I don’t have a teen yet. My son, Connor, is 12.
But when he hits 15 or 16, I’m going to make sure he gets a summer job. It would drive me crazy to see Connor sleeping till noon, watching TV and playing video games all summer.
It ain’t going to happen.
If you have a teen, you may be sweating his or her summer job prospects. Well, this year, you can breathe a little easier. Jobs are more plentiful, experts say.
“Companies are doing better and have more room to hire teens. It’s not a breakout year, but there’s steady improvement in the job market and teens will get their share of that,” says John Challenger, head of a Chicago job placement company, in the Sacramento Bee.
About 1.2 million teens could be hired this summer – up 20 percent from 2010, according to a survey by his firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
National companies such as Petco, Sports Authority and Jamba Juice are all taking on teens, according to the article.
The employment network Snagajob also released an optimistic report on summer jobs. Almost 30 percent of hiring managers surveyed said teens would have an easier time finding a summer job this year.
“There’s been a pickup in the job market, and the Snagajob summer job survey shows improving employer confidence,” says Shawn Boyer, the firm’s chief executive officer.
Ideally, your teen has already begun a job search. Even though more jobs are available this summer, they fill up fast.
With June 1 approaching, tell your son or daughter to kick the job search into high gear if he or she hasn’t begun.
US News & World Report offers several tips for teens seeking a job. Among them: be flexible. Teens shouldn’t shy away from taking a job they don’t love or working nights and weekends.
Another tip: network. For years, adults have heard about the value of mining their contacts when looking for a job. The same holds true for teens.
“Parents should encourage their kids to let friends, family, and neighbors know that they’re looking for a job,” says Rick Parker of Snagajob in the article.”You never know where that connection is going to come from.”
As a parent, you can have a huge influence on whether your teen lands a job. Be encouraging and supportive. Question your son or daughter on their ideal summer job. Then tell them they may have to settle for something else.
Let them know it’s normal to go on multiple interviews before landing a job. Even if your teen is unsuccessful in getting a job, the search process is valuable and will serve them well in the future.
Do you remember your first summer job as a teen?
I do. It was mowing yards in my neighborhood. My dad bought me a Sears Craftsman mower, and I knocked on a few dozen doors, soliciting business.
Some people were nice, some weren’t. I wound up with 10 lawns, allowing me to mow two yards a day from Monday through Friday. I charged about $15, so I grossed $150 a week in cash – not bad for a 14-year-old back in 1972.
What did I learn?
First, that I didn’t want to work outdoors in the blistering summer heat the rest of my life. Second, I learned responsibility. I had to keep track of which lawns had to be mowed on which days. If my mower or edger broke down, I had to figure out a way to fix it myself or get it fixed.
As I got older, I worked in restaurants and grocery stores during the summer. Each job taught me the work world.
This summer, your teen may not want a job. Tough. Teens need to get one – or at least look hard. Not only will your son or daughter make some money, he or she will learn lifelong lessons about interacting with others in the workplace.
Now’s your chance to have a positive impact on your teen. Step up and do it.
Photo courtesy of Namtoagawen via Creative Commons