Financial Corner: Summer Jobs for Teens

Ah, the classic summer job. Whether that be lawn mowing, working at a fast food restaurant, or being a lifeguard, many teens are looking for summer jobs. But what are summer jobs, and what are the pros and cons for teens?

Summer jobs are temporary jobs with limited hours often done by teens, whether that be students out of high school or college kids back home for the summer. These jobs are generally not full-time and do not require much experience. Some classic examples are tutors, camp counselors, lifeguards (though that position does require training), cashiers and many others. Summer jobs don’t have to be official, though, as lawn mowing, babysitting, and dog walking count, too. 

So, what are the benefits of a summer job for a teen? First, the obvious: money. While those entry-level summer jobs that teens are able to get generally don’t pay too terribly much, generally minimum wage or a few dollars above, it can still be a lot for a teen depending on the number of hours worked. That could mean covering gas money for the next few months, a few extra trips to the mall, or a great start towards a savings goal. The next major benefit is job experience and a résumé boost. Many future employers want to see previous work experience, and having a summer job listed in your résumé can make you stand out for a later job interview. The last major benefit is an increase in skills such as responsibility, rule-following, and communication, all of which are important in the workplace.

Education To Careers Coordinator Lisa Edelson shared her thoughts when asked how working benefits high schoolers.

“Working and interacting with adults, professionals in the industry, the student can develop good work habits and learn or build upon marketable skills and life lessons such as learning how to conduct oneself with people, networking, team building, communication and time management, often reinforcing what they are learning in school,” Edelson said.

That is good to know, a summer job can supplement things learned in school. And finally, some people may even find summer jobs fun. Mrs. Lisa Edeleson detailed her summer job experience.

“During middle school, a friend and I started a little neighborhood 2-hour day camp at her house for some of the kindergarten-age kids,” Edelson said. “It was so fun and we made a little money!”

It is useful to get information from someone who has had a summer job in the past. An entrepreneurial spirit can help make a fun time, and the money doesn’t hurt either. 

If summer jobs seem so great, then why shouldn’t every teen have one? Well, summer jobs can be a lot of work for some people. If a teen is in summer school or plays a year-round sport, they might not have time in their schedule to work.

Sophomore Evan Parker shared why he will not have a summer job.

“I have track and field,” Parker said. “I have to go run a lot and I would rather do that over a summer job.”

When a person has something they love and is successful at, a summer job can be even more work on their plate. Lack of opportunities is another big reason. Some teens live in areas where there aren’t many jobs available, or would require the use of transportation they don’t have access to. The last major reason is a simple one: work generally is not fun, and teens want to have fun in the summer! Some teens feel that getting a job is something that will come later in life, and they should spend the last few years of their youth having fun. 

Well, now that the pros and cons are out of the way, how can you find a summer job? Well, Niles North provides some great resources for that, such as the Job Postings document run by the Education To Careers Coordinator, Mrs. Lisa Edelson. Niles North is right by Old Orchard Mall, which has many opportunities for jobs, whether that be during the summer or year-long. There are also multiple country clubs around the area, which offer jobs as caddies. Local park districts also have many jobs available, such as camp counselors or sports instructors. 

Overall, there are many opportunities for summer jobs around the Niles North area, and teens need to make that personal decision whether to have a summer job or to take advantage of free time in the summer to have fun.