It’s a tough time to be a teenager. Jobs that used to be the province of teenagers and college students are now often staffed by underemployed adults who are desperate for work. Finding a seasonal or after school job that not only helps financially but also gives teenagers an entry for their budding resume will not be an easy task. However, there are still jobs out there that will fit the bill. Here are a few your teenager might want to look into:
1. Childcare and Babysitting
It may seem like this traditional teen job is neither that lucrative nor much of a resume builder. However, taking the time to get CPR certification or other babysitting training (both of which are available through the Red Cross) can help your babysitting business and your future jobs. It will impress parents and future employers that you took the initiative to be safety-conscious, which will help you command more money.
2. Lawn Care
Like babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns is another time-honored teen job that does not have a great deal of competition from underemployed adults. This is also an opportunity for teens to grow their business — through word-of-mouth, fliers, and social networking. After the summer is over, teens who have earned money by pushing a mower will be able to show that they can work hard, network to find new clients, and roll with the unexpected (since weather can often derail a lawn worker’s daily plan).
3. Theme Parks and Tourist Attractions
Summer is vacation season, and teens can certainly take advantage of that when looking for a job. Working at a theme park or in a tourist area can give you an opportunity to use any number of diverse skills — from CPR and safety training to sales to artistic ability and so on. A summer spent running a theme park ride or manning a henna tattoo booth will give you an opportunity to learn customer service skills, which can help with nearly any field you want to enter later.
4. Camp Counselor
For the teen who is interested in a career in teaching or child care and who would like a little more structure than babysitting allows, working as a camp counselor can be the perfect fit. In addition to working with children, camp counselors also have the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors and leading group activities. For teenagers interested in a future as a teacher, this is an excellent way to get experience in working with kids.
5. Food Service
The original McJob, working in food service is still a mainstay for teens landing their first job. Before teens turn their nose up at a summer of asking “Do you want fries with that?” they should consider what working in a restaurant will give them, in addition to a paycheck. It takes a great deal of discipline, teamwork, assertiveness, and people skills to handle a heavy lunch crowd in a casual restaurant, and any future employer worth his salt will recognize that. After working in food service, teens will recognize just how much they can do and will learn how to apply those skills to other jobs.
A teenager who is willing to work hard will be able to find a job. If your teen isn’t interested in a job or can’t find one, encourage them to spend time volunteering over the summer. Building up their resume can assist in applying to scholarships in college. The important thing is to remember that the skills and lessons learned during a summer job can last a lifetime.
Emily Guy Birken is a freelance writer, recovering English teacher, and stay-at-home-mom. She lives in Lafayette, Indiana, with her mechanical engineer husband and infant son. Her musings on life and parenting can be found at The SAHMnambulist.