Summer job search: Tips for teens |

Summer job search: Tips for teens

Bob Lankard

It’s hunting season – not for wild game but teenagers looking for their first summer jobs. The smartest route is to apply direct to the employer. Here’s how:

• Apply alone. It can be scary. Mom may want to come along. But I have heard employers ask a teenager with a sidekick parent, “Who wants the job here?” Ask mom to help you by conducting mock interviews.

• Be well groomed and clean. Appearance is important to employers and they especially take a long hard look at teenagers. I once saw a grocery store owner send a group of scruffy teen applicants home without giving them an application.

• Pursue more than one opening at a time. Teens are likely to make one contact and then wait for a job offer. Just because the interviewer was nice does not mean you will get the job.

• Dig out your birth certificate. Employers need it to confirm your legal age. It will help the employer decide what jobs you can do and when you can work. It also validates your citizenship status.

• Take your Social Security card. Why? So you can copy the number correctly. A wrong Social Security number in a work record can create problems. As the guy whose unemployment check was delayed protested to me, “I only had one number wrong.”

• Create a fact sheet and take it with you. It should include names and addresses of references, schools attended, and any previous employers. It will help you complete an application.

• Be flexible. Retail stores, restaurants and amusement parks will want you to be available evenings and weekends. The teen with the greatest availability is in a stronger position to land the job.

• Be persistent. Apply at as many places as possible. Call back to places where you have applied just to tell them that you are interested.