7 Tips for Teens to Find the Perfect Summer Job

Tips to help teens put their best foot forward when applying for a job

By Nicole Donnelly May 29, 2024

Our teens are out there looking for jobs to keep them busy, to help them earn money for a car or for college, and to get some experience to build their resumes, but there are many mistakes teens could make when venturing out into the business world.

Here are 7 tips to help teens put their best foot forward when applying for a job:

1. Obtain a work permit, if necessary

Check your state laws for the rules about employment for minors. If your state requires it, obtain a work permit.

2. Prepare a resume

Most job openings for teens don't require a resume. So why bother preparing one? Even if this is your very first job, you should always present a resume to a prospective employer. Many times, especially with summer jobs, perception plays a major role in hiring. Presenting a professional-looking resume may give you an edge in the hiring process and help your application stand out from the hundreds of others they are reviewing.

Elena Safonova via Canva

3. Fill out the entire application

Now that you have a resume, it may be tempting to note on an application to "see resume," rather than completing the job history fields. Don't. If an employer is asking applicants to complete an application, you should complete it in its entirety, even if some of the information is a carbon copy of what is on your resume. This shows that you can follow instructions, that you're not lazy, and that you are serious about wanting that job.

4. Dress for success

Job hunting is the time to ditch the trendy clothing, sleeveless tees, cut off shorts, flip flops, and low cut shirts. Invest in some nice, conservative outfits that you can wear when you visit businesses to apply and when you go in to interview. Making a good first impression is essential to getting an interview, and getting a job.

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5. Leave your phone at home

At no point during your job search process should a manager or business owner see your phone. If leaving your phone at home is not an option, make sure it is off (or on silent) and put away before you walk into an establishment. This shows that you are serious about devoting your time and attention to something other than text messaging, social media, or games.

6. Practice your pitch

You should be able to intelligently articulate why you are the best person for the job. This includes being able to hold a conversation with the adult hiring manager, making/maintaining good eye contact, and smiling at your prospective employer. Customer service-focused businesses are looking for bright, personable employees. Keep in mind that you are competing with an entire workforce that includes other teens, college students, graduates, retirees, etc., and you need to show why you are the best choice for their business.

7. Follow up

Once you speak with someone about a job, following up is essential. This should include a phone call to the manager thanking them for their time if you were in their business to apply, or a formal handwritten thank you note if you had an interview. Do not skip this step. For some managers, it can make or break your chances!

Following these steps may not be easy for every teen, but it is essential to helping them land that perfect summer job. Not only will having a summer job give a teen some independence and a sense of responsibility, but it also give them extra cash to spend and save!