Students, and parents, need to get past the idea that it’s still easy for kids to get a quick summer job at McDonald’s or run around the neighborhood mowing lawns. Times have changed.
Labor laws are so cumbersome and difficult to monitor that some businesses simply don’t hire kids under eighteen anymore. Neighbors don’t want the liability of kids working around their homes with or without power equipment, and they don’t want to give access to anyone when they aren’t home. This isn’t without merit. Home owner’s insurance might not cover them if they get hurt. That’s a lot of risk. Where does this leave kids who want and/or need to work?
First, you–the student–must accept the fact you have a great deal of competition. Your competition may be willing to cut their hair, wear a tie, and work on weekends, even when it means missing a great party. The nature of the working world is that employers call the shots. There are more workers than jobs. Even adults with many years of experience and advanced degrees are working longer hours for less money. If you want to work, you have to be willing to do what’s asked regarding appearance and job duties. You’ll also need to accept the fact you won’t start out making what you think you deserve.
Second, you need a good resume that points out what you have to offer. Resumes for students create a challenge, but it’s possible to develop a resume at any age. Include clubs and student activities, special awards, short-term jobs, volunteer projects, special interests or summer workshops. All of these things help build a profile of a person an employer wants to hire when you look for your first job.
Third, talk to adults you know about providing references. Tell people you know that you are looking for a job. Ask for references from anyone you’ve worked for, or with, who can testify about your ability, skills, and responsible behavior. If you can’t think of anyone, volunteer for a project at a church or school. You will need a reference or two that aren’t family. It is a bit of a dilemma, but you can find ways to build references.
Send in your questions. If you have questions, other kids do too.