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Finding summer work

Teens are likely to have a tougher time getting a summer job, with unemployment rates for the age group at nearly three times the national average and competition from new college grads and even adults looking for work. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, tells how to increase your chances.


Your resume is the first thing employers look at so make sure it looks good. Teens won't have the work experience older workers do, but here's the chance to brag about your high GPA, computer skills and other talents that show you're accomplished, responsible and a potentially good worker. If you're able to stay on after Labor Day, mention that in a cover letter for employers looking for a more long-term hire.

Get out and pound the payment. Applying online through sites like SnagaJob.com is a great start, but teens are better off handing in an application in person, or stop by to check in on one sent online, so you can make a good impression on the manager. Dress the part so that you come across as responsible and professional.

If it's less a matter of money than of finding something productive to do, consider lending your time and talents at a local nonprofit, or taking an unpaid internship. These are great resume builders and provide experience that can help you find employment later. They also look great on a college application.

Starting your own business is an option. It's a good summer to be your own boss. SBA.gov, DECA.org and Future Business Leaders of America all offer resources to help you create a business plan and get started. Need seed money? Kickstarter.com lets you appeal to others to make contributions to fund your start-up.

Even if you can't get steady summer employment, consider some of the tried and true occasional jobs like mowing neighbors' lawns, hiring yourself out as a pet or baby-sitter or tutoring in a subject you're good at. Get parents and neighbors to talk up your services.

For more information on finding summer employment and other consumer tips click here.