Though Brett Crow now works for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, his very first job was working for a farmer in rural West Liberty, Ohio. The farmer, who was Crow’s neighbor, needed someone to haul rocks from his field and create a ramp to his barn to keep him from careening over the side when he drove his tractor at night. Crow spent one hot summer gathering rocks from the farmer’s fields and building the ramp.
For teens, a summer job is a ticket beyond school and parental boundaries. Nevertheless, teens usually still need their parents’ help in this area.
Here are some ways that parents can aid their teens as they set out to find their first summer job:
Have an open conversation about the basics.
Teens should consider looking for a job that relates to the career that they are considering, says Moira Weir, director of Hamilton County Job and Family Services. “It’s great to have work experience, but even more valuable to have experience related to your career field,” she says. Working in a specific field will not only give your child experience, but will also help them decide if this is the path they want to follow.
Next, help your teen write a resume. Even if they don’t have job experience, volunteer and extracurricular activities count. “A resume will show the employer that you are serious about the job, and will set you apart from the competition,” Crow says. Help your child understand how to fill out a job application and how to conduct themselves in an interview.
Teach the value of networking.
For most teens, who they know is an excellent start. Reach out to family friends, teachers, local job resources or the high school’s guidance counselor for job hunting advice. Teens can also search for part-time jobs on OhioMeansJobs.com.
Know the laws.
Every state requires teens under the age of 18 years to meet specific job requirements. In Ohio, teens must be 14 years old and have an employment permit from their school guidance office. Teens 16 and older only need permission from their parents to work. Teens ages 14 and 15 cannot work before 7 am or after 9 pm, or more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week. Teens 16 years and older have no limitations on work hours.
Outline on-the-job behavior.
With a first job, parents should emphasize a good work attitude. While many jobs have their challenging moments, remind your child that because they are at the “bottom of the totem pole,” they will be asked to pitch in on even the most menial tasks. These tasks are a great way to develop new skill sets. “Use a summer job to develop strong work habits,” Weir says. “Show up every day and ask to try as many things as possible.”
If they don’t already have one, open a savings account for your teen and designate a percentage that they will set aside for savings. Explain all the aspects of their paycheck, including taxes, withholdings and profits.
Build that college resume.
Working while in high school proves to many colleges that a teen can handle the rigors of college life. These experiences can be one of the significant deciding factors with college admission. A good reference from a previous employer can help a teen get into their chosen college, and also prepare them for their future career.