Tips to Help Your Kid Get a Summer Job

Tips to Help Your Kid Get a Summer Job

Summer jobs. For so many, they’re an important part of growing up. They can teach kids responsibility and, depending on your financial situation, they may even be a necessary contribution to the family’s finances.

But what’s the best way to help your kid get a summer job? Or is helping them just going to hurt their character? Should you just send them into the woods and warn them not to come back until they’ve earned a certain amount of money?

We asked the experts to find out!

Resist or assist?

Before we get into HOW you should help your child find a summer job, it’s worth asking IF you should help your kid find a summer job. Obviously, you want your kid to succeed, but is it better to keep them under your wing or push them out of the nest so they learn to fly?

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. April Masini (@AskAprilcom), author, relationship expert, and creator of Ask April, told us how to thread the needle:

“Help doesn’t mean enable. Remember that the job search is a tool that your child will use for the rest of his or her life. Don’t focus on the goal as much as you focus on the process. Teach your child to help themselves—not to expect an entitled result where parents (or others) do the work for him or her.”

Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder of Virtual Vocations (@VirtualVocation), advises a similar balance. “Parents can be a positive resource for teenagers and young adults looking for summer work, especially if the child will be job searching for the first time,” Spawn told us. “However, parents should also establish and respect boundaries with their child regarding how much influence they’ll wield throughout the process.”

No time like the present.

So it’s OK to help, but you shouldn’t go overboard and take over the process entirely. When should you get started? According to Masini, there’s no better time than the present: “Start early (now) and get organized. Make a list of all possible jobs and tick them off one by one as your child applies. This simple act of getting and staying organized will alleviate stress and give your child self-esteem because he or she will feel that they’re on top of the game. Kids love structure, and when you help them obtain it, they feel safe.”

As far as what age kids should start looking for a summer job, Donna Volpitta (@donnavolpitta), founder of The Center for Resilient Leadership, offered her take: “High school is a great time to start suggesting/requiring that your child get some type of job, just to get the experience and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with earning a paycheck. At first, it is not as much about how much money that your child is making, it is more about learning the skills.”

What’s the plan?

Now you know the who (your child), the when (probably while they’re in high school), and the why (providing your child with the tools they need for the future). So it’s time to talk about the how. Specifically, how should you go about helping your kid get a summer job? Here’s what Volpitta had to say:

“Parents can help brainstorm jobs that might be most appropriate, such as being a busboy, helping out at a store, babysitting, doing lawn work, or pet-walking. They can then help break down different steps that need to be taken such as go in and get an application at a restaurant or store, creating a flyer for lawn work or babysitting, or setting up a list of potential customers. Most jobs will require kids to interact with adults. It is helpful to prepare them with scripts for certain types of conversations, like how to ask for an application or what to say for their “pitch” if they want to babysit. It is important to remember this is a brand new experience and most kids will be reluctant and nervous. Given practice, they will become more and more confident and they will gain skills that will help them tremendously in their future.”

It can also be worth narrowing the job search based on the needs of your child at the moment. “Focus on different types of jobs and make decisions about which to apply for,” Masini advised. “There are money-only jobs where a child is focused on making a certain amount of money by summer’s end, regardless of what the job is. These jobs may be menial or rote types of jobs that others frown on because they’re not glamorous. But there is many-layered value in these jobs for teenagers. On the other hand, there are low or non-paying jobs that work for a resume, and these should be considered as well.”

Spawn adds that parents should “work with their child to create a list of possible job types based on availability and skill level, discuss expected wages and financial goals, and proofread job applications and resumes. But when it comes to cold calling companies or talking to a friend of a friend who knows a fancy CEO who may need an intern, parents should take a step back.”

Think outside the application box.

There are many resources for helping teens find jobs beyond the stereotypical lifeguarding or camp counseling or lemonade standing. Consider looking online for unique opportunities.

We found out about one such unique opportunity from Naomi Galimidi, the development director for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (@thevycc), part of The Corps Network (@TheCorpsNetwork). She told us about the VYCC and The Corps Network at large:

“There are over 125 youth corps across the country that provide outdoor work on public lands. It’s a highly educational experience, and it’s a meaningful job that makes a difference. Youth Corps programs are built on the successful Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s. Info on the national association, and a member listing, can be found at corpsnetwork.org.

“Vermont Youth Conservation Corps will provide profound learning opportunities—which are also paying jobs (or AmeriCorps positions) – to nearly 300 young people this summer. We offer opportunities from 4 to 20 weeks, for youth and young adults ages 15 and over. Applicants do not need any work experience or skills to qualify. VYCC is a nonprofit that has been serving youth since 1985. Our mission is to teach young people personal responsibility that connects us to the land, community, and one another. Alumni consistently tell us that their VYCC experience had a positive influence on them and is the source of their strongest lifelong friendships.”

Finding a job for yourself can be tough enough, so you might not have the time and resources to help your kid or kids find one too. But if you are able, it can be a great way for them to start learning responsibility and independence.

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Contributors
Naomi Galimidi is Development Director at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (@thevycc). She is motivated and impassioned by VYCC’s ability to provide young people with skills and values that guide them into adulthood. Naomi arrived at VYCC in 2012 with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany and ten years of professional experience in nonprofit management including program development, marketing, communications, and fundraising. You can reach her at Naomi.Galimidi@vycc.org. (The YYCC is a part of The Corps Network (@TheCorpsNetwork.)
April Masini (@AskAprilcom) is a relationship and etiquette expert and popular media resource —  author of four relationship advice books, the ‘Ask April’ advice column and the #1 relationship advice forum where over 25,000 questions have been asked and answered, personally, by April. She has nearly a quarter million active forum members, 623,000 Facebook fans and over 1.4 million Twitter followers. She is also the relationship expert and consultant to TD Bank for it’s 2016 Love and Money Survey Campaign.
Laura Spawn (@VirtualVocation), CEO of Virtual Vocations, Inc., co-founded the company with her brother, Adam, in 2007 following a frustrating search for her own virtual job. For more than a decade they have been dedicated to providing jobseekers with safe and effective resources for researching and applying to the latest telecommute job openings from top employers. More than one million jobseekers subscribe to job alerts from Virtual Vocations, which has grown to become the number one telecommute-only job board online. Virtual Vocations’ services have also been discussed in publications from Forbes, AARP, Computerworld, and The Penny Hoarder.
As the founder of The Center for Resilient Leadership, Donna Volpitta (@donnavolpitta), Ed.D., teaches people about the brain in order to help them make more mindfully resilient choices. Her Resilient Mindset Model has been applied to areas of leadership from parenting to corporate management. Dr. Volpitta is co-author of the book “The Resilience Formula: A Guide to proactive–Not Reactive-Parenting” and co-creator of the Nametags Education Program. Dr. Volpitta holds Board positions for One Revolution Foundation (one-revolution.org) and Kids Helping Kids (kidshelpingkidsct.org), both of which develop resilience in youth. She is an expert contributor for Understood.org, is a Global Presence Ambassador for Parenting 2.0, is a life skills coach with Yathatgame.com, and presents at workshops throughout the country. For more information, please see her website: centerforresilientleadership.com.

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