Updated: Jul 30
Is your young adult or teenager looking to grow in their independence and seek work? Maybe they want to earn some extra cash or want to get a job to help bolster their CV? Finding work as a teen or young adult can be a daunting experience, so here are some ways that you can support them and grow their confidence.
Exploring Career Options in School or College
Discussions in schools around careers and future planning occur early on in secondary education. Children and teenagers are encouraged to think about which subjects will help them in the future, think about future careers and think about the qualifications needed to reach these targets. While the schools will focus on this information, ultimately it is you as a parent or guardian that will provide the support and encouragement to drive your teen to achieve these goals. Here are our top 12 tips for supporting your young adult or teen as they enter the workplace.
1. Focus on Strengths and Skills
Take some time to sit with your young adult and discuss their skills and strengths. This will highlight their positive attributes and how they can be adapted to specific careers. Don’t simply focus on the subjects they enjoy at school but also look at their personal qualities such as working well in a team, good communication and hobbies they enjoy.
Once you have a list of skills and strengths, ask them to provide examples of when and how they have used these skills. This will be useful information to put on their cv and will help them with answers in interviews as well.
By discussing your young adult’s skillset, they will feel empowered to showcase these qualities when it comes to an interview. Helping them to understand what sort of skillset an employer is looking for BEFORE applying for roles will help them in the long run.
2. Help Your Teen to Create a CV
While your teen may not have had any paid work experience up until now, that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a stunning CV. When creating a CV, try to focus on both their academic achievements and their current skillset. Where possible, incorporate their extracurricular activities as well, particularly if they focus on skills such as working in a team or leadership. Try to add a broad range of examples to show a balanced example and provide the recruiter with an entire picture of your child.
As well as the content, be sure to focus on the layout of their CV so that it flows nicely and accentuates any key information. Both the CV and covering letter should portray your teen's personality and individual qualities, don’t be tempted to write cliches or what you think the employer wants to hear. Make sure your teen can refer to the information in their CV so that they come across with more confidence in interviews.
You can see some examples of CVs here:
Want to make your teens CV shine? Why not sign up for our workshop sessions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time.
3. Discuss Different Job Search Strategies
Looking for a job is no longer as simple as scrolling through the classifieds in the back of the local paper. There are many ways to look for work, although not all are sure-fire successes. In order to successfully find a role in today’s market, we recommend using at least 3 different strategies to gain new job leads.
The first is utilising the internet. There are lots of different platforms that promote and advertise roles, many of which also allow you to apply online too.
As well as job-hunting yourself, you can also sign up to a recruitment agency. They often hear about vacancies before they are advertised and are better suited to searching for roles where age might be a restricting factor.
Finally, for many entry-level jobs, you can’t go wrong with good old direct hunting. Many jobs up and down the high street are advertised in shop windows rather than online so be sure to encourage your teen to broaden their scope by searching personally as well as online.
If your young adult would like some more support in their job-hunting strategies or want to share knowledge, then a job club (where a group of people come together to discuss job hunting) can not only build friendships but might also highlight a suitable role.
For more information on job hunting strategies, check out this blog post.
4. Help Them Create a Go-To Application Form
A go-to application form is a great resource to have to hand when you are applying for jobs online. Saving both time and effort, this document can be used to simply cut and paste any information into an online form. That way, each application can hold the same information and quality of answers without your teen becoming bored or open themselves up to errors.
To create a go-to application document, you will need all the key information generally found in an application form (you can find one easily online using a job seeking platform). List each section and then ask them to fill out each section as they would in an application. Then save the document in an easy to find a location so that any time they apply for a job they can simply open the document and cut and paste all the answers.
5. Be Sure to Help Your Teen but Don’t Enable Them!
We know how eager you are for your young adult to make their way in the world and land that first job, no matter how big or small. But while it’s tempting to do the leg work for them, this level of input from you isn’t sustainable or helpful. Teaching your child how to search for jobs, how to fill out applications and how to write a great CV will provide them with skills for the future.
Doing all of this FOR your child is just enabling them to rely on you rather than developing the skills for themselves. Try to encourage them to do it for themselves but feel free to proofread their applications or keep tabs on their progress.
6. Help Them Research Local Companies
While your teen will have learned how to research at school, this will mainly be focused on academic information and as such, it’s a good idea for you to run through how to research a company.
