Teen job market improving; Need to look now, differently

Teenagers will have an easier time finding jobs this summer but they need to start looking now and not necessarily on the computer.

From JobMouse:

“The teen job market definitely rebounded in 2011, with more than 1,000,000 teens finding new jobs.  However, job gains among teens were still well below the levels achieved prior to the recession.  While teen employment is likely to see further improvement this summer, job gains will probably once again fall short of pre-recession figures,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

(According to the article, 2010 was the lowest level of seasonal hiring since 1949.)

“We are probably still several years away from teen summer hiring returning to pre-recession levels.  Teenagers hoping to find employment this summer definitely want to start their searches now, if they have not already done so.  And, they should not expect to find a job by simply filling out electronic applications through employer websites and online job boards.  Those are great places to find opportunities, but the key is to engage in an active search that focuses on meeting with hiring managers face-to-face,” advised Challenger.

So what types of jobs will be available and how should they be looking:

From JobMouse:

“Many families are eliminating monthly expenses such as lawn care and home cleaning.  However, these tasks still need to be completed and families, while strapped for cash, are no less strapped for time.  A teenager who can provide these services at a fraction of what professional services charge may be able to drum up enough business to earn a steady income.  Teenagers won’t find these opportunities in the classified ads or on the Internet; they will have to go out and sell their services to their neighbors,” said Challenger.

“Use your parents, friends and your friends’ parents as sources for job leads.  Try to meet with hiring managers face-to-face, as opposed to simply dropping off a completed application form with a random clerk at the sales counter,” he added.

“Newspapers, both print and online, are also a good source for job leads.  The classified ad section will contain some help wanted advertisements, but do not forget to read the local and business news sections, where you might find stories about new local businesses or ones that are struggling to find workers.”

The article went on to say though that a lot of teenagers weren’t looking for jobs. They are focusing on academic and extra-curricular activities instead.

So are your teens looking for employment for the summer? Have they already started their searches? How are they searching? What type of work are they hoping to find? Will you tell them to change their search methods based on this article?

20 comments Add your comment

K's kid

April 30th, 2012
12:37 pm

Im willing to hire out my services as personal garbage disposal.

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April 30th, 2012
1:09 pm

All you chubby kids need to stay away from the fast food restaurant, ice cream factory jobs and get hired as a pinestraw placement engineer.


April 30th, 2012
1:28 pm

I did not want my kids to work in the summer. I wanted their summers free for family activities, volunteer work, church camp, and general decompressing from their extremetly active life the other 10 months of the year. I know some will disagree. But they did not lack for initiative or responsible behavior. We sure could have used the money, but there were Other Considerations.


April 30th, 2012
1:48 pm

Our son started working last summer at our neighbors’ restaurant. He works 2 short shifts a week now but will pick up extra duty in the summer as needed. But they’re flexible and know that he’ll be gone one week for church camp and another week for Scout camp. I think working some is a good thing. It gives him a chance to earn some money and keeps him busy. He also mows one person’s yard and is hoping to add another “client” or two. He says the money is way easier than working in the restaurant! I will say that most of the kids we know with jobs either got them b/c of someone their family knew OR it’s a place the typically employs teenagers (like the ice cream shop & Chick-Fil-A).

My first job while in high school came about b/c it was at a restaurant my parents frequented and had talked to the manager. My second job was b/c I knew the owners of a company through church. Networking, no matter your age, is the primary method for getting an interview in my opinion.


April 30th, 2012
2:15 pm

I work in HR….nothing more annoying that people trying to get to meet the hiring manager “face to face”.

The search for that open position is about .001% of that manager’s job. And given that they are searching for a new head, they are probably doing that as well. There is a reason recruiters do the recruting. That’s not difficult work, but who has time?

Networking….networking….networking….It can’t start too early.
Get a job where their friends work or with someone the parents know.


April 30th, 2012
2:33 pm

I understand Temp Agencies are quite popular these days….


April 30th, 2012
2:56 pm

jarvis…I am all about networking. My two started out working with summer camps for Preschool and Kinder, as they were looking for responsible clean cut kids who were good with kids. Directors knew I had two kids. It was funny when they both came home and passed out on the couch….”those little kids WORE me out!” My husband would laugh at them and tell them I knew all about it way before they were born.

