Featured Editorial

How To Prepare Your Teen for Their First Job

There are times when I wish my maternal instincts weren’t quite as accurate as they have proven to be time and time again. Spot on, arrow on the target, touchdown, home run, “X” marks the spot accurate. Here was my son’s first test of his true desire to apply for his first summer job. Early in the beginning of Spring, I happened to see that our local State Park posted their training schedule for Life Guard certificate. Following information sessions, swim testing events, and the detailed qualifying process, selected applicants ages 16 and above would become State Certified Life Guards, spending the Summer observing and enforcing water safety procedures while earning a nice little paycheck. Seeing my son as a Life Guard would be a rewarding experience for both of us. How would we know if he was actually ready to become an employee? Here’s how to help prepare your teen for their first job.

How To Prepare Your Teen for Their First Job

Knowing all of the steps required to obtain certification as a Life Guard came easily to my son, especially being that I handed him an information packet containing the necessary application plus all of the necessary information. The next step is where he stumbled. I’d honestly imagined him striding successfully through the process, spending his first Summer as an employee. Moving forward, taking the appropriate course of action was the stumbling block. Envisioning himself as a Life Guard was great if he continued on with the follow-through until completion. There was my validation that my instincts were correct. Perhaps next year would be a better time for his first job. These life skills will help prepare teens for the milestone of successfully transitioning into the working world.

Time Management

How often does your teen wake up on time, prepared for the day ahead? Independently managing time is essential to job readiness. Taking responsibility for personal schedule planning demonstrates a high level of respect and consideration for their supervisors, coworkers, and family members. Developing an effective system for consistent time management skills requires maturity, organization, and focus, each achievable with ongoing practice.

Communication Skills

Wait, what? Absolutely important are the ways in which your teenager expresses their views with other people. How often is your teen asked to repeat their words delivered in a soft-spoken voice? Does your teen’s voice resonate above everyone else in the group? Finding the balance between being the center of attention and fading into the background helps determine the best fit in the workforce. Communication is a life skill which also requires keen listening abilities. Being able to receive directions and critiques, as well as professionally ask questions or clearly speak on their own behalf will work to build a mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship.

Cooperative Values

Go team! Becoming a cooperative member of an employee team is an extremely valuable work ethic for teens, and adults, to embrace. Leadership qualities are an asset in the workplace, as well as being able to demonstrate an ability to collaborate with team members and supervisors, helping when necessary, and acknowledging the value in input from others. Understanding the need to work independently at times will also be required, seeking instruction from administrators and following directions to increase productivity showcase commitment to the team’s vision.

Starting a first job will help teens to establish firsthand experience in the working world. We all have to start at the beginning on our path to success, twists and turns will happen along the way. Learning from mistakes is an integral part of the growth and development process. As your teen matures their social skills, decision-making abilities, and a fundamental sense of professionalism will improve with time. While helping to prepare your teen for their first job, review your local child labor laws regarding the need for a physical examination, specific credentials or working papers, and schedule restrictions for minors to best prepare your child for job readiness.