Sunday, June 4, 2006

For teenagers, summer jobs abound - if they know where to look

By Liz Garone
Special to Sunday Jobs

While many of us envision the majority of teenagers whiling away their summers at the beach or poolside, we would be wrong, at least according to a recent national study. Some eight out of 10 teenagers plan on working this summer, according to Colorado Springs-based JA Worldwide.

Whether it's saving for college or making a little extra pocket change, summer is a great time for teenagers to gain real-world experience, according to Yesenia Kennedy, a youth specialist with the state's Employment Development Department's Youth Employment Opportunity Program.

While Kennedy doesn't place young people in positions, she does everything she can to point them in the right direction. All of her clients are considered "at risk" and sometimes need an extra push. "I lead them to where they should apply," she says. "I do job searches with them. I assist them with their paper applications. I can fax resumes for them, call employers and put in a good word, even e-mail resumes for them."

In addition, Kennedy educates her clients on what types of questions they can expect from potential employers, how to talk to them, and how to craft a resume even if they don't have job experience. "Community service and volunteer experience, that all helps," she says. Kennedy encourages teens who might be at risk to contact her at (209) 576-6035. "When I was growing up, I didn't have any of these resources," she says. "It would have been really helpful if I did."

One area in which teens shouldn't have any trouble finding work is fast food, according to Kennedy. "They're always hiring." Of the 1,472 teens surveyed by JA Worldwide, more than half plan on finding employment in retail, restaurants and fast food. Another 12 percent plan to babysit, and almost 8 percent will lifeguard.

While the impetus for finding work used to be making a little pocket change, more and more teens are saving for college, according to the study. Nearly 36 percent of the teens surveyed said that "saving for college" was their primary reason for getting a summer job while "extra spending money" came in second at 28 percent.

No matter what the reason is for finding a job, the Vintage Faire Mall is a great place to start a job search, according to Janice Curtin, the mall's senior marketing manager. The mall's second busiest shopping season of the year is back to school, says Curtin, and for some stores that starts as early as mid-summer.

At the mall's American Eagle clothing store, the back-to-school denim season starts in July, according to an employee who asked not to be named, adding that the store would be increasing its number of sales associates by 50 percent for the event. "We just love people who work just for the summer and then come back year after year," she says. Interested applicants can apply online at or visit the store and ask to speak with a hiring manager.

For young people with an interest in photography and lots of energy, the mall's Picture People is also hiring, according to Tylor Taylor, the store manager. "Summer is a busy time for us," he says. "It can be anything from guests from out of town or family reunions." While the positions are permanent, many young people start in the summer and then adjust their hours once school starts up again in the fall. "We definitely want high-energy people who can deal with high volume," Taylor says. The job entails taking photographs, selling, cleaning, lots of customer service and telemarketing. Applicants need to be at least 18 years old. Starting pay varies depending on experience. Without any photography experience, new employees start at $8 an hour. The best way to apply is to come into the store and ask to speak to Taylor.

Most of the larger retail stores don't hire specifically for summer but accept applications year-round. Summer is as good a time as any to find an open position, says Steve Nash, store manager of the Vintage Faire Mall's Gottschalks store. Positions can open up when students go off to college. The store does accept applicants younger than 18 if they have a work permit. The best way to apply is in person at the human resources department.

Additional resources

  • Employment Development Department CalJOBS

  • Modesto Bee classified ads

  • Student Jobs

  • Central Valley Jobs

  • Monster Jobs

  • Groove Job

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