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Joe Szynkowski: Summer jobs are booming for teenagers
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Joe Szynkowski: Summer jobs are booming for teenagers

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If you’re like me, your teenage years are long gone. A morning symphony of popping knees and cracking ankles remind me of this fact every day.

But I still vividly remember my first job. As a teenager flipping patties at Backyard Burgers in Marion, I learned lessons I still apply to my work today. I love starting out lectures to my daughters on work ethic with “Back when I worked at the BYB…” The eyerolls from my wife make these life lessons even more respected in my household, as you can imagine.

Flash forward to today, things are much different for this generation of teenage job seekers. Technology has made many of the typical entry-level jobs a thing of the past. It has also made it possible for high-schoolers to open up their own Etsy shop or start their own creative writing blog that can be monetized. More traditional service-based jobs are also in high demand. 

Given the array of options available, now is a great time to be a teenager looking for work.

Why Now?

As the economy continues to reopen, employers are hustling to hire service workers to meet surging demand. Oftentimes, these workers are teenagers. The share of 16- to 19-year-olds in the workforce has not been this high since 2008, with nearly 256,000 teens in that age group gaining employment in April, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

After taking a hit at the beginning of the pandemic, the rise in teen employment is causing employers to lift their wages. This makes it more attractive to applicants looking to break into the job market.

I’ve talked with many local hiring managers about their current difficulty in finding good help. I’ve also talked with many out-of-work service professionals who tell me their unemployment pay and stimulus money has them more hesitant to re-enter the workforce.

Who’s there to take over new jobs during this unique time in employment?


Tips for Teens to Find Summer Work

Know a teen? Send them this list of three quick tips to help them land a great summer gig. 

1) Be Picky

The great thing about ample employment opportunities is you may have more of a chance to find an ideal role with a great company versus jumping at the first thing that pops up in job boards. Always build a list of pros and cons when considering an open role and make sure you’re making a good choice.

2) Be Professional

Especially in service-related jobs, appearance is everything. Always make sure to dress appropriately for any job interviews that you take. Remember to be as polite and conversational as possible, and realize that you’re in competition with many other people. How you carry yourself can make a big difference.

3) Be Plugged In

Oftentimes, summer job opportunities come about from family members and friends. If you’re a teen interested in finding seasonal employment, start by asking those in your network if they know of any companies currently hiring. You’ll improve your odds of landing a new role if you are referred by someone else.

Above all else, once you land a job, show up ready to work. The lessons you learn on the job as a teenager can lead to decades of infinite wisdom you can pass down to your children for years to come.

Just ask my wife.

Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Check out for his WorkHappy Spotlights or email for more guidance on finding career joy.


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