Earlier I posted on whether or not teenagers should work.
My comment there was that my daughter was offered several jobs after only a handful of interviews.
One of the commentators on CareerandKids suggested that I post tips about what we did to help her find a job, so that is what I am doing today.
First, a few disclaimers.
- Disclaimer number one. We live in a rather large metropolitan area. I really do think that makes a difference. If you live in a small town with only one or two businesses that hire teenagers, you may not have the same experience.
- Disclaimer number two. I’m not talking about helping my daughter find her first career job here. This is about a job for a teenager who wants some extra spending money.
With the disclaimers out of the way, here are the methods we used to help our daughter find a job:
- Professional appearance. Even it’s a job in fast food (which is where my daughter got hired) it’s important to look professional when you go in to apply. If the teen has piercings in unusual places (my daughter doesn’t) remove the jewelry while the teen is applying for work. If the teen has tattoos (my daughter doesn’t), cover them. Have the teen wear conservative clothing — that means no shorts, revealing clothing, or torn or dirty clothing.
- Flexibility of Schedule. I think too many teens come in wanting the employer to accommodate their social life and any extra-curricular activities they might have. Most employers won’t do this. If a teen has one activity, an employer may be willing to work around it. But, they surely like teens who call off from work because they have a date. We stressed that working was an important commitment and that her employer was counting on her.
- Practice the application process. Before my daughter even filled out her first application, we had her fill out practice applications (you can find these online and print them off). We also did a practice interview with her where we asked her questions that we thought an employer might ask. If we thought her answer was incomplete, we suggested a better way to answer the question.
- Respect. We really stressed that our daughter show respect for any potential employers. We even went to the extent of suggesting that she use “sir” or “ma’am.” She had to thank her interviewer for taking the time to talk with her. We live in a society where respect and courtesy are becoming less and less common. One way to help your child stand out is if they are polite.
What if your child still can’t find work? Well, you can always try the creative approach. Many teens start their own businesses mowing lawns, babysitting, or running errands. I found this article on one creative teen who earns money from blogging very interesting.
What do you think? Do you have a teen who works? Have they had trouble getting a job? Leave a comment and let me know.
Contents (c) Copyright 2007, Laura Spencer. All rights reserved.