Published May 31, 2011
As summertime school vacations begin to unfold, many teenagers are still scrambling to find a job. And while the market for teenage workers remains soft, opportunity can still be found if teens take on a resourceful approach.
According to one job-search authority, while the interview and hiring process for seasonal positions may seem to have concluded, teens should not give up yet.
“Some employers may need more workers than they expected; others may have delayed hiring; and some may have discovered that one or more of those hired early were not a good fit,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Despite the somewhat-gloomy outlook on the summer job market for teens, further support has come from several employers like McDonald’s (MCD), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe’s (LOW), which have all announced seasonal hiring plans since March.
“Teen job seekers will definitely need help from the private sector. We still see a shortage of job opportunities for teens in the cash-strapped public sector, where taxpayer-funded park districts, public swimming pools, beaches, camps, etc., are likely to cut back on seasonal hiring,” said Challenger.
Last year, teen job seekers faced the weakest summer job market in decades. Employment among 16- to 19-year-olds increased by just 960,000 jobs, representing the lowest level of summer hiring since 1949, when teen employment increased by 932,000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 960,000 increase marked a 17.5% reduction from 2009, when teen employment grew by 1,163,000.
The annual peak in employment was hit in 2006, when employers hired more than 1.7 million teenagers during the summer, bringing total employment for this age group to 7,494,000 in July.
“The key to success for late-to-the-game teen job seekers will be an aggressive approach. Today’s tech-savvy teenagers are apt to conduct 90% 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,” advises Challenger, who emphasized that such a personal touch would distinguish potential employees from electronic candidates.
Teens still searching for summertime employment should call family and friends and search for odd hour or behind-the-scenes jobs not traditionally filled by teens. It is also essential for candidates to dress the part, and be persistent in visiting employers. Though it may seem late in the game, job seeking teenagers who are resourceful, open-minded, and presentable still have reason to be hopeful.