How Teens Can Be Successful in a Part-Time Job

With summer rapidly approaching, many teens are considering part-time employment. A first job for a teen can be a really exciting and positive entry into the adult world! A job can help teenagers develop responsibility, gain confidence, learn new skills, obtain increased autonomy, achieve new accomplishments, and build their resume. Having part-time employment demonstrates that a student has a good work ethic and is learning how to work with others, take initiative, manage their time, and adapt to new processes. In addition, the money your teen earns provides them the opportunity to practice managing their own finances before they move out on their own.

With so many positives, parents should feel good in supporting their teen’s job aspirations. Here are some strategies to increase your teen’s chances that their first job will be a success:

First Impressions

Talk to your teen about the importance of first impressions, and explain that your teen’s employer will likely care a lot about how they are presenting themselves at work. If the new job provides a uniform, dressing for success means ensuring the uniform is clean and wrinkle-free. If there isn’t a uniform, find out if there is a dress code. Even if there isn’t a specific dress code, you can help your teen understand the basics of making a good first impression. Encourage your teen to practice good grooming and wear appropriate clothes and footwear.

Establish a Good Work Ethic

Two of the most important factors in keeping a job are being on time and making sure you always complete your tasks before you leave for the day. Employers are likely to fire employees that are consistently late or do not finish assignments.

Control the Smartphone

Talk to your teen about smartphone etiquette ahead of time. Encourage your teen to mute their phone during work and make sure they know it isn’t appropriate to send text messages, get on social media, or be distracted by the phone while on the job.

Respect Coworkers

Your teen will likely have to deal with both supervisors and coworkers on the new job, and unfortunately, some of these people might be annoying or difficult to work with. Give your teen a few tips to show respect to their new colleagues:

  • Be polite. Do your best to ignore coworkers who are negative or make harsh comments. If things get too far out of line, report the problem to a supervisor.
  • Don’t talk about your coworkers behind their back, repeat gossip, or spread rumors.
  • Don’t interrupt others.
  • Be willing to help coworkers solve problems.
  • Don’t criticize a colleague’s work or put down an idea, opinion, or suggestion they have, especially in a public forum like a meeting.
  • Be honest and reliable. Make yourself someone the rest of the team can depend on!

Handle Customers Professionally

Most businesses have the motto that the customer is always right. Explain to your teen that the motto does not mean that the customer’s view is always correct or realistic, but that the customer should be still treated respectfully no matter how unreasonable their viewpoint seems. Your teen needs to understand that happy customers are extremely important to their employer, and if they can work hard to stay polite, calm, and helpful with every customer, their efforts will likely be rewarded with raises or promotions.

Maintain a Good Attitude

Explain to your teenager that having a positive attitude makes them a pleasant person to be around. If there’s a problem at work, they should bring it to their supervisor’s attention, rather than just acting passive-aggressive. Supervisors notice this type of behavior and usually reward it with more opportunities and raises. They also notice bad attitudes which can result in losing the job.

Establish a Budget

Teaching your teen about money now can instill important life skills that will serve them well in the future. Discuss finances, teach basic budgeting skills, explain that a percentage of their income is taxed, and help them set financial goals. You can learn more about how to do this by reading our previous blog, Common Money Mistakes Teens Make.

Final Thoughts…

Part-time employment offers teens a lot of valuable and marketable experience for their resume and provides a constructive use of your teen’s time. However, if your teen can’t find a job, isn’t old enough, or doesn’t have enough flexibility in their schedule to work, they can still use these same skills in volunteer roles or in trying to operate their own business, such as babysitting or mowing lawns.

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