Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Is your teen ready for a part-time job? This summer, millions of teenagers will join the ranks of the employed. From babysitting neighborhood kids and bagging groceries to working at a local restaurant or coffee shop, the two or three months off from school are a great opportunity to get out of the house and earn some money while earning some valuable skills.

Although parents may be unsure when their teens should begin working during their summer vacations, chances are good this May is the time to start applying. If teenagers are old enough to start thinking about what they will do after they graduate from high school, this summer would be an ideal time to start working.

More Than Just a Paycheck

Working during the summer can help teens in ways that go well beyond extra spending money. For a student whose SAT scores are low, a solid work history can be a great way to complement sub-par academic performance. If teens are unsure they want to attend college, working during summer vacations can provide them with invaluable opportunities get an idea of what type of career they will want to pursue.

The Search

To help their teens find a job this summer, parents should sit down with them at the computer and browse through the wide range of jobs online. Websites like have plenty of job listings that are great for teens who are short on experience but long on energy and enthusiasm. Also, keep an eye out for “Help Wanted” signs hanging in local businesses, and let your own friends know that your teen is looking for work.


While most teens are understandably thrilled with the money they earn during the summer, there are plenty of additional reasons why spending their vacations working is a great idea. An article on Investopedia noted that even the most menial and minimum wage job will provide a teenager with plenty of great lessons he or she can use in real life.

Asking customers if they wish to add fries to their order may not require a huge amount of knowledge or training, but the job can definitely be included on future resumes. When it’s time to apply for full-time work down the road, it is imperative that teens don’t have a blank resume. Showing that they held down a job at a fast food place during the summer will be a good sign for future employers.

Teens who work get to be pretty good at managing their time — a skill that will serve them well throughout the rest of their lives. Learning at an early age to juggle work and family and friend commitments through planning and prioritizing will pay off big time later on. If a paid job is difficult to find in the economic environment of your area, consider encouraging your teen to spend time volunteering, which will provide them the same great resume-building opportunities while doing something to improve their community.