To get a summer job or not to get a summer job – that is the big question most teens face once they become of employment age. While it’s tempting to let your teen relax and enjoy a couple of months off before the next school year, summer jobs are invaluable for teaching teens essential life lessons and preparing them for the future.

So what are some real benefits of your teen getting a summer job?

I think we can all agree that having a paid job teaches responsibility. After all, teens would be held accountable for being at work on time, managing their schedules, and performing their job tasks in a timely manner that keeps their employers and customers satisfied. These traits will inevitably lead them to success in both their personal and professional lives.

Another valuable skill that teens get from having a summer job is a true sense of independence. Most teens crave independence and even demand it from their parents and families, but a true sense of independence comes from establishing their own self-confidence and self-reliance. Feeling a sense of accomplishment from both getting a job and performing well in it, plus having some financial independence from their parents, can contribute to a teen’s overall sense of independence.

Money management is another valuable skill that can be reinforced by a summer job. Even before they start driving, a teen’s social life becomes more active and requires funding, with movie and musical outings, trips to the mall, and dinner with friends, among other experiences. When they do start driving, add today’s inflated gas prices and other car-related expenses to the ever-growing list. Having teens pay for some or all of these expenses from their summer job earnings teaches them the importance of budgeting for their social life and individual “wants” early on.

And perhaps the most pragmatic reason for getting a summer job is for the real-world experience that will serve them as they move on to college, a full-time job, and overall adulthood. Not only will they feel more at ease when the time comes for them to live on their own because they have learned responsibility, independence, money, and time management, but a summer job will lend credibility and weight to their resume for future employment opportunities.

Speaking of searching for a job… If you want your teen to stand out from the mass of black and white resumes coming across a future employer’s desk, we encourage you to help your teen create a Fearless digital profile. Your teen can highlight the various experiences they’ve collected over the years - from both inside and outside of school - including any summer work, volunteer experience, school clubs and activities, and any other extracurricular activities like sports, music, etc. By building their own multi-dimensional digital profile, they’ll more easily be able to showcase their unique personalities, accomplishments, soft skills, and aspirations that are rarely represented on a traditional resume or job application. 

Hopefully, by now you are convinced that it is crucial to your teen’s development to seek out a summer job (once they become of employable age, of course). But how do they go about looking for a job that would employ teens? The process has changed a bit since you and I both got our first jobs, but that doesn’t mean you as the parent can’t help them. Here are some suggested outlets worth exploring:   

  • Online Platforms – search job sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, etc., will typically post local summer jobs (but may require more lead time than more local outlets) 
  • School and Youth Group Bulletins – many schools and local youth orgs post local summer job opportunities for their student base 
  • Internships – search for both paid and unpaid internships through only sites such as Parker Dewey, Chegg, Idealist, etc.
  • Network – encourage your teen to speak with friends and relatives, stop by local businesses, and post on social media platforms. Teens should tell everyone they know and whoever else would listen that they are looking for a summer job, more likely than not, someone in their network can help point them in the right direction. 

(Hint: Even Fearless+ is looking for brand ambassadors!)

And this is the last point I’d like to make here, but it’s a very important one...

When your teen eventually secures an interview for the job they’ve applied to, remind them to do their research and be prepared. It’s important for them to take some time in advance of their interview to learn about the company and the basic responsibilities of the position they are being interviewed for, as well as to prepare a few thoughtful questions they can ask at the end of the interview. Being prepared will not only help to ease their nerves, but it will show the employer that they are prepared and care about getting that job!