3 Types of Summer Jobs for Teens. Which is best for yours?


Starting as early as junior high, I began to worry about how to structure my kids’ summers. The last thing any of us parents need is teenagers sitting around on their iphones or computers all day. And trying to convince most teens to structure their time off wisely is a lost cause. I especially struggled with keeping a 14 year old boy busy while he was out of school.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of options out there….if you have an unlimited budget. You can register for camps, academic enrichment experiences, sport clinics, and the like. Or you could let your kids free-range it, and take a break from their amped up school-year schedules.

But I found a better way to help my kids grow and mature over the summer (and even during the school year) and that was through a part time job. When my kids were 8,10,12 we started a summer day camp at our house – the money we earned paid for the kids extra curricular activities during the school year.

When my oldest turned 15 she got an internship (unpaid) working at a dress shop, that year long internship on Saturdays turned into a paid position when she turned 16. She learned about customer service, money, fashion and the work it takes to run a store. She also started buying her own clothes! Because she had learned time management skills, she was able to take an additional job over Christmas break with Operation Christmas Child, where she worked 40 plus hours a week for 4 weeks, earning over $1,000.

My son just turned 15 and started working at Chick-fil-a. He is shocked at how people don’t pick up after themselves and push in their chairs. That's enough of an education for me to call that a successful job!

My youngest has had a lemonade stand in town for 2 or 3 summers. Her dad built her a stand from old pallets and she has made up to $50 a day selling lemonade (more than my daughter is making in the dress shop)

And the best part? They are gaining life skills, building character and earning money to pay for their own things (movies, phones, shoes, clothes, camps)

As my kids approach college age I had an even bigger question….

What do colleges value? What are the things that companies are looking for in hiring new college grads? Jim Spohrer of IBM lists the following things as "desirables" for new hires; how to work in small teams, how to solve problems, initiative, persistence (grit) to keep going in the face of adversity, and the ability to spring back from failure quickly and learn from what went wrong.

Other skills often listed by employers include; communication, writing, organizational skills, customer service, planning,being detail oriented, Excel and Word.

I want to look at 3 Categories of jobs that are particualarly relevant to high school students. Each has their pros and cons. And, I think you will be suprised at what college admissions officers have to say about some of them.

3 Types of job for High School students

Service jobs

Entrepreneurial pursuits

Strategic internships

Service jobs

There is an nteresting article from Quartz that I posted last week on my FB page (which you should follow if you don’t already) called “Why a less glamorous job may be the best option for your teen.”

When deciding between a summer spent doing volunteer work or a job in the service industry, college counselor Susan Warner says this, “Colleges will forever find holding a job more attractive than going to Costa Rica to build houses and surf in the afternoons.”