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Jobs & Internships

Job or Internship Can Shape Your Career How a

Directory of


RESUME TIPS: How to Standout Residential Among SummerYour Peers Experiences as a High School Student Important Questions to Ask When Researching Camps or Programs A T E E N L I F E M E D I A P U B L I C AT I O N

Presenting TeenLife’s 2013 Guide to

FINDING JOBS & INTERNSHIPS hether you want to explore a career path, learn a new skill, or simply make money for college, getting a job or internship is really encouraged for today’s teens. That’s why we are so excited to publish this year’s extensive Guide to Finding Jobs & Internships.

P UB LISH E R Marie Schwartz, President & Founder M ARKE TIN G

And for those who are new to TeenLife, be sure to visit our website,—where you wll learn how our site, digital guides and publications, blog, and newsletters can help you find all sorts of meaningful programs and service for students in grades 7-12. Join now. It’s free!


Camille Heidebrecht, Director of Marketing

Kathryn Tilton, Designer

Lesli Amos, Marketing Associate ADVE RTISIN G SALE S Stefanie Magner, Director of Sales,

With more than 22 pages of recommendations, no topic is left uncovered. From writing cover letters and interviewing to learning professionalism in the workplace, our guide covers everything students need to know about getting a career-building job or internship.

O P E RATIO N S Maria Kieslich, Senior Director of Operations Alice Vaught, Chris Connolly, Customer Service

Dina Creiger, Account Director,


TeenLife Media, LLC, 1330 Beacon St., Suite 268 Brookline, MA 02446 • (617) 277-5120 •

Brent Stevens, Account Executive, Ben Welbourn, Account Executive,

Copyright © 2013 by TeenLife Media, LLC Brookline, Massachusetts

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Table of Contents 7 9


CHOOSING YOUR PATH • Self-Exploration • Caveats When Choosing Your Path

MAKING YOURSELF MARKETABLE • Start thinking about which skills are your strengths • Work towards improving skills that are currently weaknesses • Devote some time and energy to career exploration



RESUMES & REFERENCES • Your resume is a first impression • Be honest about your skills and experiences • Your resume should reflect what is most important to a hiring manager • Be ready to talk about anything on your resume • Line up your references before you start your job search



First things first It’s not about you Connect, connect, connect Check out other resources

COVER LETTERS • Don’t take the lazy way out • Marry your background to the employer’s needs • No errors

JOB INTERVIEWS • • • • • • •

Research and prepare in advance Tell why your work matters Dress appropriately for the interview Arrive early for the interview Turn nervous energy into a positive Don’t dread open-ended questions Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview • Follow up with a perfectly written thank-you note or e-mail

MAKING YOUR JOB A SUCCESS • Benefits of doing your job well • The fundamentals of good job performance

INTERNSHIP PROGRAM Internships offered during: • summer months • the academic year • after school hours • the school day • post secondary/ gap year

“Together we create more possibilites”

Find us on Facebook TEC Interns

Follow us on:


STARTING A BUSINESS • Positives of being your own employer • Ideas for teen businesses

twitter TEC Internships

Visit our website for more information. Contact Sherri Sigel at THE TEENLIFE GUIDE TO FINDING JOBS & INTERNSHIPS



Jobs & Internships

TeenLife is all about “bringing out the best in teens.” And one big way students can showcase their best is by obtaining a career-building job or internship. The benefits of both are immeasurable. Right off the bat, teens learn the importance of taking responsibility for their work. Plus, they gain valuable insight on how to collaborate effectively with co-workers, use networking, and translate their real world experiences to college and career.







shows, shopping and professional sports. This “Glamorous Industry Syndrome” influences teens to pursue careers in those popular interests, such as working for a professional sports team or for their favorite radio station. Most of the time jobs and internships in these glamorous fields are usually unpaid and are extremely hard to get, although it is not impossible. You just have to be willing to make sacrifices to get there. A great example is Caleb Ginsberg. Recognizing that he would never acquire the skills needed to play baseball professionally, he decided to have a career in sports. He worked countless unpaid hours with minor league teams, and after graduating, landed a position with the New York Yankees. Currently, he’s with the National Football League Players Association. However, it’s important to realize this career path did not happen overnight; a lot of hard work and connections were the keys to his success. So if you want to be in this glamorous field—and even if you don’t— start taking active steps now. Blog, volunteer, take initiative!

