By Patti Coonce
- Create an Expectation That Your Teen Needs to Work
Of course, school needs to be the top priority, but do not overlook the value and responsibility of a job. Summer jobs are an excellent way to achieve this without impacting your teen’s school activities. Explain the benefits of a job to your teen—spending money, new experiences and something additional to put on the college application. A job helps a teen learn many things including getting along with others, professionally communicating with adults and personal commitment.
- Help Your Teen Look for Organizations That Would be a Good Fit
You know your teen best! Take a look at his or her interests to see if relates to specific type of organization. For example, if your teen has a talent for working with younger children, you could suggest a summer camp. Teens should also look towards organizations that can potentially teach them a new skill, such as learning cash handling. Talk with your teen about interests and skills he or she would like to focus on and brainstorm organizations that fit. Your teen’s excitement about the organization will be helpful for composing a cover letter and promoting their skills in the job interview.
- Help Your Teen to Job Search
Show your teen where to look, utilizing such job board sites such as Indeed, Craigslist and school websites. Spend some time discussing a few job postings to help your teen match qualifications and experiences that best relate to the employer’s needs. Help them discover how they can meet those employer’s needs.
- Assist Your Teen with Drafting a Resume
You should not write your teen’s resume! However, you can spend a few minutes on the internet with your teen looking at sample resumes and talking about styles that appeal to you. Talk about school projects, volunteer experiences and any paid work your teen should include on the resume. Don’t discount experiences; I have seen an applicant make a compelling pitch for his lemonade stand experience! Absolutely, proofread the resume and make appropriate suggestions. Explain to your teen the importance of creating an error free document. Tell your teen to be honest about the skills and experiences; statistics show 85% of resumes contain lies or excessive embellishments. You can demonstrate holding oneself to higher standard. This is a teaching moment for you; don’t miss this opportunity!
- Encourage Your Teen to Apply
You should encourage your teen to apply to multiple positions and to continue to apply as organizations with a good fit have available opportunities. Educate your teen on the reality of the “No” when applying for jobs. Reassuring your teen that each “no” is one step closer to getting that “yes” eases the feeling of rejection. Look for job fairs your teen can attend. Job fairs are a great way to meet multiple employers. For teens with limited experience, job fairs are a terrific way to shine.
- Coach Your Teen on Interviewing Skills
Suggest your teen make a list of significant accomplishments he or she could talk about in the interview. Preparing specific examples in a STAR format will create confidence in your teen. The STAR technique structures responses with a Situation, Task, Action and Result template for giving concise, well thought out answers. The beauty of this preparation is its adaptability to many questions. Ask your teen to look up common interview questions on the internet. You can practice quizzing and answering questions with each other to give answers a test run. Do not underestimate the power of the handshake; teach your teen to give a firm handshake and look the person in the eye.
- Take Your Teen to a Bank or Credit Union
Opening a checking or savings account is a momentous step in the life of a teen. Not only does it allow your teen to learn financial responsibility, once a job is landed, the paychecks can be deposited directly into that account. Direct deposits are a win/win for your teen and the employer. The money hits the account earlier, people tend to save more (which is a valuable lesson parents want to teach) and let’s face it paper checks can get lost.
- Allow Your Teen to Navigate the Employee/Employer Relationship
Congratulations, your teen has landed a job! The hardest part of being a parent is having to stand on side lines. A job is definitely one of those areas but that does not mean that you are not needed. Talk to your teen about his or her job. Listen to challenges he or she is facing. Remember these are teaching moments. Talk through problems and role play how they can handle these problems maturely. Support but consider this an opportunity for growth and allow them to “fight” their own battles.
- Teach Job Responsibility
Help your teen realize having a job is responsibility. Coworkers and employers depend on them showing up and putting forth their best effort for every shift. By working to do well, they will gain skills, confidence and accountability.
- Give Yourself a Pat on the Back!
You have guided your teen through this growth experience shaping your teen into a responsible, reliable adult.
Encouraging your teen come to our Job Fair on Saturday, April 27 from 1pm- 4pm is a great way to start!