Friday, May 2, 2008

Summer Jobs for Teens -- Opportunity to Think Outside the Box

According to Renee Ward, founder of, “Teens seeking paying part-time and/or summer jobs will find it harder but not impossible to do this year. Overall hiring has slowed due to economic uncertainties and businesses are reluctant to hire minor teens. As a result, teens will have to work to find work.”

If you’re a teen, you can go to this website for advice on finding summer jobs.

Yet there’s another avenue for summer employment: You can think outside of the box, something that I always encourage young people to do whether they’re applying to college, looking for an internship, or job hunting.

First, assess how much you need or want to make this summer. This gives you a starting point in your planning as well as a definite target number.

Second, think about what else you’d like to accomplish this summer – learning how to play the guitar, an internship at a local newspaper, training for a marathon. And, of course, you realize there are only so many hours in the week if you also want to hang with friends, go to the beach, or whatever.

Third, write down (so your thoughts are clear) the number of hours you think you need for each activity. Then look at how you can re-arrange the pieces of the puzzle.

To understand what I mean, let’s take an example of Jane. She wants to earn at least $300 a week take-home pay this summer and also have an unpaid internship at a public relations company near where she lives. Here are two different possible scenarios:

Jane could work 40 hours a week at a fast-food restaurant and make perhaps $6 an hour after payroll deductions for a total of $240 a week. This will leave her very little time for the internship even if part of the 40 hours is over the weekend.

Or she can tutor young students in math, a subject at which she excels, and charge $20 an hour. If she signs up 12 hours of tutoring a week (maybe 6 students for two hours each a week), she can make $240 a week – the same as at the fast-food restaurant and with more flexibility of hours. And out of 40 hours of work a week, she has 28 hours a week free for the unpaid internship she wants.

Before you start getting desperate that you can’t get a teen paying job this summer, consider what your strengths are and how you might earn money legitimately by thinking outside the box. And, for an added bonus, you might even use this experience as the topic for one of the short college application essays. Now that’s a real good deal!

No comments: