Start looking for summer work now, experts tell students

teens should start looking now for summer jobsSpring has just barely arrived, and already students are urged to start looking now for that coveted summer job.

"First jobs are a stepping stone to the working world," said Shawn Boyer, CEO of, in a press release. "They're a time to learn about responsibility, work ethic and contributing to a team. Teens, especially, must be willing to accept an entry-level job, work a flexible schedule and emphasize a positive attitude and willingness to learn."

And making some extra money, for college or a night out, helps too.

SnagAJob, which helps people find hourly jobs, found in its annual survey of hiring managers that summer hiring for teens and college students will be at about the same level it was last year. That's good mainly because hiring won't be worse than it was last year.

The survey found that 29% of hiring managers intend to hire the same number of workers, and that 18% -- down from 23% last year -- plan to hire fewer workers this summer. Nearly half, 47%, don't expect to make any seasonal hires, while 6% intend to hire more. It's not great news, no matter how you look at it, but at least things aren't getting worse.

Students should apply as soon as possible for multiple summer jobs if they want to land one, Boyer recommends. High national unemployment, currently at 9.7%, is creating more competition with experienced adults. If you had a job last summer, it's best to apply for it again this year, with hiring managers telling SnagAJob that they will fill their positions with 65% returning workers and 35% new employees.

With the average pay at $10.20 an hour, here are some recommended dos and don'ts from hiring managers for teen job seekers:
  • Have a positive attitude. Don't make all questions about money and time off.
  • Don't take your cellphone into the interview or text during the interview.
  • Speak well. Don't say, "Umm, can I get an application?"
  • Take the ring out of your ear, and cover up the tattoos.
  • Try to be as outgoing and professional as possible. Maturity is more appealing than a fancy resume.
  • Before looking for a job, make a conscientious decision that you will do any job, then tell your prospective employers that if you are paid $7 an hour you will work like it is $14 an hour, and live up to that pledge.
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