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How to Find a Summer Job: Tips for Teen Job Seekers

How to Find a Summer Job: Tips for Teen Job Seekers

As a teen, you may be looking for your first summer job. Summer is quickly approaching. If you haven't already, now, it's a great time to get started. So you may be nervous and excited about starting this new process, but we got you. That's why we're going to share some tips to help make your summer job search fun, and successful. So here we go. 

Steps to Finding a Great Summer Job

  1. Talk to your parents.
  2. Start early.
  3. Decide what type of summer job you want.
  4. Organize your job search.
  5. Write a resume and cover letter.
  6. Get references.
  7. Ask for help.

Talk to Your Parents

Let's dive in first, talk to your parents. Why in the world do you need to talk to your parents about finding a job? Well, you may want to talk to them about a few things such as:

  • When school gets out for the summer.
  • When school starts back in the fall.
  • Dates you cannot work because of family obligations (vacations, visitors, ect.)
  • Transportation to and from work.

You may already know when school gets out and starts again, but talk to your parents about these dates anyway. Just to confirm. It’s important to have these dates correct so that you can know when you can start work and when your last day of work must be.

You also want to talk to them about how you're getting to and from work. If you don't have a car and your parents are going to be taking you to work and picking you. You need to make sure that they're able to do that. If not, they can help you plan other ways to get to work. Otherwise attendance and getting to work on time could be a challenge. 

Another important point of conversation is your availability to work. Your parents may depend on you to watch younger siblings this summer so that they can work. If you’re needed to help with child care, you and your parents can work out a schedule that may allow you to still find a job.

So just talk to them and get an overall picture of what's going on in your family. After talking to your parents you'll know what you can commit yourself to in regards to work. You’ll be well on your way to a successful job search.

Start Early

You'll want to start your job search early.  Employers start hiring for summer jobs early in the year. They typically don't wait until the first day of summer to start looking for summer help. So you will want to start your summer job search around March or April. A perfect time to start putting in applications is around Spring Break. If you do this, you will probably have your summer job already lined up by the time the summer rolls around. 

Decide What Type of Summer Job You Want

A summer job can serve many purposes. You might want an internship to get experience in  a certain field or learn more about a  career. Or perhaps you’re trying to boost your college application. Maybe you’re trying to save up some money to pay for college tuition or fund senior year expenses like prom and pictures. 

All of those are perfectly fine and great reasons to want to land a summer job. When you understand what type of job you want, you'll be able to narrow down what types of jobs to look for.. You’ll also better plan what kind of job search activities you'll engage in to be able to reach your goal. 

Organize Your Job Search

After you've already decided what type of job that you want, the next focus is to get some organization in place. Being organized is important so that you're not all over the place. To organize your job search, start by making a list of companies or the type of businesses that you like to work for. Next, make a list of any online job boards that you will use to help you find job postings and opportunities. Finally, take a look at your calendar. To be consistent in your job search, you’ll need to dedicate time to job search activities. 

In addition to planning where and when you’ll apply for jobs, you want to set up a system to track the jobs to which you’ve applied.  It could be a simple list or a Google Sheet where you record the name of the company, position, how you applied and date applied. Just make sure that it’s something you can access easily and quickly. You’ll want to be able to refer to it when you receive call backs from employers. You’ll make a good impression when you can recall details about the job when you speak with employers.

Write a Resume and Cover Letter

To get started with your job search, you’ll need a cover letter and resume. A resume is a summary of your work experience. It's a professional document that summarizes your work history, your education and  things that you've accomplished. 

As a teenager,  you may not have any work experience that's formal but you can still create a resume. If you don't have any work experience, you want to focus on things that you've done in clubs at school or volunteer work. Independent work, that you've done like babysitting or cutting yards in the neighborhood. All of those things count. You can organize those into a professional resume document. 

The next thing you'll need to write is a cover letter. A  cover letter is basically an introduction to the employer that is sent with your resume. It  is your chance to sell yourself to the employer and share with them why you'd be a good fit for the job. Since the cover letter is more personal, you can include things that you can’t in a resume. With the personal nature of a cover letter, you want a different or unique letter for every job that you apply for.

Get References 

Next up, you want to get references. References may be asked for on applications. You can also include them with your resume. A reference is someone who will vouch for you. They'll speak well of you as a person and give the employer a little insight as to what you'd be like, as an employee. It gives a company confidence in their decision to hire someone.

Think of references like reviews on Amazon. We read those reviews before we click buy now, to make us feel more comfortable about whatever it is we’re getting ready to spend our hard earned cash on. Lots of positive reviews help us buy. Negative reviews make us continue our search and decide on something else. References work the same way. Employers want to know what type of person they are getting before they bring them into their organization. 

For your job search, aim to have at least three references, but five would be ideal.  You'll just need to get their name, mailing address, years known,  a phone number, how you know them and email. 

The individuals that you want to ask for references ,can write a letter for you as well. Reference letters come in handy during your job search. So get the ones that you can and hold on to them. It’s also a good idea to give your references a heads up that you're going to be using them as a reference. This way they will be anticipating someone calling them to ask them questions about you. The more mentally prepared your reference is, the better quality their reference will be. 

If you’re wondering who to ask for a reference here are some ideas. You’ll want to have references who are not relatives. 

  • Teachers
  • School principal
  • Group leaders (Church, community, school)
  • People you’ve done informal work for ( the couple you babysit for, the neighbor whose yard you cut, the small business owner that you help out with social media ect)

Ask for Help

Don’t forget to ask for help. You’ll be surprised by how excited and eager people in your life will be to help you find a summer job. Getting help with your job search can make the process of finding a summer job quicker and easier.

Ask your parents, grandparents and other family members to join in and help you. Teachers, neighbors, people at church are good to reach out to for help. This is called your network. Your network will be valuable to you throughout your life and you should always work to expand it.

But for your summer job search, your network will help you by keeping an eye out for companies who are hiring or connecting you with people who they know who can influence your chances of getting hired. So tell everyone that you’re looking for a summer job.


 Now you have it. These seven tips can help you land a summer job as a teenager. Tell us in the comments what you've been doing to find a great summer job.

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