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March 2010

Summer Jobs No Longer Just for Teens


Pizza deliveryman

Teens hoping to earn some extra cash this summer may have to get a little creative when searching for summer employment. Research shows that a shortage of jobs has led older workers vying for the same part-time, temporary, or summer jobs once predominantly held by youth workers.

According to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, last year, a mere 32.7 percent of U.S. teens age 16-19 held summer jobs – the lowest level since the government started tracking the data in 1948. With jobs still scarce, the director of the Center, Andrew Sum, estimates the teen employment rate probably will hit a new low of approximately 30 percent this summer.



Teens Vs. Adult Job Strengths

It's teens vs. adults in the battle for a paycheck. A look at how the competition stacks up against each other, and tips that can help each group:

Teens Vs. Adult Job Strengths



Teens Vs. Adult Job Strengths


  • Enthusiasm and a fresh perspective.
  • When retail/food service, often brings family members into the business.
  • A youthful "cuteness" factor can be a plus, says workplace expert Karen Hinds.
  • Often require less training.
  • Have "soft skills" experience such as time management and being a team player.

Teens Vs. Aduls Job Strengths


  • Lack the experience of older workers.
  • Younger teens won't make the cut for businesses that set a minimum hiring age of 18.
  • "Younger managers tend to be more biased against older workers," says AARP job expert Deborah Russell.
  • Longer work experience may make them overqualified for positions.

Teens Vs. Adults Job Strengths

Job-seeking hints

  • Go beyond Web social networking and do face-to-face networking with friends, family, teachers and others.
  • Remove unusual body piercings. (They can stay if the job is at a body-piercing shop, says Hinds.)
  • No job experience? Play up extracurricular activities, special talents and school awards during an interview.
  • Use social-networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, even Twitter, to broaden job outreach.
  • One-up student competition by offering to stay on beyond the summer, if needed.
  • Counter over-qualification concerns by stressing the extra value that comes with experience.