Typically, if kids are responsible and clean cut…they can find some sort of a job. Mine have worked in several different locations ( since 14) and it has given them a good handle on what is expected and how places of employment are all different. One of the best things told to me ( as a parent) , ” we love ________ and are do happy he/she works here as he/she does the job that we expect. It is hard to find teens who will work nowadays.” Mine both went to church camp and saved half of the money needed ( about $150 of $300 for M-F if I remember correctly) and then I matched it. I have never understood families with teens who have no money for camp. Seems like they could babysit or mow lawns from the spring forward ( as they announce it right after Christmas) and save SOMETHING for camp. That was just expected here. Everyone does things differently, for sure.


April 30th, 2012
2:57 pm

Use indeed.com to find work. Monster and careerbulider can’t hold a torch.

[...] Original Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article [...]


April 30th, 2012
8:55 pm

I’ve found that the teens who can land jobs are like the adults who can land jobs. It’s all about who you know and personality. If you just go around and randomly fill out applications and whine that you are “always trying” you will end up with nothing. My very personable nephew walked right into Red Lobster and got a job, never having worked before. He just has “it”. My more reserved, less confident neice has filled out applications all over town and has never gotten a call back. Sad because she would be a great worker. She just needs to learn how to sell herself. It’s not an easy thing to do.
@ Catlady. My parents never wanted me to work during the school year. I did work summers before my Junior and Senior years but I wasn’t involved with anything else. I have noticed that my nephew is no where to be found since starting to work. I’m glad for him but we miss him at family functions, trips etc.. So proud that he almost never asks off though. I guess it’s just part of growing up. He’ll be off to college next year.
I know of people who are paying their kids to work volunteer jobs or internships so they can gain more specific experience in what they are interested in. Basically saying, “If you volunteer at the hospital, Mom and Dad will pay you x-number of dollars instead of you going to work at McDonalds. I have mixed feelings about that. Seems to me Mom and Dad would have to have a good deal of extra $$ around.


April 30th, 2012
9:17 pm

homeschooler: when I was in high school doing the IB, we were required to do 180 hours of community service over 2 years. That had to be done on top of all your academic load. I don’t remember any parent paying their kid to do that, and that was one privileged bunch.

Having said that I would probably do that if I could afford it. I think you can learn a heck of a lot more about life and networks and work relations by volunteering at a hospital or a homeless shelter or whatever than what you can learn by slinging hash at the local diner.

I am not crazy about making my kids get a summer job. They have the rest of their entire lives to work. Why not let them be kids and enjoy their summers? I never worked a summer job and no one has ever accused me of having a poor work ethic. I got a job right out of college and have worked since them (except for two brief stints when the babies came). And I learned how to manage my money too.


May 1st, 2012
1:54 am

My Son, in high school, just started working 3 weeks ago. He hit the pavement, putting in about 6 applications, and doing a lot of follow-up calls to Managers. It took about 2 months. But he is now a gainfully employed grocery store worker! We didn’t know anyone at the store. It CAN be done. Believe and pit in a lot of consistent effort.



May 1st, 2012
5:49 am

@ mom and homeschooler…my two wore the volunteer cord at HS graduation with the same 180 requirement, were active in church and worked a part time job. It can be done. We did not grow up privileged nor are we now. We also never had a good deal of money. Doing those things has helped with their people skills and that ( to me ) is a definite plus. I wanted them to learn how to manage their money before they left for college and also how to relate and interact with people who do things differently than we do. Another life long skill. Juggling several things and doing a good job at it, is just something our family does and not something I wanted them to wait until college to learn. Too many distractions.


May 1st, 2012
9:15 am

It’s hard to get the kids off the computer and look for a job, because so many of them take rejection so personally, so they won’t put themselves out there in person. And, frankly, not too many kids are going to find a job via the internet — just way too many scams out there. But that’s their comfort zone — behind the computer screen, where they don’t actually have to interact in person. It’s a big problem with the text/internet generation: Actually talking to REAL people is stressful for them! But that’s where the jobs are, kiddos.

