How to Help Your Teens With Their First Job Search
It can be hard to watch your child grow up into an independent teenager. As they start to spread their wings, a whole new set of worries can come into play. Maybe they’re driving on their own, spending more time away from home, and even getting their first job. But, as hard as it may be to “let them go,” it can also be an exciting time for you as a parent.
This is the perfect time in your teen’s life for you to guide them into adulthood. That includes helping them with their first job search. Teenagers and after-school/summer jobs have gone hand-in-hand forever. As of July 2020, over 46% of teens in the U.S. had some form of employment.
But, finding a job right away isn’t always easy for anyone, let alone a teenager with no experience. Then, there are other factors to consider. How far away do you want your teen to have to go to work? Is the job safe? Will it affect their schooling or extracurricular activities?
It’s okay to have questions and concerns while still helping your child find their first job. You never know, with your help, they might find something that sparks their interest in a lifelong career.
Starting the Job Search
While having job leads is great, your teenager can also go the traditional route of scouring different places for job listings to find the safe job opportunities. Today, that will probably consist mostly of looking at job boards online. You can certainly help them along the way. But, this should really be something your teenager takes the reins on. They can look for jobs they’re interested in or local places that are hiring and taking applications instantly.
Many businesses are always hiring. So, it might be worth it for your teen to walk in and ask for an application. Going this route will allow you to go with them. As a result, you’ll have an understanding of where the job is located and how safe the neighborhood is. Preparation for the job interview early on is also important because the call from a potential employer for an interview can come at anytime.
For the average American adult, a job search can take months. Granted, most adults in the workforce are looking for something very specific, while teens usually aren’t. But, they still might have to wait some time before getting an interview. Even then, getting a job isn’t guaranteed. Preparing your teen to roll with rejection is actually an important part of the job searching process. It’s a great lesson in how “failure” can help with growth in nearly every aspect of life.
Helping Them With a Resume
Your teen should have a solid resume put together once they start looking for jobs. Having one at the ready will make it easy to apply for jobs right away, especially when you’re looking online.
You might be wondering what they can put on a resume without any prior job experience. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to spice up a resume and cover letter by focusing on “soft skills” (communication, ability to work with a team, productivity). You can also include any extracurricular activities your teen is in. If they are on a sports team or are a member of a club, it will show potential employers that they have a strong work ethic and the know-how to cooperate with others.
Additionally, you can help them look for jobs that don’t require any experience to get started, including:
- Lifeguard at a local YMCA
- Starbucks barista
- Fast food worker
- Stock clerk
- Movie theater cashier
Most of these jobs provide training on-site, so your teen will learn everything they need to know once they’ve been hired. Even if they only work there a short time, it’s a great way to gain experience and have something more to add to their resume.
Teaching Them to Network
Networking can be an incredibly important factor in landing a job, and there’s no reason it can’t start with a part-time job as a teen. Networking can introduce your teen to positive role models that will help them learn communication skills and connect them with the right people to potentially jumpstart their career. In many cases, it’s more important than just searching for a job online or on bulletin boards. The sooner your teenager learns how to network and connect with the right people, the easier it will be for them to do so in the future when they’re looking for a job as an adult.
You can teach your teen networking skills in a variety of different ways, including:
- Attending career fairs.
- Introducing them to your colleagues.
- Having them shadow someone at a job.
- Creating a recommendation letter.
- Helping them build a LinkedIn profile.
The more you help them build those skills, the easier it will be for them to land a job now and in the future. Helping them to network might also mean giving them some new responsibilities, like getting a phone. Even if you think your teen is too young, having their own phone will help them connect with potential leads. Plus, if they do land a job, it’s the easiest way for them to stay in touch with their employer when they’re needed.
While it may not always be easy to see your teenager growing up, helping them find their first job can be a great experience for both of you. Jump into the search with them, guide them along the way, and give them the career advice you wish someone would’ve given you at that age.