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Tired of being a human ATM? How to help your teen get a job this summer

Does even thinking about your teen asking you for 20 bucks one more time this month make you want to scream? We feel you on that. If you are sick of constant trips to the ATM or always getting Venmo requests from your teenager, it’s time to help them get a job. Even at the going rate for minimum wage, a part-time job helps pay for their extras so you won’t have to.

If the summer break has you cringing because your teen will have so much more time for expensive activities, we want to help with that. Let’s go over some basics so your teen can get that summer job and your phone can stop blowing up with more requests for money.

A teenager working at a grocery store stocking the shelves

How can teens get jobs?

Make sure your teen has these items

  • Work permit if the age/state requires one
  • Resume
  • References

You don’t start applying to jobs without an updated resume and neither should your teen. Even if it’s their first job, you can still create one with their interests, schooling, activities, and other information. If your child doesn’t have professional references yet, help get them a couple of nonfamily members to include.

In the literal sense, teenagers can get a job the same way everyone else does — applying for jobs that appeal to them. LinkedIn and Indeed will be their friends just as they are yours when you’re job hunting. They look, they apply, and then they interview.

Do a mock interview

Your kid might think it’s lame at the moment, but do a mock interview with them. Ask them the questions you know an interviewer would ask. Practice everything from how they walk into the interview and the handshake to how to sit and how to end the interview.

They might think it’s awkward with you, but they’ll appreciate being more prepared during the actual situation. Whether they are fully qualified for the job or not, if they can handle the interview, they’ll have a better chance of getting the job.

A teenager behind the counter at work

Where should teens look for jobs?

For younger teens

Neighborhood jobs are going to be the best for younger teens. Especially if they can’t drive yet and you don’t want to be their taxi any more than you already are. Have your teen make a list of jobs they would do, such as washing cars, organizing rooms, light yard work, babysitting, or cleaning.

Remember to check local shops. Most mom-and-pop places are built on giving the local kids their first job. The hours will be better than big-box stores and you’ll be supporting a local business, so everyone wins.

For older teens

If your teen is a bit older, use resources already there for them. Most high schools have a job board where they can look for open roles. Go to the city community center and see what positions they know of as well. Older teens can use LinkedIn and Indeed to find more specific jobs.

A group of teenage lifeguards at work

What types of jobs are best for teenagers?

Tips to keep in mind

  • Play to their strengths
  • Make sure it’s something they like to do
  • Make sure it’s something they know how to do

You want to make sure your teen is safe while earning money to pay for their own Starbucks drinks. As in, if your child has never been around pets before, having them be a pet walker/watcher wouldn’t be the best idea. They wouldn’t know what to do in an emergency pet situation and could hurt themselves and the animal.

Ask your teen what they like and what they are interested in. If your teenager never takes their head out of a book, then the local library or bookstore would be a perfect match. If your kid loves to be outside helping with yard work, get them set up to work on the whole neighborhood’s yards. If your child loves math and money, a cashier position would be fun for them.

The job that’s best for your teenager depends on the kind of personality your teen has. Don’t make them get just any job to pay for those new shoes. The best jobs are ones that not only give your child some financial freedom but allow them to enjoy themselves.

You also want to make sure your teen at least sort of knows how to do the job. If they want to work at a local coffee shop, they should at least know how to work your coffee pot at home. Sure, there’s always training, but we all know that could be just watching one video and then being told good luck.

We all remember those summer jobs we had as teens. Working at the local waterpark, watching neighbor kids, or working at the mall were some go-to teen jobs. Remember how to get a job as a teenager? Then you can help your teen get one and have a better experience than you did.

Summer jobs aren’t meant to be the start of your child’s life-long career path. But if they find one they think is fun, they’ll be more likely to keep it. That means you’ll be less likely to have to keep getting your debit card out for them all summer long and beyond.

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