Mine always worked during the summers, because they liked having their own money. They also worked some on weekends during the school years. My son was a soccer referee starting at age 11 — he and my husband would fit his refereeing job around his own soccer games (i.e., if he had a game on Saturday afternoon, he’d only referee on Sundays. If he had an early game on Saturday, he’d referee Saturday afternoon, etc.) Nice chunk of change for a teenager, and as he got older, he was assigned more challenging (and better paying!) games. It taught him early on how to politely but firmly deal with crazy parents, over-excited coaches and rowdy players. He loved refereeing tournaments — he’d make a couple of hundred dollars in one weekend. He also got his lifeguard certificate, and spent summers managing area swimming pools — his bosses loved him, because he had the same calm control over rowdy kids at the pool that he did on the soccer field, and he showed up on time when he was supposed to. At 17 and 18, he was getting the experience of scheduling other people’s shifts, and would often complain that certain workers simply could not be relied on. :-) Same with my daughter — she was determined to find a job so that she could afford her taste in clothing and shoes :-) Funny, though, once she realized how hard it was to get that money in her pocket, she was less excited about spending it on $200 Coach purses! At 13, she set up a babysitting service in the neighborhood, combed the neighborhood directory targeting families with kids under 10, and biked around distributing flyers. The first afternoon, she had THREE phone calls before she even got back home!! She has never had trouble finding a job — she dresses in a nice pair of pants and a clean-cut shirt, pulls her hair back neatly in a French braid, goes easy on the make-up, and goes out IN PERSON to inquire/apply. She usually has at least one job offer by the time she returns home.

At my office last year, we had a Craigslist ad for a receptionist — no benefits, lousy pay — but we received almost 400 resumes! It was hard to short-list it, but one that DID make it was a young woman who stopped by with her resume in person, who had a great smile and simply said, “Hi, I’m sure you’ve been swamped with resumes, but I just wanted to stop by, say hello, and drop this off in person.” She had the initiative and the brains to reverse-lookup the telephone number and the confidence to just walk in the door. You better believe she got short-listed. In fact, she didn’t end up getting the job, because she accepted another job the same week. :-)


May 1st, 2012
9:33 am

DB…I was thinking the same thing ( imagine it) as I speak with people all the time who hire. Here is what they tell me, ” We want to see what the person looks like, how they carry themselves and if they can actually communicate in full sentences and make sense!” They want to look at a live person and not something online.

I send queries to people all the time, via e-mail. I have oodles of references but some folks still are not interested. When I call them, more often than not..they say, ” wow you are so excited about what you do that we may just have to hire you!”

Off topic but sort of related in this day of screen time…I visit all sorts of schools. Some, have teachers who are CONSTANTLY on their phones and texting/looking things up while I am working with children. This does not sit well with me. If they are being paid, should they be doing this? Do offices allow this? Some schools have a firm rule about NO cell phones in the classroom. I met one Director who told me her teachers have to put their phones in a basket next to her desk each day. Many do not have rules about phones. Typically this is preschool. I do not feel you are supervising your children if you are GOOGLING something or texting your friends. Am I hopelessly old fashioned? Just curious.

☺☻Have A Smile!

May 1st, 2012
9:34 am

With all the companies (including both large and small) who waste applicant’s time, I can’t blame anybody one bit for not wanting to bother applying, no matter how hard they can “sell themselves” and so on.

I clearly remember the depressing results of being motivated to find gainful employment instead of getting high & getting drunk like a lot of people from my hometown. Instead of getting results, I got ignored, lied to, and generally no response.

Don’t be too quick to be hard on young people. Some things are beyond their control, or are due to lessons not yet learned.

Thankfully I got a degree in engineering and haven’t had real issues getting work. :)


May 1st, 2012
9:56 am

@ have…I can sing the same song about people not getting back with you. This is something you learn and how to follow up. A skill I was never taught in college, while getting degree in education. There are lots of things that are out of control about the job market. To me, getting a earlier start with a small part time job is helpful. Not everyone agrees and that is fine. We all do what works for us!
Being told no and still being motivated to keep looking is something I learned years ago!


May 1st, 2012
9:15 pm

@Mom2..I totally agree that the experience from an intership or volunteering is better than just any normal “teenager” type job. I hope to be able to encourage mine to do that too. I just think it’s hard, if your child has no spending money and the opportunity to work, to convince your child to work for “free”. Like you said, those kids in the IB program are often privileged. Their parents probably gave them all the money they needed for clothing, movies, gas etc.. Although between the community service and the academics they probably didn’t have much need for play money. :-)
I know kids in the IB program. I wouldn’t worry too much about any of their futures.

Angie Burton

May 3rd, 2012
8:27 am

It’s definitely true that retail employers are more likely to hire you from turning in an application in the store where you can make an impression by looking and acting professional. You can get your application noticed immediately by using Application Bling which is a small, post-it note type sticker that you apply to your application that says a few things about you and enhances the application. (Sort of like how a cover letter compliments a resume.) Check out website – it works!