Beyond the Paper Route: Helping Your Teen Get Their First Job

By Lisa Katz

With all of the over-the-top reality shows out there today, it is more important than ever to teach our children the importance of working hard for what they want in life. In fact, there are many benefits your teen can experience by having a job.

A job, whether paid or volunteer work, can instill many positive traits. Teenagers can begin to feel a new sense

of responsibility while developing time-management skills that will prove invaluable throughout life. While working, your teenager will learn skills that will help him or her become a better communicator, especially with adults.

Receiving a paycheck on a consistent basis will help teens grow a foundation of financial independence and teach them to save and spend wisely. Even more important, they may gain a new level of self-confidence.

The first step in attaining these important benefits is actually getting through the interview process. Generally, teenagers are insecure and quite nervous about an interview. In many cases, this will be their first one.

“Finding and obtaining your first real job is a rite of passage for most teens. It’ s an exciting and scary experience, but one that will serve you well — both for the money you earn and for the lessons you learn,” explains Randall S. Hansen, CEO of Quintessential Careers.

As parents, it is our job to help guide our children to be their best selves.

Occasionally, this can include letting go, at least a little bit. Teenagers typically feel as though they are caught between childhood and adulthood. Getting a job can enable your teen to feel more independent and more grown up.

There is no doubt that your teenager is a busy one, however, making space for a part-time job can definitely be a positive addition to his or her life.

To help your teen make a good first impression:

Teach them to –

  • Make eye contact with the person that is interviewing them

  • Shake hands (usually at the beginning and end of the interview)

  • Be sure to be on time.

  • Leave their cellphone in the car or keep it turned off

  • Dress appropriately and professionally

A few things that your teen should avoid:

Teach them NOT to –

  • Bring a friend to the interview

  • Fidget or slouch

  • Chew gum

  • Mumble when responding to a question

  • Lie or speak negatively about anyone

  • Use slang or curse words