CHOOSING YOUR PATH It’s very common for teens to feel somewhat paralyzed by the whole idea of figuring out what type of job to pursue, let alone making decisions about a college major or career. A good first step is to take a deep breath and relax. You don’t need to decide immediately what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. The main thing is to start taking some small steps to figure out what you think you might like to do or what you might be suited for. What’s the worse thing that can happen? You might learn about what you don’t want to do. With that in mind, let’s take a look at ways to narrow your employment focus.

Self-Exploration Deciding on goals for a job search becomes simpler if you think of the four most important components of choosing your path: values, interests, personality, and skills. 7 5


Values: What is important to you as a person? Co-workers? Making a difference? Job hours? Corporation or small business? Interests: What makes you happy? If money weren’t an issue, how would you spend your time? Personality: Are you outgoing or reserved? Big-picture or detailoriented? Laid-back or fast-paced? Skills: What are you good at? Debate issues? Volunteering? Writing? Event planning? Solving problems? Your parents and counselors can help find several career paths simply based on your strongest responses to these questions and observations.

Caveats When Choosing Your Path If you asked 1,000 teens about their interests, there are several themes you will hear all the time: popular music, favorite television,

One other caveat: Choosing a job or internships does not commit you for the rest of your life in that field. Try several different jobs and internships, change your mind; this is your opportunity to discover what you like or dislike before you enter into a long-term career.


Work towards improving skills that are currently weaknesses There are plenty of resources that can help you improve your skills dramatically, whether through summer programs, books or online courses, etc. Improving your skills, especially on the computer with Microsoft Office and social media, can give you an enormous competitive edge in the eyes of college admissions officers and future employers. Being active on social media also speaks volumes about your initiative and intellectual curiosity.

Devote some time and energy to career exploration After you find an interesting career path, do some homework to find out more information. Seek out informational interviews to tell you more about what the career is like first-hand. Be ready with these questions:

MAKING YOURSELF MARKETABLE Even when you have decided what you might want to do for a job or career, there is still much to accomplish—especially if you fear that no one will hire you because of your age and inexperience. Taking initiative and convincing managers that you have the will to learn and work on “21st century skills” will make you that much more marketable. Such skills include: ability to learn quickly, positive attitude, dependability, communication skills, ability to work independently or in a team, ability to multitask, etc. Managers have learned that it’s much easier to change someone’s level of skill and experience than it is to overhaul an individual’s personality.



Here are some tips to make you more marketable:

Start thinking about which skills are your strengths In the classroom or in extracurricular activities, what have you noticed about yourself? Teens often don’t believe that experience gained from classes, summer camps or team sports really count in the eyes of potential employers, but this is absolutely wrong! Think of specific stories that show your problem-solving skills in action.

What excites you about your field?

What kind of person is successful in this industry?

What skills can I work on improving now to make myself more qualified for a job in this career later?

What courses would be smart for me to take to learn more about this line of work?

What can I do to learn more about this profession?

In any career field, check out the Dummies books. They’re not for stupid people, but for those who don’t want to read dry and boring textbooks. Reaching out to adults to learn about their career and the preparation necessary to get the job can be tremendously helpful. These efforts may not get you a job right now, but the long-term goal is to increase your odds of getting the best full-time job after college.




Find an internship opportunity using these companies! is to help a hiring manager see how your background connects with a positive attitude.

Be ready to talk about anything on your resume Don’t put things on your resume simply because they sound impressive. Include your activities that show the employer that you’re a well-rounded person with extracurricular interests and intellectual curiosity. However, you’d better be ready to talk about anything that’s on your resume. For current events, you might get asked about political unrest in Syria.

RESUMES & REFERENCES Once you have a sense of what you might want to do for a job, it’s time to start focusing on some practical matters. While no employer will expect a teenager to have an amazing amount of experience, don’t underestimate the importance of having an effective resume.

Your resume is a first impression

Given that your job experiences may be limited, it may be tempting to make your jobs sound more impressive than they really were. If you have real accomplishments, great, but be sure that you are truthful on your resume.

A quick glance at a resume will make an immediate impression on an employer. It can tell a potential employer whether or not you:

For example, if all you can do is enter data and create a few simple formulas, you’re better off saying that you’re “familiar with” Excel, not proficient.

Take pride in producing good-looking work

Pay attention to detail

Are proficient in the latest software technology

Your resume should reflect what is most important to a hiring manager

Typos, spelling errors, and formatting inconsistencies will raise immediate questions about your ability to do work without constant supervision and correction. 11

Be honest about your skills and experiences


A resume is full of facts about you. However, an important step in creating a resume is to look at it from the point of view of a potential manager. Make sure that everything on your resume serves a purpose. The goal

Flunking this test will raise immediate questions about the credibility of anything that you say.

