The media is awash with the news of the 431,000 jobs created in May for non-farming industries. That’s a pretty big number and it’s getting a lot of attention. Sadly, the majority of the jobs, 411,000 to be exact, are temporary jobs created to handle the 2010 Census. None of those jobs will go to a group who is seldom talked about but who has been just as hard hit by the job crises – teenagers.
I worked as a teenager as most of us did. I was so anxious to work, to earn my own money that I applied for and got a work permit when I was just 14. Fortunately, I have seldom been unemployed since.
My 16 year-old son has not had the same good fortune. He, too, wanted to work from an early age. He mowed lawns and shoveled snow and even baled hay one summer in spite of a grass allergy to earn spending money. Living in a rural town whose population is 700, there aren’t many jobs for local kids.
Starting when he was 15, we set out to find him work. Each week we made a list of businesses for him to apply at. Every Monday for 3 to 4 hours, we drove from fast food place to lumber yard to grocery store. We soon discovered that virtually no one would even talk to him until he was sixteen and postponed our search. Following his 16th birthday last July, we started over. We expanded the search, including temporary employment agencies hoping to find something but learned you had to be 18 to find work through them. So back to the fast food, mall outlets and mom and pop businesses we went.
Weeks went by and we were either told “we’re not hiring” or they took his application and we never heard from them. Never did we see a “help wanted” sign. We began to notice that in places traditionally reserved for teenagers such as hamburger joints, young adults and even older ones seemed to have taken any available slots.
He eventually got a job but it was through an acquaintance of his father’s. While his dad set up the interview, he still had to go to it and impress the manager. Then he had to survive the 30 day probationary period.
I will say that he learned a lot about looking for a job. Her are a few things for teens to keep in mind when looking for a job.
Teen Job-hunting Tips Before You Even Get There:
Use all your contacts. Have friends and family put out the word and call in any favors you can. Leave no person untapped. You never know who may have a contact you can use.
Be clean, well-groomed and look your best. First impressions are important.
Know something about the business and what they do. Have an idea of what position you are applying for and what you think it will involve.
Have your references, schooling and other information prepared in advance so filling out the applications doesn’t take so long. It does not make a good impression if you can’t complete the form because you don’t have the names, addresses and dates with you. Get permission from people you plan to use as references.
Teen Job-hunting Tips Once You Get There:
Take it seriously – the employer definitely will. Kids with bad attitudes area dime a dozen and there are ten more wanting this job so treat it like it’s important to you. It will impress the person interviewing you.
Be courteous and prompt. If you have an appointment for an interview, show up a few minutes early. It gives the business owner the clear impression that you are eager to work.
Being willing to accept whatever job is offered. You may have applied for a cashier position but all they have open is a stock room position. Accepting it gets you a job and gets your foot in the door. Perhaps you can transfer to the cashier position later on.
Teen Job-hunting Tips after the Interview:
Follow up. If the manager expected to make a decision in a week, call him or stop in to see if he has made a choice. It puts you in the forefront of his mind and shows your eagerness.
If you don’t get hired, be courteous and thank him for considering you. Your reaction may work to your advantage in the future. Most places will have other openings.
Keep looking. Try unusual places that teens don’t generally try. Office-based businesses sometimes need part time clerical help. Small family-owned businesses are often willing to help out a teen looking for a job. Don’t pass up any opportunity.
Part time jobs are a part of the growing up process for teenagers. They learn responsibility from someone other than their parents and teachers. They develop work ethics and a sense of independence from earning their own money. They are able to learn about budgeting for expenses such as gas to get to and from work or saving for their first car. It gives them a taste of life as an adult and prepares them for facing the challenges of juggling work, home and social activities. It also fills that all-important spot on a resume, previous employment.
It may not seem like much to be able to say you worked at Taco Bell for six months but if you did it while maintaining a good grade point average and being leader of the debate team, it shows future employers what you’re made of. Teens are being robbed of this part of the growing up experience and 431,000 temporary jobs do little to alleviate it.
Source: Personal Experience