How To Get Your Teen Out Of Your Hair And Into The Job Market

By: Sandra Clair

Tired of seeing your teen sitting at the computer all day or using all your cell phone minutes chatting up her BFFs? Maybe it's time for her to get a job.

Of course, getting your teen to work instead of play during the summer can be a hard sell. Encourage her to find a job by reminding her that the extra money she makes can be used to buy things like her own cell phone, that early work experience looks great on a resume and on a college application, and that, since you don't expect her to work full time, she will still have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the summer with her friends.

If that doesn't work, mention that if she doesn't get serious about looking for work outside the home, you've got plenty of work to keep her busy inside the home. That should motivate her.

Getting Started

Help your teen do a self evaluation. What are his strengths and interests? Is he great with kids, or does he love to build things? Thinking about these preferences will help your teen come up with jobs he might want to do.

Next, consider practicalities. Are you willing to drive your child to work or loan him the car? If not, she will have to look for jobs within walking or busing distance.

Help your teen build a killer resume, featuring their greatest strengths, academic achievements, community involvement, awards and scholarships, etc. Remind him to feature any relevant experience he may have had. For instance, if he wants to take care of kids, he could mention that he's the oldest in a family of six and has been babysitting his siblings for a long time.

The Job Hunt

Help your teen come up with a list of potential job contacts. This will depend on the type of work she wants to do. If she wants to work in a fast food restaurant, for instance, pick a day to drive her around to the fast food chains in your area and collect applications. If she wants to babysit, you need to talk self-marketing and cold calling. Or teach your teen how to read the help wanted ads and separate out the legitimate job opportunities from the scams. Finally, don't be shy about using your own influence to open doors. Maybe you know your boss is looking for a mail clerk or your secretary needs someone to stay with her new four year old son while she goes to a book discussion group.

If there is a job application to be filled out, encourage your teen to complete it promptly and neatly. When returning a copy of the job application, your teen should also attach a copy of her resume (see above).

If your teen is invited for a job interview, explain that an interview allows the potential employer to meet your teen and vice versa. The employer and your teen will both be scoping each other out, trying to decide if the job is a good match. Remind your teen that the employer will probably be interviewing several candidates and that your teen shouldn't be too disappointed if she doesn't get the first few jobs she interviews for. After all, practice makes perfect.

You can help your teen avoid some job interview anxiety by rehearsing questions potential employers might ask and suggesting ways to phrase the answers in the most positive light. Or have your teen interview you, so you can show her how a successful interview is done.

Remind your teen to go to the job interview well-groomed and dressed in appropriate clothes. She doesn't need to wear a business suit to interview at Mickey D's, but a pair of cut off shorts and a t-shirt with a stain on it is a little too casual.

Conclusion:

A summer job will allow your teen to make extra money and help him learn responsibility. With a little motivation, your couch potato could become the next Bill Gates. But for now, it's enough that he has gone from being a pain in your neck to being a productive member of society.

Careers and Job Hunting
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