With the job market still tight for adults, many teens are being squeezed out of work as well.   In fact, many of the traditional teen jobs are being filled with overqualified adults looking for additional income.  To find a job, kids need to play to their strong hand and become entrepreneurs. Teach your child how to sell themselves and the services they can offer first.  Here’s how you as a parent can help:

  • Help them create a flyer showcasing what they have to offer.  Advise them to be clear about what service they are offering and what they charge.
  • Encourage them to ring bells and make personal appearances at homes and places of business to explain what they have to offer.
  • Advise them to be persistent just short of stalking. Suggest they drop by weekly and remind potential employers of their services.
  • Suggest they network with other teens that have a job.  Offer to take over a job when an older teen goes back to college.

If your kids are stumped over what kind of services they can offer successfully, toss out a few of these ideas to jumpstart their thinking:

  • Pooper-scooper the back yard weekly or daily for families that let dogs do their business at home.
  • Mini house sit by offering to get the mail and keep things tidy while neighbors are on summer vacations to help keep potential crime at bay.
  • Offer to freshen outside plantings as we get ready for Fall.  Take pictures of the work to show future potential clients the kind of work that can be done.
  • Suggest that it might be time to weed the garden and even plant a few vegetables to use at the dinner table or to donate to a local food pantry.
  • Utilize tech-savvy skills by helping small businesses set up social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Be a parent helper. Run errands or help with the kids so mom or dad can have some time to tackle projects.
  • Clean out basements or garages and help organize a garage sale. Agree to a 60/40 split of the profits with the owner.

The key to success for kid job seekers will be an aggressive approach to the job search. Today’s tech-savvy teenagers are apt to conduct 90 percent of their job search on the Internet and submit applications online. However, nothing beats actually walking into a business, introducing yourself to the manager and asking about job opportunities.

The personal touch sets the groundwork in building a rapport that will separate young job seekers from electronic candidates.

By getting out from behind the computer, young job seekers may also find opportunities that don’t exist in the digital realm. Many mom-and-pop stores do not advertise job openings on the Internet. Nor do families looking for babysitters, lawnmowers or housecleaners. Some of the best opportunities this year may be for the odd-jobs entrepreneur.

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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