April 12, 2024

Today's Paper
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Today's Paper
It’s almost the end of May, which means that summer is right around the corner. At least summer in all the ways that matter: The end of the school term, the beginning of tourism season for much of the country, and the onset of family vacations.
And who’s at the center of these disparate trend lines? The American teenager. When 16-19 year-olds are let loose from school, they might be traveling with their families on those vacations, but they could just as well be working at the national parks or amusement centers visited by other vacationers.
As you might guess, this is one of the best years in recent memory for teens who want a summer job. Not only are there labor shortages all over the place, but wages are higher than usual and employers are more forgiving of a worker’s limited experience.
If you are a teen reading this article (alright, if you are a teen whose newspaper-reading parent passed along this article), now is the time to get your ducks in a row for a great summer work experience.
The following steps will give you a good start on this process. The order of the steps mostly doesn’t matter, but it would be smart to start contacting employers (step 5) by the first week of June, if not sooner. Although many jobs are already spoken for, there are excellent opportunities still available.
1 – Review your schedule. If you’re taking summer school or vacationing with your family, some of your time is already obligated. Use an electronic or paper calendar to better visualize your available time, while helping you decide how many hours a week you can offer.
2 – Consider your goals. At this stage you may not know what kinds of jobs you’d be best at doing. Discovering that is actually one of the benefits of a summer job, so that’s not a problem in itself.
But if you do have a goal, such as learning or using particular skills (Carpentry? Cooking? Coding?), or working in a certain way (Outdoors? Helping seniors? Teaching kids?) — now is the time to explore summer jobs that would meet that criteria.
3 – Write your résumé. You may already have a résumé, or this may be the first time you’ve needed one. In either case, know that using a résumé instead of/in addition to an online application lets you access more opportunities. For example, if you heard the music store might be hiring but couldn’t find a job posting, you could bring your résumé directly to the store and ask for an appointment with the manager.
The résumé itself doesn’t need to be complex. Start with your name, followed by your email and phone number (but not your address), followed by a sentence or two that describes you and your goal: Reliable, outgoing student with good math skills seeking a part-time summer job in an office or store. It’s fine to omit the type of job, if you don’t have a specific goal.
Next, you can create a short bullet list of strengths, such as *Accurate *Willing to learn *Able to use Excel, Word and PowerPoint *Comfortable greeting customers.
Now write down any jobs you’ve had already, including babysitting, side businesses or helping with your family’s business or farm. The next section is for any volunteering you’ve done, and the final section is for school, including activities you’ve been part of.
4 – Decide where to apply. Do your transportation choices mean the job needs to be bike-accessible? In that case, bike that distance in all directions and write down places that would interest you. Otherwise, you can build your list according to your interests or where your friends are already working.
5 – Start contacting employers. If you see appealing jobs online, go ahead and apply that way. Otherwise, you can combine in-person and online processes to reach the employers you’d like to talk with. Once you have a system in place, contact at least 10 employers each week (20 is better), to ensure interviews before too much of the summer has slipped past.
As you can see, getting a summer job isn’t complicated, but it does take persistence and determination. These steps should also work if you’re younger than 16, although some employers cannot hire at that age. If that happens, you may need to check with a local youth employment program, or hustle up your own side business.
However you land your work, good luck and enjoy your summer!

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