Direct them towards the company information page on their website, encourage them to look for what makes the company stand out and how successful the business is. If possible, keep records of this information in a spreadsheet so that they can familiarise themselves with it and refer to it should they be asked for an interview.
7. Find Suitable Mentors or Adults to Network With
While we have no doubt that you are an excellent role model for your teen, they may also want another adult in their life who has already achieved the goals that they are striving for. For example, if your teen wants to become an airline pilot and your career is in the arts then the hard work you put into your role will be unrelated to their ambitions. Try to find a suitable adult or mentor that your child can observe and learn from to give them the inside scoop on their careers.
8. Explain Online Job Hunting
Online job hunting is a great way to find roles, however, it can be a bit of a shock transitioning from online to real life. Try to discuss this transition with your teen when they are applying for jobs. Help them understand that online job searching requires focus and attention so a calm and productive environment might be a good idea. Remember that a good internet connection is vital and not to share any information such as usernames or passwords with anyone.
9. Help Them Understand the Impact of Social Media
In a world where everyone has one (OK maybe 5 or 6) social media accounts, it can seem that there is no such thing as privacy anymore. But while it’s great for your young adult to show off their achievements online, it might be worth discussing with them what they are presenting to the world (and more specifically to future employers) through their accounts. Employers regularly check social media accounts before employing these days so make sure your young adult accounts are employer-friendly. Alternatively, they can increase the privacy settings on their accounts to hide information from all but friends to ensure nothing inappropriate can be found.
As well as presenting an “employable front” on social media, your young adult can also use these platforms to look for jobs. Companies will often post directly on their own business accounts for available roles. However, there are some drawbacks to using social media for job search too.
The pros for using social media to look for work are:
· You can reach a wide network of employers
· You can easily access employers and recruiters’ information by following their news feeds
· You can promote yourself by letting the recruiter see a professional online portfolio of your skills, abilities and experience.
· It's a very quick & easy way for you to get in contact with employees at companies you're interested in.
The cons of using social media to look for work are:
· You need to be careful what you put out there
· Responses can be far and few between which is frustrating
· It can become an all-consuming distraction that will need regulating so that it doesn’t interfere with daily life.
· Not everyone is what they seem on social media so be wary of people who are too eager or roles that are too good to be true.
If your young adult wants to present a professional front, then Linkedin is a great platform to do this. They will be able to highlight their academic and personal achievements without presenting their personal life. It will also help them to connect to others in a professional manner compared to other social media platforms.
10. Encourage Your Child to Reach Out Directly
As we have previously mentioned, it can be very tempting to do the legwork for your young adult, even if it is just to apply on their behalf. Don’t be tempted to do this, they need to be in control of this journey and walk through it themselves.
Encourage your young adult to apply for roles, speak to companies and contact recruiters personally so that they can gauge what type of person they are and how well they will fit into a team. They may be shy at first, so encourage them to refer to their skill set and their achievements to help bolster their self-confidence.
11. Help Them Develop a Job Search Schedule.
A job search schedule is a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks you need to complete for finding a job. It’s important to make sure they know what to expect out of a job search and what they should be doing to get a job. Do your best to give them pathways to these objectives by setting realistic expectations with achievable plans. Keep in mind that it’s important to encourage your teen to search for jobs they love and apply to as many positions as possible.
The schedule needs to be something they can live with, or else they will see it as a chore and be less likely to participate. It's important to keep it engaging and fun so they continue to strive for that first role.
12. Prepare Them for Job Interviews
When searching for a job, the most nerve-wracking part is the interview process, so try to alleviate those nerves by getting the better of your young person by preparing them properly. This is the chance for them to showcase their skillset and personality to a potential employer so help them to feel confident and comfortable by practising typical interview questions and rehearsing the process.
How else you can help:
· Explain about interview basics - being on time, dressing appropriately, planning their route, being polite, using open body language and listening to what the interview is asking them and respond accordingly.
· Google or YouTube interview questions online in advance, and practice answering both the easy and hard questions!
· Help them to clearly define their skills, experience, and expertise.
· Offer soft criticism but always reinforce what they have done well
Your child is ready to take the tentative first steps towards ultimate independence by finding their first working role. By following these 12 steps, you should be able to help prepare your teen and guide them in the right direction towards success.
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