Before dropping off your first application for a summer job, you should first first stop and define what the perfect summer job looks like. Some teens would love to spend the summer working at a camp, and others would be content setting up their own business. Make sure you define what you are looking for before you start shopping for jobs.
Summer Jobs For Teenagers
The following questions will help you establish your perfect summer job:
- What is the minimum pay you’re looking for?
- Do you want to work inside or outside?
- Do you have transportation? How far can you work from home?
- Do you want to work days, nights, or weekends?
- Do you have any other summer events that will conflict with a job?
- What kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
3 Considerations When Looking For Teen Summer Jobs
Consider both the value for today and the value for tomorrow.
One reason teens should work is to develop important life skills – not just increase their income. Moreover, when you work hard for a pay check your are in a better position to combat teen spending and consumerism.
Some jobs have great pay, but in the end they will do little to help advance you towards your life goals. As a result, your summer job should be something either in a field of interest, in a job that gives you interaction with the public, or a job that helps you improve a skill.
The obvious reason to work in a field of interest is so you can get to play the profession – do you like the job as much as you had anticipated? What parts of the job do you enjoy and what don’t you like?
Working in a job that gives you interaction with the public will help you no matter what you do in the future. Learning people skills is a skill that helps in any job.
Finally, some jobs might help you grow and improve in areas of weakness. For example, putting yourself in a service industry, like working at a restaurant, might help you improve how to interact with and relate to others.
Don’t assume a degree equals a job because school can’t completely prepare you for work.
Consider the safety factors.
Some better paying jobs pay you more because you are more at risk.
Here are the five worst teen jobs in terms of occupational danger (as quoted in Money Still Doesn’t Grow on Trees):
- Driving and delivery, including operating or repairing motorized equipment.
- Working alone in a cash-based business and late night work.
- Cooking with exposure to hot oil and grease, hot water and steam, and hot cooking surfaces.
- Doing construction and working at heights.
- Selling items door-to-door and traveling youth crews.
Here’s the thing – every job will have a little risk, so evaluate the risk.
Consider the company’s flexibility and reputation.
Some employers are notoriously ridged. Even a weekend off might cost you your job. Others, like McDonald’s, have a reputation for being very flexible. If you are interested in taking a week off for a short-term mission trip (need to raise money for your mission trip?) or camp, just tell your future employer at the start of the interview process.
For some jobs, it will be very important that you have limits. They will call you at night and over the weekend. That’s fine if that is what you are looking for, but if not, just be clear about your work limits and boundaries.
Remember, flexibility is a premium, so you might want a job that gives you a little less pay and more flexibility.
Now you can start brainstorming and come up with the summer job that you think fits your needs the best (keep scrolling for some fun ideas). If you need some more ideas here are the some ways to earn money doing what you love.
Then you should talk to someone who already works for the organization.
The best way to know if a job is a good fit is to talk to those who are already working for the company. This doesn’t need to be a formal interview. Even a simple casual question like, “Hey, do you like working here?” can give you a lot of valuable information.
Once you’ve found the summer job, how do you land the job?
Here are a few quick tips:
- When you pick up an application, ask for at least two copies or make a copy – this way you can make necessary changes
- Ask someone to look over your application and make suggestions. Pay attention to verbs and adverbs. Are you using good, strong, and convincing words to describe yourself?
- Be sure to ask all references if they would provide a ‘positive reference’. When you drop of an application, just send your references an email saying, “I just dropped off an application at X company. I listed you as a reference so you might expect a call from them.”
- When you drop off your application, ask to see the manager and hand deliver the application. Be sure to wear something appropriate. I’d define appropriate as anything a step above everyday clothes. In most cases, this might be something like a pair of khakis and a collared shirt.
- If you don’t hear anything back in a week, call the manager and ask if she had a chance to look over your application.
- If you have certain non-negotiable items, make a note of this on your application. For example, I suggest teens indicate that they cannot work Sundays since they will be at church. This way the company has this request in writing before they hire you. If it ever becomes an issue, you can ask them to review your application. In addition, if you are planning a short term mission trip over the summer let your employer know at the interview process.
Photo by Kahala.
Added by Bob: Since we were talking about teen summer jobs, I thought it would be good to add a few ideas to get you started. So here are a few…
10 Fun Summer Job Ideas for Teenagers
Umpire baseball and softball games – I started doing this when I was 13 years old and did until I was about 17. It can be really good money for a 13 year old.
Movie theater – Many teenagers love this job because of some of the great perks. Working with friends, air conditioning, and getting to watch free movies – what’s not to love?
Pool Maintenance – If you live in a part of the country with a lot of pools, being a pool boy (or girl) can be a great summer job for many teens.
Babysitting – It seems as long as babies continue to be born, babysitters will be needed.
Lifeguard – This is one of the classic teenage jobs that is still a great one. Get to hang out by a pool and get tan in the process.
Tutor kids – If you are gifted in a school subject (or many) tutoring can be a great way to make some extra summer money. Proactive parents might want to help johnny get a head start on Algebra – so why not be the one to tutor johnny?
Mowing grass – Alright, I guess I didn’t think this was fun at the time, but now I love being outside in the sun. Either way, I think mowing lawns is one of those jobs every teen should do at some point. Manual labor in the hot summer sun is just a good all around life experience to have. And if you get a few regulars it can turn into a decent business.
Camp counselor – Don’t you remember going to camp as a kid? Summer camps are still alive and strong and always need counselors to help out. So if you love kids and being outside, this might be a great one for you.
Car washing and detailing – I remember a friend from high school who worked at a car wash and made about double what I was making bagging groceries. He worked hard, but it paid off handsomely.
Clothing store in the Mall – While this one never seems to pay that well, working at a mall retail store can be a fun job for teens.
Do you have any other great summer job ideas for teenagers?
This article was originally published on April 28th, 2010.