How to Help Your Kids Snag a Summer Job

By Kendall Bitonte, GalTime Associate Producer

Sunshine… $0

New Swim Suit….$59

Concert Ticket…$88

Bank Account…More red than your sunburn

Without a job, summer can quickly become three of the most expensive months of the year.

'Getting a job', though, is not as easy as it sounds and it is becoming increasingly important for job-seekers to know how to market themselves to match their skills with a fitting position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of teenagers (aged 16-19) as of May 2011 was 24.2% and for adult women it stands at 8%.

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Bottom line: the summer job market is tight and you need to do whatever it takes to stand out. Business Administration Professor Eric Chen at Saint Joseph's College says, "Hiring is a big commitment and hiring the 'wrong' person for small businesses can sometimes be catastrophic due to these costs."
As you embark on your job search, how do you make yourself the "right" person for the "right" job? Here are three steps:

1. Understand Your Value

Chen recommends job seekers look back on their past experiences and really assess the skills they have acquired.

"You should advertise skills that everyone would want. Remember that the employer will train you. Since the employer will teach you how the employer wants you to do a job, you should provide examples of how you have been," Chen suggests. Traits like being hard-working, ethical, reliable and organized are practiced and gained in jobs that don't necessarily require an office setting, like babysitting and waitressing. Even if you are not interested in an office setting, all employers are looking for basic qualifications and virtues, so be sure not to sell yourself short!

Once you have a good idea of your skill set, start creating a list of businesses that will appreciate and enhance your past experiences.

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2. Experience, Experience, Experience

Finding a job that offers valuable experience in this tough economic market, however, can be difficult but Chen offers the 'internship' as an extremely beneficial option. He says that internships give you the chance to gauge true interest in a field and give new knowledge.

"If you're interested in becoming a doctor, find a position or volunteer at a hospital. If you're interested in becoming a lawyer, find a law firm or even a non-profit organization. Demonstrate your commitment to the profession. If [your desired internship] doesn't exist, then get in contact with the business manager and suggest to the manager that the internship should exist, and that you are the right candidate for such a position," Chen says.

3. Money Matters…?

But what if you find the internship of your dreams that doesn't pay?

Chen realizes that "better paid than unpaid…The important thing for interns is the experience. The experience will pave the way to getting a good job in the future. Even so, there may be ways to get paid without getting paid. Ask for a bit of transportation assistance. Employers get the tax benefit. Be honest, up-front, and real."

So here it is: look at your resume and be your best promoter, then try to find a job that will offer valuable work experience and (hopefully) a pay check that will give you a fun filled summer!

Got any secrets for landing a summer spot? Let us know!

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