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Check Out Line: Summer job search advice for teens

May 25, 2010

jobfair1Check out tough times for job-seeking teens.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said teens looking for a summer job will need to dedicate themselves full-time to the search, meaning getting a full-time job will be a full-time job. While many employers have filled summer positions, some may need more than expected while others delayed hiring until summer business conditions became clearer, Challenger CEO John Challenger said.

“The point is, you never know if or when a job opening is going to materialize, so you want to keep pushing,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this spring, the Challenger firm predicted an improved summer hiring outlook for teens compared with last year, when employment among 16- to 19-year-olds grew by less than 1.2 million jobs from May through July.

“It is unlikely that summer employment gains among teens will reach pre-recession levels, but we should definitely see increased hiring compared to 2008 and 2009, which experienced the weakest summer teen job growth since the 1950s,” Challenger said.

The Challenger firm said federal data showed that summer employment among teens last year grew by 1.16 million, slightly better than the 1.15 million added in 2008  between May and July, the fewest since 1954. In 1999, at the height of the dot.com job boom, summer employment for teens grew by almost 2.02 million.

Making matters worse for teens, they are competing with recent college graduates and job seekers who have two or more years of on-the-job experience and are willing to take almost any job to get a steady paycheck, Challenger said.

While teen job seekers tend to gravitate to retail outlets in malls, movie theaters, restaurants and amusement parks, they should not be scared to look for work at places offering jobs with heavier labor, such as landscaping businesses or departments of streets and sanitation, Challenger said. Those types of jobs entail breaking away from looking for work online and visiting potential employers in person.

“Those who devote a couple hours a day to the job search will be at a severe disadvantage compared to those who devote eight to 10 hours a day finding a job,” Challenger said.

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(Reuters photo)

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