Aside from saving you from a season of "I'm soooo bored — can you take me to the mall?", a summer job will teach your tween or teen about responsibility and money management while providing real-life work experiences. Try these step-by-step plans and keep in mind every child and job is different, so consider having a talk with your tween or teen before deciding on a payment plan:
1. Start the search. Check newspapers, look at fliers on community bulletin boards and in shop windows, and network with neighbors.
2. Match skills, interests, and job opportunities. Help your tween research these popular possibilities:
- Pet Care: Pet-sitting, grooming, or walking dogs requires patience and the willingness to take on a great deal of responsibility.
- Housecleaning: Dusting, ironing, cleaning floors, and other chores are great quick and simple tasks.
- Landscaping and lawn care: Mowing grass, weeding, raking leaves, or watering plants.
- Babysitting or tutoring can be a perfect option depending on your tween's age and experience level and the amount of responsibility she'll have.
- Delivering Newspapers can be an excellent way to make up to weekly income, which teaches your child a great deal of responsibility — if your tween can handle early mornings.
3. Spread the word. Your tween needs to advertise his availability. Help him create a flyer listing his services, skills, and prices. Distribute by hand, or post the flyer at the library or grocery store.
4. Get to work! If possible, introduce yourself to any prospective employers before your child starts work to make sure you are comfortable with the arrangement. Confirm that you, she, and her employer are all clear on what she'll be doing, when, and for how much. Then step back and cheer her on from the sidelines.
1. Set a goal. Help your teen define and prioritize his summer employment goals. Does he want to gain experience in a certain type of business or industry? Does he need to earn as much cash as possible to pay for expenses, like a band trip or a new computer? Or does he just want to have fun while earning a little extra cash?
2. Network. Spread the word to friends, teachers, neighbors, counselors, and relatives. They may have suggestions you and your teenager haven't thought of, and will have more contacts you can tap.
3. Write a resume. Many first time job-seekers don't believe that they need a resume because they have not had any prior experience. But having a resume to give to the prospective employer shows that your teen is putting effort into finding a job.
4. Think about logistics. Especially if you will be your teen's means of transportation to a job, set some limits right away. Discuss your schedule and how far you're willing to drive before your teen begins applying for jobs.
5. Complete applications. Remind your teen to fill out forms neatly and thoroughly, typing them when possible.
6. Prepare for interviews. If she's called in for an interview, help your teen practice in advance, and remind her to do some research about the company or position too. Try role-playing. Be the employer and ask some tough questions, like "What would you do if all your friends called out sick to go to the beach?"
7. Be professional. Employers look for certain qualities when a job candidate walks in the door. Explain the importance of being well groomed and neatly dressed, communicating clearly, maintaining eye contact, having a firm handshake, and being (or at least acting!) confident.
8. Follow up. After an interview, have your teenager send the hiring manager a brief e-mail or letter thanking her for her time and underscoring his interest in the position. The future employer will be impressed by your teen's determination.
9. You're hired! Before she accepts a position, your teen should clarify what the working hours are, what her responsibilities will be, and — of course — how much she'll be paid. Then you can congratulate her on a first job well done: finding a job!