If it seems like more and more teenagers aren't getting summer jobs, that's actually backed up by data. Pew Research Center recently found that only a third of all teenagers in the US had a summer job last year.
Part of this is due to more and more teens trying to build their resume for college applications with volunteer work and community service. But there's value in learning how to work early, and if you're interested in growing up with a summer job as a teenager, read on and we'll tell you how to get one, and what some of the best summer jobs for teens are right now.
How to Look for a Summer Job as a Teen
There are plenty of different ways to land a summer job as a teenager. These include:
One word of warning about these conversations, however:
Don't discount creative or outside the box ideas. Today's workplace is vastly different than the workplace of your teenage years, and those ideas that strike you as strange or unconventional could prove to be an important stepping stone in their young career.
Our List of the Best Teen Summer Jobs
We'll break our job recommendations up into a few broad categories to help you find the perfect summer job for your teenager:
The Great Outdoors
If your teenager wants to get outside, work hard (or just work on their tan) during the hot summer months there are lots of excellent opportunities that may interest them.
Check with local lawn service and/or landscaping companies to see if they're looking for laborers. These jobs teach kids the value of hard work and allow them to get experience working outdoors in their community. If your child is looking for volunteer opportunities to build their resume, he or she could leverage this experience to launch a community spring and fall clean-up initiative where volunteers help elderly members of their community rake leaves, weed garden beds, and more twice a year. This is a way to get paid, get work experience, and leverage that experience to create a college application that stands out.
Service With a Smile
If your teen prefers to work indoors and loves interacting with people, consider a summer job in retail, or in the food service industry. Whether that job is at a movie theater, restaurant, sidewalk drink stand, ice cream parlor, or a retail outlet at the mall, these jobs give teens the opportunity to earn some money, learn the value of hard work, and meet interesting people at the same time.
Sharing is Caring
If you're a teenager with a special skill set or advanced knowledge in a given subject, put that know-how to use by landing a tutoring job. Not only will this allow you to earn some money, but it will reinforce your grasp of the subject matter. Being able to explain complicated mathematical principles is much harder than completing those principles, and a tutoring job where you share your knowledge with others could show you that you have a real knack for and interest in the education field, providing direction for your career.
Work from Home
There's a variety of online jobs for teens that you could pursue, working from home or telecommuting from the library or a local coffee shop. While remote work and working in the gig economy may strike your parents as unconventional, today's digital economy relies on remote workers, and gaining experience working in that capacity will teach you self-discipline, and can leave you with time to volunteer in your community when you aren't working at your desk.
Be Your Own Boss
You don't have to start a fortune 500 company from your garage this summer, but if you love animals, consider building your own dog-walking business. If you love working with kids, build a babysitting network or land a job as s nanny. If you're motivated, this can be a great way to learn about developing a business plan, invoicing clients, and the tax implications of hard work and owning your business.
Have Fun, No Matter What Your Summer Job
Remember, you'll have your whole life to work hard, so when you do land a summer job as a teenager, make sure it's something fun that you're interested in, and that it's something that gives you the opportunity to learn valuable skills or -- at the very least -- learn something valuable about yourself.