My Teen Needs a Job! {Tips & Tricks for Helping Your Teen Look for their First Job}

Summer job postings are going up now!

So, your teen is getting ready to finish the final stretch of the school year, and they’re looking for their first summer job. Below are some helpful hints and tricks when job searching for their first job. Send them this link or hand them your phone so to help them get started on their summer job hunt!

Apply in person, ALONE

The one thing I dreaded as a retail manager was a group of 5 kids running in asking for job applications. Remember the first impression is the most important impression. If your teen is heading to the mall or into a restaurant looking for a job, have them dress in business casual clothing and apply alone. If they want to hit the mall with a couple of friends, advise them to tag team and go in stores at separate times. Oftentimes, the hiring manager is available to chat with them and talk about the job. This allows your teen to decide if this is a place they want to work, and it saves the manager / owner and your teen time if they aren’t the right fit due to job duties or availability expectations.

Be Honest

When applying, it is most helpful when your teen is honest about their availability and intention on how long they plan to work. If they have limited availability and they are only available in the summer, it helps to let the manager know; don’t write down what you think the manager wants to hear; be honest so they can plan accordingly. Small businesses can make better decisions and plan to hire more summer workers if they know the truth about availability.

Plan Ahead

If they snag that summer job and need to call in because they have a special event to go to be sure to tell the manager early; don’t wait until the last minute. Time is valuable and accommodations can be made when you communicate.  If your teen is working and in school have them check their school schedule and plan around exams, final papers, and special events. Remember, they will probably want to be off from work on prom night and the day after. Have them work with their manager 4-6 weeks before to discuss your scheduling needs; they will appreciate how responsible and considerate they are.

Encourage them to learn as much as they can

Once they are working and getting in the groove at the new job remind them to be attentive and learn everything they can. Each job can provide valuable life lessons; take the time to step back and pay attention to how that business is run, complaints customers gives and tips on being efficient. Encourage them to share with their boss the things they notice and learn this will show them that they take the job seriously and want to do the best job possible. This will make a big impact on the boss, they will more than likely call them back each year to come to work for them and they will be an awesome resource for a recommendation when looking for another job or applying to college. Each experience is an opportunity to build a career connection even if you are just in high school.

Parents, don’t cover for your kids

Remember, a job is a step towards adulthood. My biggest pet peeve of teen employees was the amount of times parents called in for their kids. Parents tend to want to protect their kids and their new jobs, but I promise this reflects negatively on our children. Also, social media is relevant in these times and coworkers will tell on their friends if a parent calls in for their kid and then a coworker catches them on snapchat at the beach. This ties into the honesty piece; your child needs to be honest about obligations and even mistakes; them taking the responsibility and calling in speaks volumes about their accountability and character. Unless your child is in the hospital and admitted for a medical emergency they can pick up the phone and let their boss know they cannot make it to work.

A first job is an exciting experience full of endless opportunities to learn and make new friends.  Working as a teen can be a fulfilling experience and may help your teen narrow down some of their after high school choices. A job or internship no matter the pay should be treated as a real responsibility regardless of how much it pays or how often they need to clock in. As a parent be their encouragement, sounding board, and accountability partner; remind them of the commitment they are making when they say yes to a job offer.

Seleigh is a New Orleans native currently residing in Waggaman with her husband and two daughters. She stayed local and received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans and Master’s from the University of New Orleans. She currently works at a New Orleans charter school as a School Operations Leader. As a life long civil servant she has found her passion dedicating her days to NOLA’s youngest residents! Seleigh spends her weekends running between extra curricular activities for her girls, festival hopping and enjoying dinner at her favorite restaurants.


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