Before I landed my first "real" job, I held a variety of summer jobs and had many years of babysitting as a teen. I don't remember thinking too much about the basic skills I was gaining or how those experiences might help me in future employment. (except for money management; I still remember how carefully I tracked every penny earned from every babysitting job)
I have been thinking about how easy my path was as I have watched DCFYI teens try to find work.
Unemployment may be way down but entry level jobs are still hard to find.
Young people who have grown up with inconsistent parenting often are lacking the basic life skills that are so important for employment (show up on time every day, put in the required time and effort, problem solve when you get stuck).
Moving between foster care placements makes it hard for teens to work consistently; a job that was close to one foster home probably won't be close to the next. Not to mention not having a ride home if you have to work late shifts.
Most entry level jobs now use on-line applications which means you don't even get to meet a person and promote yourself to counter any lack of previous experience on your resume.
One thing hasn't changed: that it helps to have friends. Three of the four young adults we have watched get first jobs found them with help from people they know - a friend who knew someone who was hiring or who was willing to make an inquiry on the young person's behalf.
You can be the best potential employee ever but you won't have opportunity to prove that until you can get a foot in the door.
How did you find your first job? What skills helped you be successful? And if you know of any summer or full-time jobs, please send details. We know some wonderful teens who are looking.