Line up your references before you start your job search It’s not unusual for employers to ask for references before hiring. Basically, they want to have the contact information—phone and e-mail address— of a few people that can describe you as a person, employee, or student. The big mistake that many teens make here is failing to plan ahead. Before your resume goes to anyone, get the permission of three to five adults (not peers) who can talk about your character, intelligence, skills, and experiences. Ideally, you would have at least one person from each of these three categories:

Current or former employment supervisor

Current or former teacher or coach

Family friend who has known you for many years

THE EDUCATION COOPERATIVE (TEC) “Internships are not a job. They’re an education.” The Education Cooperative offers custom internship opportunities for all students who have completed two years of high school and beyond. These internships provide each student with a meaningful experience in a supervised professional career environment that allows them to incorporate their academic knowledge, learn life skills, explore potential career interests and their college major. Location(s): Eastern Massachusetts Contact: Sherri Sigel Phone: (781) 326-2473 x122 Email: Address:1112 High Street Dedham, MA 02027 Website:

FOUNDATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (FSD) Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) enhances the capacity of community organizations around the world to address local health, social, environmental, and economic issues. Our model incorporates four programs that support underserved communities in a collaborative and sustainable manner. Location(s): Argentina, Bolivia, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, Uganda Contact: Bianca Taylor Phone: (415) 283-4873 Email: Address: 1000 Brannan Street, Suite 207 San Francisco, CA 94103 Website:









employee takes effort, even when the employee is terrific. It’s costly if mistakes are made, customers are dissatisfied with service, and time is wasted dealing with a problem employee due to tardiness, absence, inaccurate work, or attitude.

Connect, connect, connect Once you have a resume and a clear message, you need to embrace the fact that networking takes considerable time and effort. Most often, it may take conversations with a few dozen people to land a job! So network early and often. If you want a summer job when school ends, you should start working toward that no later than May.

NETWORKING & FINDING OPPORTUNITIES Armed with a good resume, you can start taking active steps towards finding a job. Most businesses are happy to have extra help even if someone is inexperienced. Unfortunately, there is much more competition these days, even for entry-level jobs. The key is networking. Reach out to everyone you know—friends, family, acquaintances, teachers, coaches, and mentors—to make sure they know who you are and what you can do as an employee. If that doesn’t get you in the door, then try to connect with the friends of your friends, the acquaintances of your acquaintances, and so on! Here are some steps to successful networking as a teen:

First things first Job seekers should think through their job search goals first and create a resume. You should be ready to have something to say about your skills, interests, and career goals before you begin networking. It doesn’t have to be incredibly specific, but in a broad sort of way: 13


“I’m very comfortable working with computers, but I also like working with people. I’m thinking of majoring in business, but I also think I could add value to a company working with computers in customer service and work my way up.”

It’s not about you While you need to be able to talk about your career interests, it’s important to remember the golden rule of job searching. It’s not about you! Look at things from the perspective of the hiring employer. “Will it be worth it to me to hire this individual?” Before making an offer, the employer needs to believe that the benefit of the potential employee will outweigh the cost. This is true whether an employer is hiring someone making $100,000 year, or—believe it or not—an unpaid intern. Employees can be costly in plenty of ways that have nothing to do with money. The biggest cost is time. Training and managing an

Create a LinkedIn profile and connect with any adults that you know in the professional world. But don’t forget to network the old-fashioned way. Even if your direct contacts aren’t hiring, you can develop new contacts through them by asking smart questions:

Do you know anyone who manages people in a large company?

Do you know someone who owns her own business?

Quite often, contacts can’t think of any names until questions like these are asked!

Check out other resources Networking is definitely a powerful way to find opportunities, but there are other options, too. TeenLife also features listings of great internship programs such as The Education Cooperative (TEC). In return for a fee, these organizations will do the heavy lifting when it comes to connecting you with jobs during vacations or school. Some also provide career counseling and other assistance. While websites such as Monster and LinkedIn are not so useful for teen job seekers, sites like or might be helpful to find paid hourly work. With a strategic approach, you can open doors for yourself with networking. It might not be immediate gratification, but the benefits will definitely pay off in years to come.




