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Tips for teens on finding a job

Summer break provides teens with opportunities to get away from the rut of going to school, to visit and have fun with friends and to make a little extra money.

"Finding a suitable job requires a commitment of time and energy, a clear understanding of the type job you want and a good attitude," says Dr. Jacquelyn Robinson, Workforce Development Specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The summer job market for teens can be highly competitive. Half-heartedly looking for a job is the quickest way to get turned down, over and over. Landing a job for the summer means committing hours to looking for a job, talking to people, filling out applications and going on interviews.

Knowing the type of job you want is one of the first steps to finding a job that is suited to your skills and interests. Take time to think about the types of jobs that appeal to you. Do fast-paced jobs have more appeal than ones in quiet, laid-back environments? Do you prefer to be inside or outdoors? Do you like to work with others, or do you prefer to work alone? If you prefer to be outdoors, you might enjoy a job in a parks and recreation center rather than a stock room.

Look at the skills required for each, then compare those skills to those you already have. If you are terrible in math, then you probably would not enjoy a job as a clerk who has to make change all day. The closer the match, the more likely you will enjoy your summer job while building a good reference for future jobs.

Understanding why you want to work will also help you determine where to apply, says Robinson. Do you want to earn extra money for something special, or do you need the job to make ends meet? Do you want to use your summer employment experience as an opportunity to do a little career exploration? Are you looking for a job where your friends work so you can be with them? Do you view working during the summer as an opportunity to gain work experience and make good contacts for future reference?