Successful Summer Job Hunting for Homeschooled Teens

Is your homeschooled teen looking for a job this summer? Here are some tips for success in finding a summer job.

Where I live, there are a lot of students looking for summer jobs right now, and homeschooled teens are among the job seekers. Job hunting at the same time as ‘everyone else’ can be discouraging, but there are a few ways that homeschool students may be able to stand out a bit from the crowd, and find employment that’s a good experience all around.

homeschooled teen shaking hands after successfully interviewing for a summer job

Tips for Summer Job Hunting for Homeschooled Teens

What makes homeschooled teens potentially great employees?

  • Their flexible schedule! In general, homeschoolers have a lot more control over their schedule and can accommodate hours that other students can’t. At least during the school year! There’s probably an advantage to homeschool teens starting their job search earlier in the spring or sometime during the school year, but if they are prepared to stay on after the summer season, that may be attractive to prospective employers.
  • Their varied experiences! Home education provides kids with plenty of opportunities to interact in their communities and families in ways that may benefit them and their employer. Teens who already have a career in mind can focus their education in that direction, which means they may have a head start in skills or knowledge needed in a related part-time or seasonal job.

What do homeschooled teens need to know before finding a job?

  • The same things all teens need to know when looking for employment! In some states, they’ll need a work permit. They’ll need to know how to fill out an application, whether online or on paper, and filling out the information about their education may not be straightforward. They should also learn what to expect in a job interview so they can present themselves well.
  • That their workplace isn’t home. (Unless they actually work at home, I guess!) It seems obvious that a workplace may have a dress code, rules and procedures, and many expectations that are different from at home, but in practice many kids are a bit surprised to find out that there aren’t exceptions or accommodations. Start and end times aren’t flexible, and the rules aren’t negotiable. You have to plan ahead and request time off, you have to call in if you’re sick, and you’ll probably have to do tasks you don’t enjoy because they’re part of the job.

How can homeschooled teens succeed in their job search?

  • By building a good resume and network. Even a teen applying for a first job can usually list some applicable skills and experience on a resume. Think about the skills learned helping with a family business or farm, doing volunteer work, or participating in a community program. The people that they work with in those settings are good references. Make sure teens know that they need to ask these folks if they would give a reference! Just like adults looking to make a job change, teens looking for summer employment should put the word out to family and friends that they are looking for a job and ask for leads.
  • By being willing to think outside the box. There are other places to work besides the fast food restaurants! Summer jobs could lead to an apprenticeship or internship, and be a springboard to a career. Apologia’s bookInternship for High School Credit explains how internships work and offers step by step help in planning and completing a successful internship. Or maybe you could start your own small business. For teens with an entrepreneurial mindset, combine coursework and business ideas for a profitable summer! A great recommended resource is Carol Topp’s Micro Business for Teens

One more resource that we found helpful is the Money Matters for Teens WorkbookThis little workbook targeted to older teens addresses issues related to first jobs as well as practical money management.

My own teens have had summer and part time jobs working at a greenhouse, and at a music shop. All four of them have found good jobs through networking and being willing to work hard and learn new skills. All four started out as scorekeepers for a hockey league their dad manages, and were able to use the other league commissioners as workplace references. One son has years of experience in Civil Air Patrol which translated into valuable skills and discipline, even though he didn’t choose a career in a related field. My daughter’s availability to work during weekdays allowed her to learn about repairing and rebuilding pianos, and opened an opportunity for an apprenticeship. All valuable experiences, and all of them available to us because we homeschooled.

What valuable experience can your homeschooled teen bring to a summer job? Leave a comment and let us know!
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