COVER LETTERS If personal networking is successful, you—or any job seeker—might be able to jump directly ahead to an interview without an intermediate step. Eventually, though, every professional needs to know how to write an effective cover letter. A great cover letter shows maturity and writing ability. Cover letters must be written well and show sincere interest and understanding of the company and what it needs in a potential candidate. Here are a few tips:

Don’t take the lazy way out Teens tend to use the same cover letter repeatedly—or tweak it slightly—whether or not the content remains applicable to each job under consideration. They write one cover letter that can be used for any job that they might possibly consider. Inevitably, this cover letter is incredibly broad and generic. It describes how the individual would be great for a sales job… or working with children… or using a computer… or maybe doing some writing. Don’t make this mistake—write a custom letter each time.

Marry your background to the employer’s needs Many candidates make the mistake of writing about why the job would be beneficial to them instead of why they would be a great addition to the company. After explaining personal information and reasoning for writing to the company, candidates need to specify how they can do the job better than the other prospective employees. In addition, applicants should write what they like about the company and how they’re going to make life easier every day. Be sure to include availability and contact information. Lastly, end sincerely with a “thank you” for taking the time to read the cover letter. 15


No errors You should keep in mind that recruiters see dozens of resumes and cover letters each week. It is important to make a cover letter the most presentable it can be. It’s best to keep the cover letter at one page in length, around three paragraphs long.

Write like a human! While it’s important to be professional, a cover letter should also reflect a friendly and unique personality. Double check the cover letter several times. Is the font the same size and style throughout? Is it easy to read? Are spaces, commas, dashes and periods consistent? Are there any spelling errors? Double check your work. These simple, silly errors could determine one candidate over another in an employer’s eyes.




Research and prepare in advance

Don’t dread open-ended questions

Memorizing tons of facts is not necessary, but it’s important to have a good idea of what the company does. If it’s a restaurant or store, visiting in advance to get a feel for what the atmosphere is like is a good idea. This shows interest and enables you to ask informed questions. Be sure to visit their website and understand how the organization makes money.

Interestingly, many job seekers hate the questions that often start an interview, such as “Tell me about you.” Rightfully so; it can feel impossibly broad. But a shrewd interviewee knows that such questions are an open invitation to talk about specific reasons why they would be a fit at that company.

Tell why your work matters The most important preparation step for any job seeker is to think through why you would be a good match for their specific job. Candidates should always talk honestly about their strengths, but the best idea is to focus on strengths that are relevant to doing the job well. Come up with three reasons why you’re best suited for the job that can be explained through simple examples.

Always ask questions. It’s your opportunity to show real interest in learning more about the job.

What makes an ideal candidate for this job?

How could I best prepare for the job before I start?

When do you plan to make a hiring decision for this position?

May I have your business card so I can follow up with you later?

Always follow up with a thank-you note or e-mail within 24 hours. Keep it simple and absolutely error-free: Dear Ms. Smith,

Dress appropriately for the interview If it’s a formal interview, wear a suit. At least wear nice pants, a collared shirt, and dress shoes—no jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, white socks, and so forth. For girls, a nice blouse with a skirt or dressy slacks is acceptable. Hair should be neat—pulled back if it’s long.

6 INTERVIEWS JOB For teens, the interviewing process can vary dramatically. In some cases, there may be a long and arduous interview process. But, sometimes there may be an extremely brief and informal meeting just to make sure that you are presentable and that you have basic social skills, a positive attitude and so on. Either way, here are a few fundamentals to help you give the best impression possible. 17


Arrive early for the interview It’s best to arrive at an interview five minutes early. It shows interest and promptness, but won’t stress out the employer who planned for a meeting at a specific time.

Turn nervous energy into a positive It’s normal to be nervous. The key is to use that energy to smile, focus on what the interviewer is saying, and to express excitement about the position.

Thanks so much for meeting with me today to talk about the waitress position at your restaurant. It was interesting to learn that you value a positive attitude more than job experience when evaluating your staff. I am definitely interested in the job and believe that I would provide outstanding customer service to your patrons. I hope that you will consider me for the job, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Josephine Jobseeker If you prepare well for the interview and put a great deal of energy into coming up with a good strategy supported by stories of everyday success, the potential employer will be impressed. These are the individuals who get hired, regardless of skills and experience.




It’s not unusual for teens to start off by doing extremely simple tasks. Some of these may be boring work that no one else wants to do. However, if you do your work quickly and without making any mistakes, you can earn the opportunity to take on more challenging and interesting tasks.

Ask questions when necessary, but make notes so you don’t have to ask the same questions repeatedly. It’s normal to fear looking stupid or ignorant. However, you definitely don’t want to do something wrong and later learn that you made a costly mistake.

When you do a great job, you will have true accomplishments to add to your resume and to describe in a future interview.

The more you immerse yourself in the job, the more you will see if this line of work suits you. All jobs provide learning opportunities.

