parenting journey

Goal: Help your teen get their first job

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Preparing your teen for their first job is an important step in helping them build responsibility, independence, and valuable life skills. Here are some steps you, as a parent, can follow to support your teen through this process.

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1 | Discuss the benefits of getting a job

Financial Independence

Start by explaining that getting a job provides financial independence. This means they can earn their own money to spend on things they like, save for future goals, or use for daily needs without relying solely on parents or guardians. This independence is a significant step towards adulthood.

Career exploration and skills development

Explain how a job can be a fantastic way to explore potential career interests. It offers a glimpse into different industries and roles, helping them understand what they might like to pursue in the future. Additionally, they'll develop essential skills—communication, teamwork, problem-solving—that are valuable in any career.

Responsibility and time management

Emphasize that having a job teaches responsibility. They'll learn to manage their time effectively, balancing work, school, and leisure. This skill is invaluable throughout life and can lead to a greater sense of personal accountability.

Building a resume and networking

Explain that each job experience is a building block for their resume, making them more attractive to future employers or for college applications. They will also have the chance to meet new people and build a professional network, which could open doors to opportunities later in life.

Gaining real-world experience

Work experience, regardless of the job, provides valuable lessons in dealing with different types of people, solving problems, and understanding how businesses operate. Explain how early jobs are an opportunity to learn what they enjoy doing and what they're good at, which can inform their future career choices.

2 | Help identify interests and skills

Assess strengths and interests

Encourage your teen to think about what they enjoy doing and what they're good at. This can help in finding a job that matches their interests.

They can ask people they spend time with what they think your teen's strengths and interests are. Their responses may be a surprise.

Consider volunteer experiences

Volunteering can be a great way to build skills and experience in areas of interest.

Even just doing some research in different volunteering options can help them figure out which ones appeal to them and which don't.
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Career path guides

Explore our growing library of career path guides. Come back often. We'll keep adding more.

Look at college websites

Many people discover their future careers simply by reading through program descriptions in college calendars or on their websites.

That's how I chose my career.

3 | Assist them in their job search

Searching for job opportunities

Introduce them to various job search platforms and local resources where they can find job listings suitable for teenagers.
Some online resources:

Networking

Teach them the importance of networking by reaching out to family, friends, and community members who might know of job opportunities.

Understanding job posts

Teach them how to search and evaluate job posts to see whether they would qualify for a job and when to take a chance, even if they don't meet 100% of the criteria.
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Online course

How to get your first job: A step-by-step guide

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Empower your teen: Secrets revealed for navigating their first job hunt

Parent's teaching guide: Help your teen get their first job

This guide will help you prepare your teen for looking for, applying for, interviewing for and excelling at their first job.

4 | Help them with the application process

Resume and cover letter writing

Help them prepare a resume and cover letter, tailoring it to each job application. Include any volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and applicable skills.
Resources:

Application forms

Assist in filling out job application forms, ensuring all the information is accurate and complete.

Understanding job posts

Teach them how to use the keywords found in job posts in their resume and cover letter they submit. Help them figure out whether there are gaps in their work experience or education that they will need to address before applying.

Online presence and safety

Discuss the importance of maintaining a professional online presence, as potential employers might search for applicants on social media. Guide them on internet safety practices, especially when sharing personal information online or communicating with potential employers.

5 | Help them prepare for interviews

Mock interviews

Conduct practice interviews to help them get comfortable with common questions and to practice their responses.

Dress for success

Discuss the importance of appearance and dressing appropriately for job interviews.
Resources:

Teen at a job interview

How to help your teen prepare for job interviews: Tips and tricks

A Parent's Guide to Coaching Teens for Interview Skills

6 | Teach them workplace etiquette

Professional behavior

Talk about the importance of punctuality, respect, and positive attitude in the workplace.
Resources:

Communication skills

Teach them how to communicate effectively with coworkers and supervisors, including email etiquette and conflict resolution.
Resources:

7 | Teach them financial responsibility

Opening a bank account

If they don't already have one, help them open a checking account and teach them how to manage their money.

Saving early

Explain how beginning to save money while they are young will allow them to live very comfortably later in life. Teach them how compound interest works in their favor if they start saving now.

Budgeting

Discuss the importance of saving a portion of their earnings and how to budget for personal expenses.
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Online course

Make the best personal banking choices: An introduction to personal banking

8 | Offer ongoing support and advice

Be supportive

The job application process can be challenging and sometimes disappointing. Provide continuous support and encouragement, reminding them that rejection is a part of the process and can lead to future opportunities.

Career development

Encourage them to seek opportunities for learning and advancement in their job.

9 | Address legal requirements

Understanding job offers

Teach them how to evaluate a job offer, including pay, hours, responsibilities, and other benefits. Discuss the importance of understanding their employment rights and any contracts they might need to sign.

Work permits

Check the legal requirements for minors working in your area, such as work permits or restricted working hours.

Paperwork

Check to see what paperwork your teen needs in order to be an employee in your area. For example, in Canada, people need a social insurance number (SIN) in order to work.

10 | Ensure safety first

Workplace safety

Discuss the importance of understanding and following safety protocols at work. Help them look up their safety rights and responsibilities when working in your area.
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By following these steps, you'll help your teen navigate the process of getting their first job with confidence, setting them up for success in the workplace and beyond.

What do you need help with?

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My teen doesn't want to get a job button
My teen might struggle with balancing school and a job button
My teen has unrealistic expectations for a job button