As everyone struggles with adapt to changes introduced by the Covid pandemic, the difficulties seem to be aimed at those 16-24 the most: the high school and college aged students whose milestones in education were interrupted and are now finding it near impossible to find a summer job. There aren’t as many lifeguard jobs and golf caddy positions available. Restaurants are struggling. Retail is comatose. Those low-skill, low-pay jobs generally filled by kids looking to pad their accounts while school is out are among the types of employment hit hardest, and according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 32% of teens 16 to 19 can’t find work, a number not seen since 1948.
There is a novel way parents can help, suggests VIP hiring executive Casey Hasten. “I know that you have items in your garage that you’ve been holding on to forever that you want to get rid of. Give those items to your kids and let them sell them online.” A smartphone, access to Facebook Marketplace and time may be all it takes. They pocket summer cash and you get a clean garage.
Teen summer jobs generally are in the service sector, working as a lifeguard or waiting and busing tables in a restaurant, but Hasten says there is going to be a lot of competition this year. “As we all know this is going to be a really tough summer for teens as we have so many adults out of work that are going to be competing for those same jobs and who may have a little bit of an advantage because of the maturity they represent.” April unemployment for teens ages 16 to 19, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hit 32%, a high that hasn’t been seen since at least 1948, and is only expected to increase.
Parents can proofread a resume for mistakes, recommends Hasten, adding that a single mistake on a resume, a mistyped word or poorly positioned column, may be all it takes to knock a candidate out of the running for a position that’s hiring. Role playing a job interview could help. Hasten says preparing your teen mentally for what to expect can make a difference. “Make sure your mindset is full of gratitude for the opportunity to interview for the job and that you’re not desperate.”
And there are standbys. Though it might not be a career choice, consider that many parents are heading back to work without school or camp available for their children and could use a babysitter. Lawn work may seem old-fashioned but you can easily spot the neighbors who would most benefit from an offer to assist. Perhaps an at-risk neighbor might benefit from a shopping assistant. This is going to be the summer of creativity for naturally inclined entrepreneurial teens.
Hire Houston Youth has job fairs for applicants between the ages of 16 and 24 from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, June 6th, at Magnolia Multi Service Center and on June 13th at the George R. Brown. You can find details here.