Thinking about a summer job? As more people continue to compete for fewer openings, you’ll need to start looking early, do your research, and apply to more positions. So it’s more important than ever to have a job search plan.
What’s the Right Job for Me?
To find a job that’s right for you, make a list of your interests and strengths, as well as your dislikes and the things you need some improvement in, and keep them in mind as you look for a job. For example, if you love books or writing, a job in a bookstore or library might be perfect for you. But if little kids drive you crazy, a babysitting job may not be ideal.
A job or internship should be about learning as well as making money. Try to find something that can help guide you toward your long-term goals. For example, if you want to study veterinary science in college, finding a job in a vet’s office or animal shelter, or even a pet store, may be better choices for you than working in a restaurant.
As jobs become harder to find, you may have to take whatever’s available — and that’s OK. Learning to readjust goals and priorities is another important life skill. Just try to find some aspect of the work that you love and can learn from.
Where Should I Start?
Prepare a Résumé
A good résumé is your best job-hunting tool. Unlike an application form, which you only fill out when you apply for a particular job, you can hand résumés out to relatives, friends of the family, teachers, and other people you know. Talk to your school counselor for advice on preparing a résumé.
Find Job Leads
For job listings, check out online teen job sites or the classified ads section of your local newspaper. Lots of online sites let you search by zip code for job opportunities in your area.
Of course, some of the job listings you’ll see — like those that claim you can make thousands of dollars a week working at home — may be too good to be true. Be sure the job ad mentions what the work entails (e.g., “server, evenings and weekends” or “day camp counselor”).
Some people get job leads from their school counselors. Others fill out applications or drop off résumés at prospective employers and temporary employment agencies. If you’re interested in working at a restaurant, bookstore, garden center, or other service business in your area, the best approach is to go there and fill out an application form.
Your parents, relatives, or other adults you know might be able to help you connect with possible employers. Don’t feel that it’s not right to ask them. Once you get the interview, it will be up to you.
Be Your Own Boss
Traditional summer jobs in malls, stores, or restaurants are harder to come by in a tough economy. If your job search hits a dead end, don’t give up: get creative and entrepreneurial. Start a pet sitting, dog walking, childcare, computer services, yardwork, or cleaning business — whatever there’s a need for in your area.
Print up flyers advertising the services your business offers, your rates, and your phone number or email address, then drop one off at every house in your neighborhood or ask supermarkets or coffeehouses if you can post one on their community bulletin board.
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This information was provided by KidsHealth, one of the largest resources online for medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids, and teens. For more articles like this one, visit KidsHealth.org or TeensHealth.org. © 1995-2008. The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.