An Honest Day's Work: Summer Jobs for Youth
A summer job can be a great learning experience.
By GreatSchools Staff
Summer jobs teach young people valuable skills: responsibility, punctuality, following directions, getting along with others, establishing a good work ethic and managing money.
Karen Coburn, assistant vice chancellor for students at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author of the acclaimed book, Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years, offers this advice for young people thinking about getting a summer job:
"A summer job, certainly for juniors and seniors in high school, is a good way to learn discipline and skills different from those you learn going to school. The basics of showing up every day, arriving on time, taking responsibility and learning from other people are important skills that can be learned at a summer job. It doesn't have to be in a professional environment. Students get a dose of reality when they interact with people in a work environment who haven't gone to college. It's a real eye-opener.
"It's good to have a combination of work experience and be exposed to different professions and work environments. A lot of students don't have any idea what type of work environment they ultimately want and summer jobs can help them to keep their eyes open to different professions and work environments.
"There's a lot of college hype out there that you have to have 'over-the-top' summer experiences. You don't need to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro blindfolded. There are other ways to prove yourself."
Where to Look for Summer Jobs
Your teenager can check:
- the local newspaper
- job Web sites such as Craigslist or Monster
- the school guidance and/or career office
- the local recreation department (teens are often employed to work as counselors in summer recreation programs)
- signs in windows of local retail establishments
And she shouldn't forget:
- word of mouth--tell everyone she knows (parents, teachers, coaches) that she is looking for work.
Create Your Own Employment
Another way to get work experience is to become a summer entrepreneur. Your teenager could create a service for the neighborhood. Babysitting, tutoring, pet sitting, lawn and garden care, computer assistance are just a few possibilities.
If your budding entrepreneur needs to hone her babysitting skills and learn CPR, she check with your local recreation center or the Red Cross. These organizations often offer courses for preteens and teens.
Here are some steps to get your teenager started if he wants to create his own service-oriented business:
- Set a fair price for your service by considering your costs, time requirements and fair value for what you are providing.
- Promote the business by calling neighbors and/or printing flyers to distribute.
- When you succeed in getting customers, ask them to refer you to their friends.
- To assure success, make sure you satisfy your customers by providing good service.