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Recession makes it harder for some teens to find jobs

Photo: Illustration by Jessica Wuensch

Many teens find that no matter how many job applications they fill out, they're still coming up empty-handed.

By Stephanie Taylor, Staff Writer

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As more and more teenagers break away from Mom and Dad and go on the hunt for a job, they’re realizing it’s much harder during the recession.

When the economy is healthy, it’s easier for teens to find part-time jobs to make a little extra money instead of having to beg their parents for it. But during a recession, more adults are losing their jobs and, in turn, taking the part-time jobs that might have gone to teens.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate in Ohio is 10 percent. While it could be worse, it’s still not good for people seeking employment, especially young adults. In September 2010 alone, employers laid off more than 1,400 people. All of this negativity leaves many teens wondering how they will ever find a job.

When starting the job-hunting process, teens should keep several things in mind to help them dominate the competition. Since the United States is a recession, many people of all ages and experience will be competing for the same job.

It’s not just what you know…

One huge factor in finding a job is networking. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Senior Chelsea Snider knows this first hand because of how she got her job at Bob Evans. “I didn’t even really have an interview. Since my mom worked there, they just hired me,” she said.

This was also the case for former Fairmont student Alisha Mullins, who searched for three months before finding a job. “I got a lot of interviews but nobody called me back,” she said. “I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong especially since I was qualified and had been out of high school for a couple years.” She finally got a break when her mom put in a good word for her at Dayton Eye Associates and she landed a front-desk job.

Networking has also become much easier for teenagers in this decade because of all the Internet sites, such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. Teens can now simply log online and ask their friends if they know anyone who is hiring. Using the Internet can reach many more people than just word of mouth. Other Internet sites such as Monster.com and Snagajob.com can also help people find jobs. Monster is a site where people seeking employment can search for jobs and post their resumes online. Potential employers can look at resumes and find workers.

Snagajob.com is another site that helps people find employment. After putting in some information about yourself, Snagajob.com sends emails telling you what places are hiring in your area. The service is free.

Finding the competitive advantage

Besides just using the Internet, teens need to be able to demonstrate important qualities such as work ethic and responsibility when trying to land a job.

Danielle Brown is a manager at a retirement home and often hires teens for part-time jobs. “When it comes to hiring a teenager, I usually look for maturity and flexibility,” she said. “If someone comes in and puts on their application that they can only work two or three days a week, I’m less likely to hire them since they aren’t very flexible with their schedule.”

Brown also says she has had more adults applying lately due to the recession, but that doesn’t mean teenagers are out of luck. “Many adults are seeking full-time jobs, so there are still plenty of part-time jobs for teenagers to get,” she said.

There definitely are jobs out there for teenagers, but the market is competitive. If teens are still having trouble finding a job, they may want to try volunteer work or extracurricular activities at school to add to their resume. “This shows they are dedicated and have experience working with people,” Brown said.

The fancy things on a resume don’t guarantee a job, however. It’s also about what the person wears to the interview. Studies show people who dress appropriately or professionally are more likely to get hired than those who show they aren’t taking the interview seriously by dressing slovenly.

Turn to odd jobs in the meantime

If the job-hunting process isn’t going so smoothly, getting hired by an employer isn’t the only way for teenagers to make money. Teens can find odd jobs such as raking leaves, shoveling snow and babysitting. The good thing about these types of jobs is that they are still a good way to make money and can be used to bolster your resume.

 Job hunting is never easy, especially in a recession. And with older people seeking employment too, teenagers might feel like giving up all together. However, teens just need to remember to sharpen their resume, network, and have patience and a job just might come their way.

1 Comment

One Response to “Recession makes it harder for some teens to find jobs”

  1. Bruce Schlegel on January 4th, 2011 10:42 am

    It is not as easy for teens to find a job. I was searching for a job since my 16th birthday in 2009. I put out over 34 applications and nothing. Finally 2 months after my 17th birthday, I applied for Kroger and got the job in November of 2010. It is so hard to find one.

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Recession makes it harder for some teens to find jobs