How to Help Your Teen Land a Summer Job

Hey Kid! You’re Hired!

Teen Employment, Teens in Bend Oregon,

Nationwide, the trend in teen employment is declining, with a lower percentage of teens working than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, less than one third of teens held summer jobs in 2014. Compare that to approximately 50% of teens employed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Why are teens having such a hard time finding a job? There are many potential reasons, including a lack of entry-level positions and a tough economy where adults are performing jobs previously done by inexperienced youth.

Summer teen employment has definitely fallen out of favor, as the new trend among high school students includes summer travel, internships and volunteer work to pad resumes for college.  However, this shift may be misguided. Having a summer job shows initiative and a work ethic, which may be looked upon favorably by college admissions. Working side-by-side with folks from different walks of life shows an ability to adapt. Demonstrating experience in areas like customer service and working with the public are skills that are important for success later on. In addition, a summer job gives a teen the opportunity to earn money and learn how to manage it.

With the healthier economy here in Central Oregon, 2016 may see an increase in teen employment, where our service-oriented economy drives the job market.

When should your teen embark on his first job experience?  The answer depends on a few key factors:  maturity level, need for money, and
motivation. On average, teens start thinking about employment when they are 15 or 16 years old, but some may be ready earlier.

Joe Anzaldo, General Manager at Newport Market, says, “We hire teens as young as 14 as courtesy clerks.  Working at Newport Market is a common first job here in Bend.”  While most businesses will hire a 16-year old, they may not be as inclined to hire 14- or 15-year olds for whom there are stricter federal employment regulations, including limited working hours and mandatory breaks. However, Anzaldo says they like to hire younger workers who “usually stay with them for some time, eventually working their way up to cashier.” “Older teens tend to flip jobs more,” he says, “it’s just the millennial piece we have to deal with.”

Encourage your teen to start the job search early before school is out. There are a limited number of summer positions employers need to fill, and once those are gone, it may be next to impossible to find work. Don’t wait for the college students to return home for the summer – they are likely to snatch up the more desirable positions.

Do some research and find out which businesses hire teens.  Try restaurants, summer camps, movie theaters, coffee shops, bike shops, and resorts for a start.

There are many things you can do to help your teen with the job search without getting in the way. Help him create a resume highlighting all of his strengths, volunteer experience, and unique skills. List unofficial jobs like babysitting, yard work, and small tasks. Don’t forget to highlight academic achievements as well.

Show him how to check Craigslist for job openings and even give him a practice interview, if he’s willing. Emphasize eye
contact, confidence, and flexibility when it comes to hours available to work.

Finding a reasonable employer, one who is not overly demanding by requiring long hours may be the key to your teen having a positive first-job experience. Be wary of employers requiring teens to work full-time during the summer. Teens still need down time, time to hang out with friends and family. As an employer, Anzaldo knows the value of working with a teen’s schedule. “We are flexible with them. We work around their sports programs and let them
do that too.”

Although the job search may be daunting at first, teens will surely gain confidence and independence along the way.

Businesses that typically hire teens:

Restaurants  dishwasher, busser, host, cashier

Resorts  bike shop attendant, lifeguard, snack bar attendant

Movie Theaters concession stand cashiers, ticket takers

Coffee Shops  barista, cashier

Bike Shops  cleaning, customer service

Camps  counselors, day care

Fitness Centers  childcare, cleaning

Ice Cream Shops

Retail shops  sales, cashier

Grocery Stores  courtesy clerks, cleaning, stocking crew

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