How You Can Encourage Your Unemployed Teen
I don’t know how it is where you live, but in my area, the economy is so bad that no one can find a job, let alone a teenager looking for a part-time job. One of my sons went into the Air Force last year after having looked for a job locally for almost two years.
I have another son in the same boat – he is 19 and it looks like he is going to get an art scholarship – which is awesome but he is so frustrated about being 19 and being totally supported by mom that I am afraid he is going to throw away the scholarship and head for the military, too.
Don’t get me wrong. I was in the military. I have two sons (so far) in the military. I just dislike the fact that some kids are going in, not because they feel called to but because they feel they have no other choice.
Military personnel who don’t want to be there sometimes aren’t very good at their jobs. In the military that can get someone killed.
Anyway, in thinking about all of this I am looking for ways to help my kids to find jobs (or at least feel good about themselves despite not being able to work) while not creating a co-dependent sort of situation.
It’s Who You Know
In this job market, it really is about who you know as well as setting yourself up to be ahead of the crowd. I am encouraging my kids to network on social media as well as in person and let people know that they are looking for work.
It’s How You Come Across
It’s important that they learn to carry themselves well, communicate on an adult level, and come across as bright and friendly. I see teenagers that are almost unable to communicate with adults and I wonder if they are ever going to get jobs.
Practice interviewing with your teen. Encourage them to sit up, smile, and most of all make eye contact. Slang should be totally off the table. Go over some questions that a prospective employer might ask such as:
- How do you feel about school?
- What are your hobbies?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
They need to be open and willing to do anything, within in reason of course. Help them to engage the interviewer in conversation. Don’t just give one word answers. Give answers that are thorough, lead to other questions, but aren’t rambling.
Think Like an Entrepreneur
Take a look at this article about ten people that had million dollar businesses before they were out of their teens.
Anyone can start their own business in this day and age. There are so many opportunities on the Internet alone that many teens just don’t think about. Designing websites, writing and monetizing blogs, creating their own magazine – help your child look at his talents and abilities and think outside the box.
There are other opportunities as well. Yard work, washing windows, running errands, pet sitting, babysitting – the list is almost endless. As always, people who find a need and fill it will always have employment opportunities.
It is tempting for me, as a writer, to create magnificent cover letters and resumes for my kids. After all, that’s what I do for a living. It is important that they learn to be self-motivated and able to create these things on their own. Guide, suggest, critique gently, but don’t ever do for them what they need to do for themselves.