With summer just around the corner many secondary students are starting to think about summer employment options.

I had a recent conversation with my 14 year old daughter about this very topic and thought it might also be of interest to other parents and even employers who are considering hiring some help for the summer.

My daughter has had a paper route since the summer of 2010 when she was 13. She recently told me that she was ready for another job and when I asked her what she would like to do she told me she had many options and could do whatever she wanted to do! I of course reinforced that she was indeed a smart, talented, and capable young lady with a world full of opportunities…and then I handed her the Employment Standards Fact Sheet for Adolescents and Young Persons.

As parents it is very important to know what the rules are about our kids working. We need to be able to help them understand the law and talk to them about why the rules exist. Making good decisions early on in their careers will serve them well in the future as they continue to explore their interests and negotiate employment opportunities.

Some things to consider:

  • Explore many options – a great way to find about a particular type of job or specific employer is to talk to people about the work they do before making a decision. Having some insider information before applying for work will make the application stronger and open doors to opportunities of interest.
  • It is never too soon to start developing a resume – a first time job seeker resume might include details about academic achievements and interests, school projects and club involvement, extra-curricular involvement and achievements, community involvement and neighborhood assistance, and career interests. Helping your kids to develop a resume is a great way to have career conversations with them and to brainstorm occupations and employment opportunities.
  • It is all experience – taking a part time or summer job in an area that is related to an interest is a great way to get some hands on experience and learn about other interests along the way. We all start somewhere and while not many people I know are still working at the same job they had in high school they certainly learned a lot about themselves and their career interests from their first jobs.
  • Rights and responsibilities – young workers can learn a lot about rights and responsibilities from their first job. It is important to talk to your kids about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace before their start their first job so they know what to expect and are prepared. Check out this excellent resource,
  • References are important – we all know that most jobs are filled through what is called the hidden job market. A first employer may be an excellent resource and reference for future employment opportunities – having a positive attitude about work and displaying appropriate and professional behavior will certainly be noticed and just might help to open up doors to new opportunities.

There are a variety of ways for first time job seekers connect with employment opportunities:

Chambers of Commerce

Hire a Student programs

Town and City websites / job boards

Visiting employers directly

Talking to friends, family, and neighbors about employment opportunities they are aware of

Getting entrepreneurial

For more information please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.