male teen showing his resume ready to apply for summer jobs


Hey dad, send this article to your teen.


Minimum wage. That’s where most teens start their work careers. You may make $7.25 or a little bit more per hour. Each hour at work may be spent mopping floors, cleaning toilets, or possibly helping at an internship. Each hour might not be very pleasant or align with your future goals, but every job should be practice for future jobs until you reach your dream job. Even part-time jobs flipping burgers or hanging clothes is a chance for you to start your career on a solid foundation of work ethic, accountability, and potential. Here are the skills you can practice at your part-time job.



There’s no job on this planet that doesn’t require some form of communication. Part-time jobs, no matter what they are, have thousands of strands of communication each day. If you look at your first, second, third, or however many jobs until you reach your dream job, as a stepping stone to building your own personal brand, you can get a jump on other teens. Rather than considering your job as a means to buy gas, that new phone, or help your parents with rent, it may be helpful for you to think about making an impression. How and what can you do to build a glowing impression of your work ethic, character, and intelligence when you’re around your boss, colleagues, and customers.

During these building blocks jobs, what is the best way you can leave a magnificent impression and build your skills to project yourself as a professional? There are lots of ways like being on time, staying focused, and taking starting new projects before someone assigns it. Remember, professional only means you get paid for it. And, if you’re getting paid to flip burgers, acting professionally can help you set your professional persona in motion right from the start.


teenager working in a coffee shop for the summerCUSTOMER SERVICE

Your building block jobs are a great start to the important world of customer service. Essential to any business is people, whether they have good attitudes or they’re awful. Without customers, you have no business. You can practice dealing with customers of different ethnicities, cultures, religions, and temperaments. This experience will give you excellent problem-solving skills when you must interact with difficult customers, coworkers, bosses, and it will teach you to keep your frustration contained. This is an excellent skill to building and maintaining customers. Not to mention, you will learn the skills needed to meet customer’s expectations.



Before you leave home or make tons of money, it’s important you learn how to create a budget and plan for your future by saving. Going down to the bank and getting a savings and checking account is important to help you plan for your financial future. Usually, for students, these are free and do not have a minimum balance that is required. After these are in place, you and a parent, if needed, should calculate how much you get each week, and what is taken out, such as Medicare, income tax, etc. These should be on your pay stub. After these are gathered, you can figure out expenses (gas, tuition, a new car) and calculate how much you can and must work to meet these expenses and still save for your future.



At these jobs, you can learn to deal with people you don’t like. While you might be able to move classes if there is a student you don’t like, at a job you’ll have to work with people you don’t like. You will learn to become more efficient at work with this colleague so you can get away from them faster. Win-win. Not only will this make your work life more pleasant but your boss will notice how quickly you are getting your work done and be pleased. When around this colleague, it is best to not complain or rile up this person because it can tarnish your work reputation. Having said that, if this person is making you work life very difficult, then you should go to your boss and explain what’s going on, calmly. This situation can build your advocacy skills, your reputation with your boss, and problem-solving abilities. All because of an employee you can’t stand.



male teen taking a summer job in an automotive shopThere is a bias against young workers. Many before you have come to their job with a blasé attitude, poor attendance, and disrespectful behavior. This has put a stigma on all of you. Sucks, I know. The workplace expects a great many things including punctuality, initiative, good judgment, mature behavior, focus, and positive interactions with other employees.

When you develop and value these traits, you will be taken more seriously in the workplace and will show that you’re determined to succeed. This will boost employer’s view of you and hopefully, teens in general. After some time has passed and you’ve shown consistently stellar behaviors, reference for future jobs will come pouring in with nothing but praise. Securing these accolades at such a young age will show future employers the immense potential you have.



You can also learn to initiate events, which will show you are a leader. One way you can do this is by heading to LinkedIn and calling someone who has your dream job. You could also cold-call offices and ask to shadow the employees, helping out in whatever area they need. In the process, you will build connections, experience, and get a direct view of a job you’re interested in to see if you want to do it in the future.


These are just some of the skills that are available at building block jobs. Surprising, isn’t it? A strong foundation is needed for future success. These growth opportunities are invaluable and can easily be accessed with the right motivation!