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Ayude a su Adolescente a Encontrar Trabajo: Planee con Tiempo para el Próximo Verano

Help your Teenager Land a Job: Planning Ahead for Next Summer

By Antonia Wang

Now that your kids are back in school, it is a good time to start thinking about preparing your teen to land a job next summer. Although unemployment in general remains high, the number of teenagers hired in May 2012 was more than double the teens hired in May 2011. However, the majority of teens were not interested in working. Slightly less than 30% of teens who could work in 2012 were working. (Time Moneyland, June 5 article.)

Working when they are free from school is a good way for your teens to earn extra cash to save for college or buy items they want. It also helps them gain highly valued soft skills, build work-place experience and increase their sense of responsibility before going to college.

Before summer is here again, begin talking with your teen about summer jobs. Following are some tips for the underage job hunter in your house from an Oregon (Wis.) School District newsletter, plus a few pointers of our own:

Set goals

Help children define goals and set priorities for summer employment. Maybe they want money to pay for a new computer, a pricey smart phone or a special trip, maybe they want to learn more about a certain industry, or maybe they just want a little spending money.

Saving for college is another important goal. With college tuition steadily rising, it is a good idea to make paying for it a joint goal with your teenager. More money for college saved now means less having to scramble for it when the time comes. Even if your child ends up getting scholarships or grants to attend college, money saved can be used for other expenses or toward other goals.

Fill out applications

Stress the importance of using nice handwriting on applications or typing them, as well as filling them out thoroughly. Some employers won't interview candidates who don't follow directions on the application.

Network

Encourage teens to let everyone know that they're looking for employment-teachers, counselors, friends, and relatives. Even a Facebook post to a safe and select group of "friends" is a good place to start. You never know who's looking for someone to help with a business or knows of someone needing an extra hand.

Thinking ahead will help your teenager keep an eye out and apply early for possible summer work opportunities around their school and other places they frequent.

Think logistics

Before your child applies for jobs make sure he or she knows where the business is located. If you're going to be your child's only means of transportation, set limits for how far you're willing to travel, and when. Another option is to help your child think of family or friends who can give them a ride, or plan for adequate public transportation that can get them to their place of work.

Be professional

Explain the importance of being prompt, well-groomed, speaking clearly, and maintaining eye contact. A firm handshake and being confident helps too. A biggie-dressing appropriately. Your child may need a little help choosing something to wear to a job interview. To be safe, have your child err on the conservative side.

Prepare for the interview

Help your teen practice interviewing by role-playing. Pretend you're the potential employer and ask some tough, but real-life questions about instances such as calling in sick. Encourage your child to do some research about the company before the interview to show prospective employers an interest in the job.

Follow up

Encourage your teen to email a short thank you letter to prospective employers reiterating interest in the job. It will be important that they run a spell-check and re-read their letter before sending. A thank you note loses value if it is ridden with typos and misspelled words.

As an additional resource, the U.S. Department of Labor offers a database where teenagers and young adults can look at available jobs in their areas and sign up for job-related email updates.

Published 9-13-2012.

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