If you are one of the many high school students who looked this summer for seasonal or temporary work and didn’t find any, you are not alone. It has been recently reported by the U.S. Labor Department that the teen unemployment rate has increased (as high as 49% in some states) even though general unemployment rates have been decreasing overall. It cannot be said what the exact reason for this is, however you don’t have to look to far to find that there are other opportunities available for youth these days that will still allow you to gain experience!
If you are not able to find a job, try looking at volunteering in your local community. For one, this looks great on a resume because it shows employers that you are willing to work hard and commit to something without getting paid for it. It also suggests what your character as an individual is in just five seconds. Another great reason to volunteer is to gain experience in an area of work that you would not have otherwise been able to do because you may need a degree or a specific license. After volunteering so many hours may also increase your chances of winning college grants and scholarships.
Volunteering allows you to network, which is a huge thing in the business world. It is the people you know that can help get you places besides yourself. Many businesses also thrive on the idea and implementation of networking because many of their clients are people they know! These are some of the great benefits of volunteering, but so is the good feeling you get when you can be apart of something bigger than yourself and in the long-run help someone out. Look at your local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, animal shelters, and non-profits to find volunteering opportunities.
Volunteering is usually a long-term committment, however what do you do if you don’t have that much time to spare? Some businesses are willing to let you intern or job-shadow for a day or two. This is a great way to also gain experience and it will still look great on your resume or college applications. It will also help you figure out what it is really like to be in your dream job and if you will actually enjoy it. This shows future employers and colleges that you are ambitious and passionate about your career and have earnestly thought about it. One way to connect with these type of experiences is to go talk to someone at the business of your choosing and see if they are willing to allow you to job-shadow or intern. You can also go to the counselor at your school for ideas and opportunities.
There may not be many jobs on the market these days for high school students, but there are plenty of opportunities available for you to still gain experience and gain more than just money while doing it.
Many teens today are looking for jobs. Some of you want some spending money, or are saving for a car, some may even be helping out with the bills at home. Whatever your reason for looking to get employed, having experience is necessary. I know you are all saying “How can I have experience, this is my first time finding a job?” Believe me I know what you are thinking, but there are a lot of things that you can do now to gain experience.
Teen Advisor.com tells us that work experience can be a paid or volunteer position. Which includes things like community service or volunteer opportunities. Lucky for you community service and volunteer opportunities are everywhere. Volunteer Match.org is a great place to find opportunities to help large organizations. If smaller groups and settings are a better match for you check with your local schools and churches.
The key to looking good to future employers is being involved, accountable, and driven. Good luck to you all in your future “work experience” opportunities.