Written by Carol Christen
Sunday, 09 May 2010 17:12

How you can help...

Parents, teachers and other concerned adults can do much to help adolescents or young adults find work or create their own job.  Here are some suggestions:  

  • Help teens identify their strongest skills.  Review with them a few stories about how they’ve used those skills.  With your student's skills, what local jobs could they do? What businesses could they launch that wouldn't take much start up capital?
  • Help teens create a resume, skills summary, personal profile, website or blog that shows their skills. Help your teen think up who they might contact for personal or work references.
  • Set expectations for summer accomplishments and behavior.

No job? If the youth in your household can't find a job or create one, assist them in setting up other activities through which they can gain personal or business skills. Look for volunteer, career awareness, half day job shadowing expereinces, online or local classes to keep up skills (especially in hardest subjects) or perhaps find a tutor.  Other ideas:

  1. Brainstorm.  Help teen make a list of people to contact, previous employers, coaches, friends and acquaintance.
  2. Assist teen to create their “pitch.”  Hi my name is----, my best skills are--- I’m looking for work as a ---.  Do you have other suggestions what jobs I could do?
  3. Help teens find classes, volunteer positions or other experience that will make them more employable next summer.  Learn how to work cash register, improve people skills, take life guard, first aid or CPR class, volunteer where would like to work; start long term project that will demonstrate ability to “stick with it.”
  4. Determine what transportation is available to get teen to a job, class or volunteer work.  Help teen learn to use public transportation. Stress to your teen that unless they are sick, they work every shift they’ve been assigned.
  5. Teenagers are the most vulnerable and most often exploited workers.  Teach your teen how to deal with dangerous situations that might arise on the job, especially sexual harassment.

WHAT PARENTS SHOULD NOT DO:
  • Don’t do it for them—finding a job is a skill your teens will need all their lives.  Don’t fill out applications for them.  Sit with them as they fill out an application.  Remind them to make extra copies in case they make a mistake (which they will).  Help them remember previous jobs and job duties. Be supportive.
  • Do not ask friends and co-workers “Do you have a job for my kid?” Instead ask if they would be willing to brainstorm with you and your child possible jobs.
  • Do not tell your teen what kind of work they should or shouldn’t do (except in cases of danger or risk of danger).   Almost any job is a great learning experience and gives teens opportunities to exercise their decision-making skills.

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