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Summer Jobs for Kids

by Ginger Costen

With just a few more weeks of classes left before the end of the school year, is it a good idea for your teenager to be considering a summer job?

“That first summer job is often a rite of passage for many teens,” said Janet Fowler writer for Investopedia and author of Business Resources for High School Students. “It's the signal that they’re on the way to adulthood by earning money to pay for activities, interests or to stash away for post-secondary schooling.”

According to Fowler the type of summer job any teen opts for should be based upon their current and desired skill sets and on his or her ultimate career goals, thus proving that it's never too early to start considering the future.

However Erin Joyce, owner of E3 Writing Services for personal finance and lifestyle blogs, states that first you need to consider the vital statistics of the potential job. “What are the hours of the job and how will your teen be getting there? Do they have access to a car or will it need to be within walking or transit distance,” she explains. 

Next, think about the actual work they’ll be doing. Is it something they’d enjoy, or can they tolerate it for a summer? “It's also important to think about the job beyond the summer as it could lead to a part-time job throughout the school year,” adds Joyce.

Joyce also states there’s one more step a teen needs to do before looking for a summer job: develop a resume. Even with so many companies accepting only online applications, having a resume is often required and critical to have on hand at that first interview.

Yet, that can be difficult for anyone applying for their first job. “Teens have their own set of challenges when it comes to resumes as they may not have much experience to rely on, so be sure to include any volunteer work, relevant activities, awards or courses they’ve taken even if they haven't finished the program,” said Joyce.

Then it’s time to start the search. If you’re a college student, your student center likely has resources in-person or online for summer jobs. These are great places to start because companies or individuals have already come to the school, so you know they are willing to hire students.

There are several websites that are not only devoted to helping teens find hourly work or student-specific employment in Massachusetts, they also have the link necessary for submitting an application or resume.

Employment YouthWorks (https://www.massyouthemployment.org) is a state-funded youth jobs program that provides funds to pay wages to youth for summer jobs in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. The primary component of the YouthWorks program is subsidized employment for eligible youth. Participants are typically employed part-time during the summer or year round. Participation in this program is limited to eligible youth aged 14–21 in selected (Worcester area) towns and cities in Massachusetts.

A Google search for companies hiring teens in Massachusetts provided some of the following websites: (Snagajob.com) www.snagajob.com/job-search/w-ma/q-teen ; (Hireteen.com has a list of 98 Massachusetts companies offering teen employment.)  www.hireteen.com/location/massachusetts ; (GrooveJob.com)  http://www.groovejob.com/browse/jobs/in/MA/Massachusetts/.  United Way of Central Massachusetts is also offering volunteer opportunities in the greater Worcester area at: http://www.unitedwaycm.org/index.php/news/story/parents_looking_to_get_your_youth_active_in_volunteering_this_summer/.

“Don’t keep it a secret, the last thing you should do when job hunting is be quiet about it,” said Joyce. Make use of the network of people you and your teen is already connected to. And don’t forget to look at all the options including making money this summer with developing their own business.

But most important, with teens as well as adults, don’t get discouraged. Your teen may be competing with college kids who have already finished school for the summer and are older with more experience and able to work longer before school starts again.

Finding summer work can be a bit of a chore, but it will be worth it when they have a bit of money in their pocket when school starts up again in September.

Now let’s get back to Janet Fowler and a of list possible jobs.

Camp Counselor – Is your teen interested in leadership? Janet Fowler states that if your teen is a natural leader or educator, a summer job as a camp counselor is an ideal pick. “This job will allow older teens to spend time outdoors, mentor younger kids and help them to develop new skills,” she said. “A great perk of this job, aside from being paid to spend plenty of time outdoors, is that you will be developing loads of transferable skills that will be useful throughout life, such as leadership abilities, communication and conflict resolution skills.”

Golf Caddy – Perfect for teens that enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, caddying can be a great choice of summer job. This job does require an understanding of the game and some physical endurance, as there is a lot of walking involved as well as carrying a weighty bag of golf clubs.

Retail Sales – Perhaps one of the more plentiful and diverse job options for teens, retail sales offers a great deal of opportunity for teens that are looking for work. This type of work can pay anywhere in the range of $8 to $10 an hour depending upon the duties involved. Inventory, stocking shelves, product demonstrations, handing out samples in grocery stores or customer service. This type of work can be great for teens that are particularly sociable, as they will often have to interact with the public in addition to working as a part of a team.

