Finding a summer job is an important milestone for most teens, and for good reason. The Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University found that summer jobs can help students make money, minimize summer learning loss, connect with positive role models, build career skills, and prepare them for adulthood. Given all these benefits, getting a summer job is a great idea for most teens! But how can you go about getting a job this summer? Check out the following tips before you start your summer job search.
1. Keep Your Age in Mind As You Look for a Summer Job
If you’re 14 or 15 and eager to work, you already have an impressive start, since not everyone is that ambitious at such a young age. However, you might run into some obstacles during your search for a summer job, as many companies only hire teens who are 16 and older. This is due to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which has limitations for younger workers.
For example, 14 and 15-year-olds can legally work from 7 am to 9 pm during the summer, and they can only work until 7 pm once the school year begins. Additionally, while 14 and 15-year-olds can work up to 8 hours per day in the summer, they can only work 3 hours per day on school days, so keep this in mind if you plan to keep working once summer ends.
In addition, the jobs you can do vary depending on your age. For the most part, 14 and 15-year-olds can work in restaurants and stores, but cannot work in certain hazardous industries, including warehousing, manufacturing, truck loading, and public utilities. You can work in these industries once you’re 16 or 17, but you’ll still be barred from working in mining, roofing, logging, excavating, crane operating, and other similarly hazardous jobs. So it may be best to start your job search at local restaurants, stores, amusement parks, etc. if you want to avoid being turned down for a job due to age.
Also keep in mind that when you’re a younger teen, even some of the jobs you get have limitations on which tasks you can do. For example, at age 15 you can typically work at the front counter taking orders at McDonald’s, but you can’t work in the grill area or handle hot coffee, for your own safety. So maybe you can’t get your preferred position before age 16, but you can still get hired and work up to it.
2. Create a Resume
If you want to stand out from all the other summer job applicants, make sure you have a resume. Sure, you could just fill out the application that most jobs require, but that’s doing the bare minimum, and it’s what most other people are doing. If you want to show you’re ready to go above and beyond—even for a job that isn’t super demanding—have a resume ready to go.
This might sound intimidating if this will be your first job, but it’s not impossible. Your resume is where you get to tell potential employers a little more about yourself than they’ll see on the standard application. Do you have experience babysitting, tutoring, or mowing lawns? Maybe you were the team captain of a sport last year, or you volunteered in your community.
All of this shows you have the ability to be a leader, are willing to help other people, and know how to get the job done! So fill out your resume with this information, and then give it to a friend or relative to proofread so there are no typos. Feel free to use a resume template if you need help getting started.
3. Tell Everyone About Your Job Search
Now it’s time to advertise the fact that you’re looking for a summer job! Start by mentioning your job search to your parents, siblings, friends, and anyone else you talk to. This is a great passive way to start your search, because the friends and family you tell likely know someone who is hiring.
Plus, this is the best way to catch those job openings that haven’t been advertised. Maybe a job just opened up, and the employer hasn’t posted a listing yet. If he or she hears you’re in the market for a summer job, you could get an interview before anyone else even knows about the position.
4. Use the Internet
Once you tell everyone about your search for a summer job, it’s time to start actively looking for one. You could walk around to numerous businesses asking if they’re hiring, like people did in “the old days.” You can also call to find out. But these days, most major businesses post job listings online, so it’s often faster and more efficient to check their website.
You can also look for local jobs on major job listing sites. These make it easy to filter your search to find the best summer job, as you can search for openings within a certain area that are in the specific industry you want. Some of the most popular sites for job listings include CareerBuilder, Indeed, Robert Half, Monster, LinkedIn, and Simply Hired.
You can also check local Facebook groups and Craigslist for job listings. But be sure to use caution when responding to job ads there, since it’s easy to post scams on these sites. These tips should help you look for a job online while keeping your safety in mind.
5. Start Your Own Business
If summer is almost over and you still haven’t found a job, consider working for yourself. Thanks to the gig economy, these days it’s possible to make money without working a full-time job. Just think about where your interests and skills lie, and then consider how you can make money from them
Some examples of ways to make money this summer include babysitting, pet sitting, mowing lawns, painting houses, and washing cars. If you prefer less physical jobs and want to keep your professional skills sharp this summer, you can always start tutoring kids, or offer to manage the Facebook page of a local business if you’re great with social media. Such jobs will not only help you make money this summer, but will also allow you to build up your resume and give you an idea of the kind of job you want when you’re older.
You can also reach out to ACYR for help finding a job as a teen. Our Workforce Development Program offers the training and contacts you need to find and keep a job when you’re between the ages of 16 and 24, so contact us today!