How to Help Your Teen Find a Summer Job or Internship

Jun 12, 2017

Camp counselor with campersNow that the school year has ended or is quickly winding down, are you concerned that your teens may have a little too much time on their hands or that they will be continually hitting you up for cash in their pursuit of summer fun? Not only can a job or internship provide them with structure and needed funds, it can also offer invaluable real-world experience and help open doors for them as adults. Help make the job hunt a successful team process with these tips: 

Work your network: Don’t hesitate to let friends, co-workers, extended family, neighbors and even casual acquaintances know that your son or daughter is looking for work. You may be surprised to hear that they know someone who is hiring, or that they have a contact in a company or organization still looking to fill an internship or find summer help. Also school your son or daughter on the importance of networking and suggest that they too start making a list of who they might contact.

Encourage them to take a proactive approach: If your teen has an interest in a specific business, they should certainly look at the company’s website for potential internships or job possibilities. But also advise them not to assume that a position isn’t available just because they don’t see it listed. In many cases, they may learn about an exciting opportunity by reaching out to the organization directly by email or phone.  Following the company’s social media accounts is another useful way to learn about openings. And for many seasonal jobs in particular, your teen can often increase the chance of getting hired by inquiring in person at places like stores, restaurants, ice cream parlors, hotels, parks and more.

Point them in the right direction online: While it can be worthwhile to explore summer opportunities listed in a school’s college and career center, there are also a number of websites dedicated to helping connect students with part-time, seasonal work or internships. A few to try are GrooveJob, WayUp and Internship Programs. Snagajob is also a good resource for finding hourly work.

Help them brainstorm: If your teen is having difficulty figuring out what kind of summer job might be a good fit, here are some suggestions of typical jobs for teens to help get them unstuck: 

  • Camp counselor
  • Tutor for kids or adults (i.e., computer skills for adults)
  • Golf caddy
  • Food service: host, busser, server, cook, etc.
  • Lifeguard
  • Retail sales
  • Instructional assistant for summer school
  • Child care or nanny
  • Landscaping/lawn services

Check their applications: A highly common way teens irritate hiring managers is by submitting applications with glaring grammatical mistakes and typos. Do your teen a favor and offer to proofread their applications. If they resist, remind them that even as adults it’s easy to make mistakes in writing.

Prepare them for the interview: As anxious as we as adults tend to get about a job interview, remember that it can be even more so for teens new to the experience. Help them develop confidence with practice questions and role playing prior to an interview. You can find sample questions they might encounter and insight on the best ways to respond at

Remind them to dress the part: While in most cases you won’t be sending your teen out onto the job market in a suit (though an internship may be an exception for a college student), stress to them the importance of being well groomed and nicely dressed, and not wearing overly revealing clothing. For girls, a tailored top or polo shirt neatly tucked into a mid-length skirt or pants can be a good choice. Neatly pressed khakis and a nice collared shirt or polo shirt may suffice for boys. 

As your teen ventures out into the working world, make sure they understand that rejection is a regular part of the job search process. To prop them up if they become discouraged, you might point out that they wouldn’t really want to get every single job they applied for anyway (a good reminder for us all). Also stay alert to the fact that there are many businesses that tend to take advantage of teenage workers, so be sure that your teen knows what their job duties will entail and the training they will receive prior to accepting an offer. Finally, take the time to celebrate when they’ve successfully landed a job!

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