Food Service – As in retail sales, these seem to be the more plentiful positions available year-round. “Here's an opportunity to develop social skills while earning an income. A job in the food service industry is a natural fit for sociable teens who enjoy interacting with the public. This job allows employees to work as a part of a team while learning about following instructions and conflict resolution. Many restaurants also allow their staff to earn tips. Keep in mind that food service jobs are not only limited to wait staff either. There are also jobs available as hosts or hostesses, busboys or busgirls, and cooks. Regardless of the position, the team needs to function properly in order to keep the business moving, so teens will learn valuable life skills in this type of job.

Internships – This presents an ideal option for teens who are already on course toward a particular career. This will assist with gaining real industry experience that'll look great on a resume. Even though many of these types of positions are unpaid, the experience that can be gained from completing an internship could be priceless when you consider the professional experience that can be gained. Teens can locate internship opportunities through their high school guidance counselors, or by being bold and approaching their target companies directly.

Life Guard – Although a great choice for teens who are strong swimmers, life guarding can be a challenging position that comes with a fair share of responsibility. Taking the required courses necessary for certification can also be problematic with the national average of American Red Cross Aquatic classes being $250-$500. Completion of certification courses is required to be a life guard and is typically limited to those who are over the age of 15, so a bit of pre-planning will definitely be required if this type of job appeals. This job requires a high level of maturity and professionalism, but it is a rewarding job that can help teens to develop their decision-making skills and confidence.

Babysitter or Nanny –Teens with a nurturing spirit who enjoy children could consider taking on a summer job as a babysitter or nanny, a position which is in high demand during the summer months when working parents need to secure childcare for their young children. This job requires someone who is highly responsible and can resolve conflicts. Though this job can pay reasonably well, generally in the range of $7 to $12 dollars hourly, it can also require a great deal of patience. This is a great choice for teens who wish to pursue a career in teaching, child care, social work or any other field that makes use of social skills or requires interaction with kids.

Housekeeping – Though teenagers may be often viewed as having a difficult time keeping their bedrooms clean, there are some teens that do well in the housekeeping field. This type of work can bring in about $10 an hour and will allow teens to learn responsibility and develop their organizational skills. This job is also in demand in a variety of industries and settings.

Landscaping – Whether you join a landscaping business, or set out to offer your landscaping or lawn care services yourself, this seasonal job is a great choice for teens who love to spend time outdoors. Since many people don't have time to care for their lawns, this job is often in high-demand through the summer months.

Tutoring – Teens who are particularly bookish or aspire to work as a teacher might enjoy spending their summer months tutoring. Kids who are in summer school often need the extra help, and this presents a real opportunity for teens who are particularly talented in certain subject areas. Tutors who are proficient with computers could also teach adults computer skills. Teens who opt to take on a job as a tutor can earn about $15 an hour when they first start out, though this rate can increase depending upon their skills and experience.

CEO of their own business – “Summer jobs for kids are in big demand now that classes are out and summer looms ahead,” said Sarah Cook, Founder of Raising CEO Kids and webhost of 50 Ideas, Tips and Strategies for Kids to do this Summer to Make Money. 

However, Cook cautions parents to let your child’s business be just that. “A summer job should be fun and the kids should be happy to be doing what they’re doing, happy to be making money and growing their business.” Cook also warns that if it becomes tedious or they want to quit, find out why and help them problem-solve. “However, be careful not to try to rule their business or punish them for not running their business. Your job as parent is to coach, mentor and be on the advisory board this will empower them and help grow their self-confidence and sense of competence.”

According to Cook, hundreds of kids start businesses every year and many of them have their dreams extinguished by well-meaning parents. “But the benefits of business ownership far outweigh the fear of risk that often stands in the way of a parent’s support,” said Cook.

For more information about summer jobs for kids and helping your child become an entrepreneur, go to http://www.raisingceokids.com.

Here are a few ideas from Cook’s website: lawn or yard care; car washing or detailing; window washer; appliance cleaning;  pet care; web designer; tutoring;  mother’s helper; personal shopper; offering story time for young children; artist selling homemade crafts and jewelry; garage sale assistant; photographer; and organizer. 

How to choose which summer jobs for kids are right for yours? Cook suggests you pick the top two ideas and do some research. “Work together but have your child take action with picking a business name, making a simple business plan and checking for information,” said Cook. However, the parent also needs to get involved and do a Google or trademark search before opting to use the business name and don’t forget to identify costs, possible taxes, licenses, insurance, legal possibilities, etc. 

Finding the perfect summer job will require planning. A parent and teen should examine the opportunities that are readily available and consider what your child or teen hopes to get out of the position. Working as a landscaper isn’t much fun if they hate getting dirty, while being a babysitter won’t bring much joy if they don’t like kids. Keep in mind that many summer jobs provide workers with transferable skills that come in handy later on in a career, so there are plenty of reasons why it’s a wise idea to start building up their resume while they're still in school – and earning a little extra spending cash never hurt anyone either.