Summer Tan or Summer Job
- Sell yourself – consider these factors when writing your resume
- Get out from behind the computer
- Be ready to answer these questions
For many teens, getting a summer job is a time of transition -- from depending on family for money to earning your own. It’s fun to have down-time during the summer, but enlightened teens view the summer as an opportunity to earn money for college, too. At the same time, competition for jobs during a challenging economy is significant.
Preparing for the Job Search
Create a personal summary or resume. Most word processing programs have resume templates. Remember to include:
- Contact information including your address, phone number and email address;
- Any previous work experience; include skills you’ve acquired such as keyboarding, operating a cash register or other equipment.
- Personal references – people who know you well and can speak about your reliability, honesty and work performance, such as a scout or religious leader, coach, teacher or previous work or volunteer supervisor. Usually, you are asked for three. Be sure to ask permission to include them and share their contact information.
“But, I’ve Never Had a ‘Real Job’”
If you have never worked at a paying job before, you might feel you have little to offer a potential employer, but many employers look at the big picture:
- List club memberships on your personal summary; make special notes about your accomplishments and any leadership positions held.
- Include membership on sports teams or music groups, especially if you had to audition or try out for them. These activities demonstrate commitment.
- Volunteer work is also valued by potential employers – it shows willingness to work, even without regard to pay.
- Don’t overlook regular baby-sitting and lawn care. They may not be great-paying jobs, but they show that you are reliable.
Most employers look for people who demonstrate dependability, take responsibility and can get along with other people. These “resume building” traits are an asset to potential employers.
The Job Search: Getting Out From Behind the Computer
Tech-savvy teens may be content to conduct their job searches using the Internet and submit applications online; hundreds of jobs are posted on Internet job sites for which there are thousands of applicants. Instead, look for jobs that are available in communities and neighborhoods that don’t get posted online.
“Nothing beats actually walking into a business, introducing yourself to the manager and asking about job opportunities,” said John A. Challenger, an authority on finding employment at a global outplacement company. “The personal touch sets the groundwork in building a rapport that will separate you from electronic candidates,” he said
Check out the jobs section of your local newspaper or look for help-wanted signs at neighborhood shops.
When you apply for jobs in person, remember to dress and act appropriately.
- Dress as if you were actually going to the interview.
- Avoid the use of street language or slang while you are applying for a job.
- You will be expected to leave a telephone number and possibly an email address where you can be reached. Make sure the voice message they hear and your email address are appropriate. It could make or break your chance of getting the job.
Other Job Search Options:
Check your counseling office or youth employment service for job postings. The positions may include jobs in retail, summer camps, community parks and pools, baby sitting, dog walking or lawn and gardening work.
Many families are eliminating monthly professional services like lawn care or house cleaning to save money. A teen providing these services at a fraction of the cost of professional services may be steadily employed all summer. Create a flyer offering your lawn or homecare services and leave them with neighbors, at church or at a local community center.
What About Paperwork?
When applying for a job, you’ll need several forms of identification:
- If you are under age 18, you need working papers – your school counseling office has the forms.
- Your driver’s license or permit, non-driver ID, or high school ID; you may also be asked to bring your birth certificate.
- Your Social Security card. If you don’t have one, apply for a Social Security card before you apply for a job. The Social Security Administration Web site has details.
You’ve landed an interview – great! You’ve planned what you will wear and mapped the location of the business so you can get to the interview on time.
Rehearse a typical interview. Think about what questions you may be asked and how you will answer them. Here are some examples:
- Why do you want to work here?
- Can you work flexible hours?
- What skills do you have that will help you do this job?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why should I hire you?
The interviewer may ask if you have any questions for them… make a good impression and be ready with a few questions of your own. Check out the company website and learn about it
- What is the timeframe for filling this position?
- What is a typical day like?
- What are the performance goals for this position?
Remember to turn off your cell phone during the interview.
Some potential employers use Facebook as a reference tool; make sure your page doesn’t contain inappropriate photos or language.
Send a note after the interview and thank the interviewer for his or her time in considering you for the job. Refer to something mentioned during the interview that you find particularly appealing about the position. Briefly state why you are a good candidate for the job and that you look forward to hearing from them again.
You Didn’t Get the Job
Just keep going, keep a positive attitude and cast a wide net. It’s acceptable to apply for several jobs at the same time; just keep track of where and when you applied.
Congratulations, You Got the Job
Before accepting, make sure you understand what your tasks will be, the hours you are expected to work and the salary. If you are given an employee handbook, read it – it details the expectations of your employer.
Jobs advertised through an employment service are usually pre-screened for compliance with federal and state labor laws regarding youth employment. If you found a job on your own at a business that is unfamiliar to you or your family, it’s a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau
to be sure it complies with applicable regulations.
Make the most of your summer job and soak up as much experience as you can. Your summer job can be a gateway to future opportunities and a great way to save for college.
Paying for college
High school calendar
New York State Department of Labor Youth Employment