Teens face another tough summer job market

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Teenagers who want to work this summer need to be job-hunting now — and not just online.

“It is critical that teenagers not wait until the school year ends to start their job search,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “(And) By getting out from behind the computer, young job seekers are likely to uncover opportunities that don’t exist in the digital realm. Many mom-and-pop stores do not advertise job openings on the Internet. Nor do most families looking for babysitters, lawnmowers or housecleaners.”

Finding a job will be a challenge again this summer. The Chicago-based outplacement firm expects teen employment to be about the same as last year, when employment among 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 1.35 million between May and July. But that was down 3 percent from summer 2012.

Some of the decline in teen summer employment is also tied to more than half of high school students now attend summer school. And more student spend time volunteering.

“Right now, there are more than one million unemployed 16- to 19-year-olds who are looking for work. By June, that number is likely to exceed 1.8 million. There are probably an additional 1.1 to 1.2 million who have stopped actively looking for work, but still want a job,” Challenger said.

Some advice:

  • “Use your parents, teachers, friends and friends’ parents as sources for job leads.”
  • “Try to meet with hiring managers face-to-face, as opposed to simply dropping off a completed application form.”
  • “Most importantly, do not get frustrated by failure.”
  • There are many summer job opportunities outside the confines of the local mall.”
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