5 Tips for teens looking for summer jobs

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PHOENIX – The summer job used to be a given for many teenagers, but that’s not the case in this economy.

Teens looking for summer job are finding themselves competing with old, more experienced people who are out of work and have more than a few short months to devote to employers.

Not only is the applicant pool much larger, the number of entry-level jobs is lower. More and more companies are not hiring for entry-level positions as a way to save money.

While it might sound discouraging, there are things teens can do to land one of those coveted summer jobs.

Michael Hayes of Momentum Specialized Staffing said that while parents need to manage their teens’ expectations about the current job market, there are things they can to do help.

“The parent needs to be out there with them, coaching them,” Hayes said.

Parents can teach their kids to develop a good base for conversation with adults in a professional environment. Not only will this be beneficial now, it will help when the time come to get a “real” job.

Hayes said the first thing teens who are looking for work need to do is get over that shyness. That's where a base for conversation can be extemely helpful.

Preparation is key, and that includes having the appropriate paperwork – a copy of your birth certificate and Social Security card -- ready to go.

While it sounds basic, Hayes said one area where many teens slip up is manners and grooming.

“Leave your flip-flops at home,” he said.

Hayes said you don’t have to look like a movie star, but you do have to look presentable and put together.

Something else teens need to consider is proximity. If they plan to get a job in retail or food service, they need to be sure they can get to work consistently and not spend all of their hard-earned money on gas, which, as we all know, is getting more and more expensive.

Another option for teens who want to earn some money over the summer is self-employment.

“I think that’s where your best option is,” Hayes said. “That’s where 90 percent of your effort ought to come if you’re a teen.”

From lawn care to pool cleaning to pet sitting, chances are some of your neighbors could use a little help.

Whichever direction you go, you need to start looking now, Hayes said, not a month from now.