This is a guest post from Ron Stefanski founder of www.JobsForTeensHQ.com
What comes to mind when you think about “jobs for teenagers?” You’re probably thinking of part-time positions at the supermarket, the pet store, or your local fast food joint. While these part-time positions are great for learning responsibility and earning some pocket money, they don’t always translate into skills or work experience that will serve our children later in life.
Teenagers don’t often put too much thought into their summer or after-school job selections. Flexible hours, hourly pay, and proximity to school or the house are usually the top three issues that teens take into consideration when choosing which job is right for them.
There is a better way, and that’s what this post is all about. Teenagers, especially those who are already in high school, should seek out employment that will give them skills they need later in their professional life and open their eyes to what working in their dream job is like.
For instance, if your teen thinking about becoming a vet…
Encourage them to seek out a part-time job at the local pet store or at a nearby veterinary office. Not only will this serve as value resume fodder, but it can help them figure out whether or not a career working with animals really suits them.
When your teenager is looking for a part-time job, encourage them to consider the following:
1. Value Real Work Experience
If your teen is hoping to study agriculture, a seasonal job at your local plant nursery may be more useful down the road than weekend shifts at a grocery store.
Encourage your teen to think ahead and try and find a job that relates to what they think their ultimate career goal may be. I feel that even kids as young as 14 years old are old enough to begin thinking about what kind of job they’d like to do in the future.
Not only can this help them figure out what they want to do in life (experience is often the best teacher), it can also serve as a wonderful addition to their resume.
2. Build Your Resume
Most hiring managers aren’t just looking for work experience, they are looking for relevant work experience.
While hiring managers are less likely to be stringent with entry-level workers, having relevant work experience may help set your child apart from the rest when they are applying for sought-after positions.
3. Make College Count
With tuition rates climbing at a truly daunting rate, we should encourage our children to think carefully about their college major before committing to it, both emotionally and financially.
It’s not uncommon to hear of teenagers switching their college majors multiple times (I did this twice myself) throughout their college career. While switching majors isn’t always the end of the world (many teens make these decisions while they are still satisfying their general education credit requirements) this sort of behavior can get very expensive very quickly if it involves completely restructuring their course load.
It’s a better idea to test the waters as teenagers before they enroll in college. If your child majors in marine biology, only to discover they can’t stomach the smell of fish, it would have been better to discover that while working in the pet store as a teenager than after 2 years of an expensive college education, right?
4. Learn to Think Ahead
Apart from the potential financial savings, the resume building, and the exposure to relevant work experience, encouraging your teen to find a job that may translate into a career is a great way to get them thinking about and preparing for their future.
Along with the practical side of things, teens who work in a variety of sectors before college are more likely to make a decision based on their own interests and skills, rather than simply following the crowd or choosing a major because “it earns money”.
It may be helpful to explain to your teen that choosing a career path isn’t just about making money but that they will spend a great deal of their adult life at work, so they should try their hardest to make sure it’s doing something they enjoy or are, at the very least, truly interested in.
5. Drop The Pressure
While there are tons of great reasons to encourage your child to think carefully before accepting a part-time position as a teenager, you also run the risk of unnecessarily freaking them out.
We want our teens to grow up to be well-rounded adults with rewarding careers and the ability to learn and grow, but putting undue pressure on them sometimes produces the opposite result.
While we want our teens to make well-thought-out decisions, it’s also important to remember that the teenage years are made for exploration, mistake-making, and discovering who they are and what they want out of life.
If you have this conversation with your child and they still want to work at the local pizza joint, let them do it! No matter what they eventually decide, every job has its benefits and will teach them valuable lessons about responsibility, accountability, punctuality, and money management.
Ron Stefanski founded www.JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He founded the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do it. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.