections and all, is important life experience. It’ll help you later when you’re navigating the world of work, which you’ll be doing in one way or another for the rest of your life. And it’ll give you some great stories to tell your kids.

In fact, if your parents haven’t told you yet about their first jobs, ask them. What was their first summer job? And what was the wackiest one they ever had?

I bet you are in for some extreme parental enlightenment.

Parents: What was your first job, and what did you get out of it? Share in the comments below or send me a tweet at @lindaedgecombe

Linda Edgecombe, CSP
Motivational Speaker

Linda Edgecombe
Canadian Speaker Hall of Fame