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5 ways to help your teen land a (paying) summer gig

The nation’s high unemployment rate doesn’t just mean trouble for adults. It also affects teens looking for summer work while school is out. But while it may be hard for kids to find summer gigs that actually pay money, it’s not impossible. Consider these 5 tips to help them.1. Look in less obvious placesRetail, hospitality and leisure jobs are a great place to start, but don't be afraid

The nation’s high unemployment rate doesn’t just mean trouble for adults. It also affects teens looking for summer work while school is out. But while it may be hard for kids to find summer gigs that actually pay money, it’s not impossible. Consider these 5 tips to help them.

1. Look in less obvious places

Retail, hospitality and leisure jobs are a great place to start, but don't be afraid to look elsewhere. Resorts, movie theaters, amusement parks, nurseries and camps can be good options too. Websites like CoolWorks.com, SummerJobs.com, and ResortJobs.com, list temporary positions around the country, and Snagajob.com, is an hourly job search site.

2. Offer teens help with connections and networking

One of the best ways for an adult to find a job is through networking and the same goes for teens. Tell your teen to call your adult friends and relatives to ask for help finding leads. Show them LinkedIn, a place they can connect professionally, and encourage them to clean up their Facebook page in case any prospective employer decides to take a look.

3. Make sure they look presentable

Whether you're talking about a resume or their appearance, it's important that your teen learns to present themselves well. On a resume or job application there shouldn't be typos or grammatical errors. If your teen needs help, there's a resume building tool on myfirstpaycheck.com.

As far as appearance goes, teens don't have to be in suits, but they shouldn't show up in flip flops, either. Tattoos need to be covered and piercings removed. More than anything else, employers are looking for professionalism and a positive attitude. Before your kids go in for an interview, engage them in a few practice sessions. Talk to them about keeping the cell phone on silent. (Under-the-table text messaging? That's a no-no.) After an interview or meeting, they should send a thank you note or email.

4. Encourage starting a business or joining yours

If finding a job is a challenge, encourage your teen to start a business mowing lawns, babysitting, walking dogs, or even doing social media for small businesses that need help setting up a Facebook or Twitter page. Or consider hiring your child yourself, although it’s best if someone other than you can be your teen's primary supervisor.

5. Keep a foot in the door

Studies have shown that a part-time job doesn't hurt school work, so encourage them to keep their summer job throughout the year, working one or two days a week or on weekends. That way, they'll already have a job when next summer comes along, and they can request to increase their hours.