For most teenagers, the main motivation in seeking a part-time job is to earn money of their own. For parents, though, the hope is that the benefits of teen employment go beyond the financial. In practical terms, work experience can begin building a teen’s resume, help in learning management of finances, provide networking experiences that may prove valuable later in life, as well as marketable skills for future employment.
Additionally, a job can instill confidence and encourage responsibility in adolescents. Parents should be aware, however, of some of the possible pitfalls of your teenager working, such as less school involvement and slipping grades. Note that many of the problems can be negated by limiting the hours worked and monitoring stress levels and school work.
Here are five tips parents can use to guide their teens in a successful job search.
1. Prepare Materials
Before beginning the job hunt, help your teenager prepare the basic materials, starting with a photo ID, Social Security card and, depending on age, a work permit.
Next, help your teen prepare a resume. Although many of the entry-level positions may not require a formal resume, writing one will help your teen pinpoint interests, skills and relevant experiences (think volunteering, school clubs, household responsibilities). For examples of first resumes, check out resources from your high school’s guidance counselor or the website Adventures in Education.
2. Research Job Options
The next step in the job search is to research available opportunities. Prepare your teen to expect entry-level jobs to be fairly basic. Beyond the typical teen jobs in retail or food service, your teen could also use this opportunity to look for a position at a company related to a field your teen is interested in pursuing as a career.
For instance, if your teen is interested in cyber security or computer programming, look at a company such as LifeLock, which is doing exciting work in the field and has a supportive company culture. Even though a teen’s first job may be basic, the experience and networking can be invaluable down the road.
Help your teen look for positions by reaching out to family and friends who may know of part-time positions not posted elsewhere.
3. Practice for the Interview
Most jobs will require at least one in-person interview. Interviews can be intimidating, even for the most outgoing person, so help your teen prepare by holding practice interviews.
Use a resource such as Understood.org to find the most common interview questions for first jobs. Use these practice interviews to help your teen applicant understand the importance of things like professional dress, eye contact, energy and a respectful demeanor.
4. Follow Up and Thank You
After interviews, encourage your teen to write a note thanking the interviewer for their time and asking if any additional information to aid in the employment decision is needed. This will help set a professional tone for your teen’s future employment. For sample thank-you notes, look at websites such as Job-Hunt.org or Business News Daily.
5. Accepting a Job Offer
Finally, once a job offer comes in, help your teen consider if the commitment required by the job is realistic. Also, encourage your teen to communicate time limitations with the employer from the beginning to avoid being over-scheduled or scheduled during school or extra-curricular activities.