School will be out for the summer before we know it, which leaves many parents with a dilemma: should they encourage their teen to get a summer seasonal job? Summer employment for teens has been a dying trend in recent years. Research from Childtrends.org shows that in in 1999 35.5% of high school students held summer seasonal jobs. That number has steadily dropped since then, and as of 2015 only 18% of high school students held summer seasonal jobs. There are multiple factors contributing to this, which include the economy and increased pressure for high school students to excel academically. The fact that many teenagers are difficult to motivate probably plays a part as well.
Is Your Teen Ready for the Working World?
Before you figure out how to motivate your teen to find a summer job, you first need to assess whether they are ready to be employed. Consider any summer school or extracurricular activities they have, and whether working may overwhelm them. If you feel they can’t quite handle the responsibility of a job yet, but would like them to gain some skills and experience in the working world, volunteering is a great alternative. If you feel that your teen should be employed, you can take steps to motivate your teen to find a summer job. But it’s best not to try to force them into working if they are completely opposed to the idea.
Ways to Motivate Your Teen to Find a Summer Job
It can be a challenge trying to motivate your teen to find a summer job. There are numerous benefits that teenagers gain from working summer seasonal jobs, and enforcing these can help inspire them. Below are some of the top benefits:
- The earlier they enter the job market, the easier it is likely to be for them to gain future employment.
- Earning their own money teaches them the importance of the almighty dollar and how to manage it. Earning money will also allow them to enjoy their summer more.
- Summer seasonal jobs can help teens gain professional contacts that they can use for networking in the future.
- They will develop skills and experience in the working world they can use to build a resume.
- They will learn how to be a part of a team, and get along with all different types of people.
- They will learn more about themselves, and their strengths and weaknesses. Summer seasonal jobs help teens build confidence and feel more independent and “grown up”.
How to Help Your Teen Find a Summer Seasonal Job
Once you motivate your teen to find a summer job, offer your assistance. Make sure that they are doing the footwork, and that you are simply giving guidance to help them conduct a successful summer seasonal job search. Below are some tips on how you can help your teen find a summer job:
- Help them identify their skills and strengths. You would know better than anyone what talents your teen has, and this can help them decide what kind of summer seasonal job they want. Ask for their input, and help them write up a resume.
- Show them where and how to look for jobs. Motivate your teen to find a summer job through online job boards, the newspaper, local coffee shops and other resources through the school or community they may not be aware of.
- Introduce them to any of your contacts that you think may be helpful. If you know anyone that works for an organization you think may be a good fit for your child, let them know your teen is looking for work and ask if you can pass along their info. After that, have your teen do the talking. They need to learn to sell themselves, not have you sell them.
- Have them make a list of companies to apply at, and set aside a time to drive your teen around so they can fill out and/or drop off applications. Encourage them to talk to anyone working there and express their interest.
- Practice interviewing with them. Present your teen with questions such as “Why do you think you are a good fit for this job?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. Also, teach them the importance of acting and dressing professionally.
Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that the labor force participation rate for all youth (which includes all Americans between the ages of 16 and 24) was 60.1% in July of 2016. Since July of 1989, when the youth labor participation rate peaked at 77.5%, we have been seeing lower percentages like this when it comes time for summer seasonal jobs. Help defy this trend, and motivate your teen to find a summer job. Years down the road they will thank you.
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Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.