Kids and Money: Job prospects warming up for teens

The Kansas City StarMay 4, 2014 

If your teenager spent last summer working on his gaming and couch-potato skills because he couldn't land a job, here's some good news: His chances of finding part-time work are much better this year.

That's the forecast from SnagAJob's summer hiring survey of 250 employers in the retail, food service and hospitality industries, three sectors that traditionally hire youths.

According to SnagAJob, employers are likely to boost the summer hiring of hourly workers in the 16-24 age category by more than 2 million positions compared with 2013.

In addition, nearly three-quarters of the employers surveyed expect to fill their summer openings by the end of May, with the average company looking to add 25 positions, the online employment marketplace reported. Of those staff openings, 78 percent will be filled by new workers who are not returning from last summer or the Christmas holiday season.

And despite the national debate over the stagnant minimum wage, SnagAJob noted that summer workers on average will earn $10.39 an hour. That's up 29 cents from President Barack Obama's proposed federal minimum wage boost from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

Though the job market appears healthier this summer for teens, this is not the time to procrastinate. Teens need to reach out to employers, fill out applications and get in front of hiring managers.

What's the best bet for job hunting success?

It starts with a positive attitude and an eagerness to do the job, SnagAJob said. The ability to work the shift listed in the job description was deemed most important to 25 percent of the survey respondents, and 16 percent said a commitment to staying all summer was most critical.

Previous experience? Only 17 percent named it as the top requirement.

Before pounding the pavement, here are a few other interview pointers from Bob Striegel's recently released book, How to Get a Job While in High School ... and Beyond.

■ Wear appropriate clothing.

■ Have a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye when talking.

■ Know something about the business or institution you are interviewing with and ask a couple of questions.

■ When you get home, write a note to the people who interviewed you, thanking them for their time and the opportunity.

And if your teen doesn't get a job, look for volunteer opportunities.

You never know — a senior citizen center might need a high-schooler willing to spend a few hours a week stacking bookshelves, delivering snacks and even playing a few Xbox or Nintendo games with the residents.

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