A major concern of many parents in the summertime is their children – how to get a job, avoid boredom or to stay out of trouble.

Keeping an open mind and creativity are needed for success.

Landing a summer job is also great for a kid’s confidence and morale.

That was a concern of my mom when growing up in Palm Springs, which largely became a ghost town in the summer. She wanted me to be productive and didn’t want me loafing around the house. She insisted I get a job.

If there were no jobs, I was encouraged to take summer classes. Most often, I got a job busing tables at exclusive restaurants, where I also enjoyed serving customers like J.C. Penney, Doris Day and Paul Harvey.

Later, as a college journalism student, one summer there were no jobs and my morale suffered. So I contacted some former high school teachers for advice. Some were teaching summer school classes, so they were accessible.

One of them asked about my career aspirations, and suggested I go to broadcasting school to get a first-class Federal Communications Commission license. At that time, it was great way for entry into radio . I toured all the southern California broadcasting schools, and selected my best option.

During a six week course, I stayed at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood (the school and hotel had an affordable deal for students) and got my license thanks to an electronic theory class at the nearby Don Martin School of Broadcasting. I was immediately in demand at radio stations in small to medium markets as I finished my undergraduate studies.

Candidly, my employment in college taught me as much as my academic studies. Plus, the work experience gave me an advantage over competitors later after I graduated.

But summer jobs in this day and age are hard for kids to find. They face high unemployment rates. Creativity is the ticket to success.

My sense is that it’s vital for a teen’s self esteem to get advice but conduct a job search without parental help. Long-term for your teen’s self confidence, I don’t advise parents to do the actual footwork.

Some ideas:

1. Suggest your teen check around to create a job. Canvass the neighborhood for odd jobs. Can lawns be mowed? Does an elderly neighbor need help?

2. Suggest considering volunteer work. It will enhance your child’s self esteem, and will provide valuable experience.

3. Teens can contact local businesses and nonprofits, and inquire about being an unpaid intern or volunteer. A good employer pays interns. Whether it’s a nursery, TV station or homeless shelter, some lead to paying positions.

4. Students can contact successful businesspeople in their majors asking for a meeting to get advice on their studies or career. (Once as a junior in college in asking for an appointment, a TV station executive immediately interviewed me as a staff announcer.)

5. Whenever possible, make the inquiry in person. Your child will stand out in the crowd. It will also add to your child’s self esteem.

6. In the event an inquiry doesn’t lead to a job or internship, ask for two referrals. (“What are the names of two people, who might be able to use me?”)

With a little resourcefulness, your child can stay busy, earn some money, learn a work ethic and possibly lay the ground work for a successful career later in life.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources: 

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Lessons in the Disparity between Expectations and Reality   Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem. Increasingly, new college graduates are bewildered why they’re under-employed, according to research by Accenture.

Why Accounting, Finance Can be Ideal Careers for Women — Women who are frustrated in their careers and who are looking to make a change might be well-served if they consider accounting or finance. Why? Such a career affords a better balance between a career and personal life. That’s one of the conclusions from a Mergis study.

 Is Higher Education Doing the Job to Prepare Grads for the Workforce? — A disturbing headline once caught my eye — “US higher education failing to focus on basic skills.” The 2011 Washington Post column by Pulitzer Prize-winning Kathleen Parker asserts that colleges and universities are falling down on their job – to properly educate our students.

At Long Last, More Focus on Critical Thinking in Business Schools — We are getting so jaded by negative business headlines prompted by greed and dysfunction, it was refreshing to read a positive story. One such article caught my eye. It tells the story of how dynamic changes in the global economy are prompting a new approach in management education.

“Information’s pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience.”

-Clarence Day


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.