Be cheerful. Sooner or later, you will be asked to do tasks that are boring, repetitive, dirty, frustrating, or unpleasant in any number of ways. Employees who do grunt work readily are always appreciated!

Keep your work area neat and organized. Avoid having food and drink in plain view, and come up with a system so you’ll always know where to find things.

Dress appropriately for work. Even if you are unpaid and working five hours per week, you want to look just as professional as everyone doing similar work for that employer.

Go above and beyond! Don’t be content to simply do the job; set lofty goals for yourself. Seek feedback regularly to be sure that your performance is on target.

Recognize your worth. Think of yourself as a member of the work team. As such, offer to work extra hours if problems arise—just as the full-timers do.

Be careful about mixing business and pleasure. While it’s always a good idea to be friendly toward co-workers, you should not be spending significant amounts of the day socializing. And getting romantically involved with a co-worker is a bad idea for any number of reasons.

The fundamentals of good job performance

MAKING YOUR JOB A SUCCESS Once you have obtained your job or internship, you need to take steps to ensure that it’s a successful experience. Most importantly, remember that it’s perfectly okay if you don’t love your job… but you absolutely must do the job to the best of your ability. So let’s start out with some reminders:

These days, managers sometimes express frustration with the current generation of young adults. A common complaint is that young people are not willing to pay their dues. Managers also get frustrated about smartphones, iPods, and other gadgets in the workplace. So let’s review some of the fundamentals of what it will take to avoid problems at work.

Use technology appropriately at work. It’s recommended that you simply turn off your phone at work. Likewise, you may have a job that entails the use of a computer. Unless you are specifically told that it’s okay, don’t use the computer for anything but work.

If you have too much or too little work to do, talk to your supervisor about it in a positive, proactive manner. Let your manager know that you’d love more work to do if you need it, or request assistance with prioritizing if you have too much going on.

Benefits of doing your job well When you perform well, there is much more to be gained than the satisfaction of a job well done. Consider the following:


Today’s manager is tomorrow’s reference. When you are applying for jobs in the future, employers often ask to check references by talking to your previous supervisor. It’s a great feeling to go into an interview knowing that your previous supervisor will rave about your performance and attitude.


Be a reliable employee. The most common complaints revolve around tardiness and absenteeism. You need to get to work on time and have a minimal number of absences. If something is absolutely unavoidable, give advance notice.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your hard work will pay off for years to come in the form of references, resume experience, and career direction.




STARTING A BUSINESS Working for someone else is not the only option for teenagers. Many entrepreneurial teens have been successful at starting a business. Depending on the business, there may need to be some initial investment of money, but the experience and independence often outweighs the costs.

Positives of being your own employer

LANDSCAPING: If you like working outside, you could start your own landscaping business in the summer. Mow lawns, do yard work, water plants and flowers, and do any other outdoor tasks for busy professionals in the area.

PET CARE: If you like animals, start a dog walking service. Take care of cats and other pets while their owners are away.

Starting your own business can really make you stand out when applying to colleges or for future jobs. It’s proof-positive that you have many attractive qualities: initiative, work ethic, creativity, problem-solving skills, and so forth. Starting a business can also give you an enormous head start on your career. A teen that started a computer consulting business at age 16 would have a good five or six years of experience in that area by the time he or she graduates from college!

SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTING: Many people over the age of 50 are lost when it comes to mastering social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You could help someone create a profile and manage their settings to avoid security problems.

Ideas for teen businesses Here are many ways in which a teen could become an entrepreneur:


HOUSEHOLD CLEANING/ORGANIZING: Many busy families have basements, attics, and garages loaded with stuff that they would love to have cleaned and organized to remove clutter. A teen with good organizational skills and a tidy streak can make a household impact.

COMPUTER SET-UP AND REPAIR: If you have a knack for technology, starting a computer consulting business can work out well. Help family, friends, neighbors, and small businesses by fixing broken computers, and setting up computer networks, or getting rid of viruses.

ARTS AND CRAFTS: A crafty teen can make and sell jewelry, candles, or t-shirts with only a modest investment in supplies, such as beads, silver, and wax. These items can be sold at craft fairs, online, in local shops, or through networking with friends and families.

WEB DESIGN: It’s not too difficult to learn HTML and other tools for designing websites. Almost every business needs a website, no matter how small and modest it may be. See

SERVICES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS: Many senior citizens would love help from a teen, doing things like household chores and running errands.

BLOGGING: Increasingly, businesses are looking for people who can write short blogs on all sorts of topics: sports, bullying, fashion, technology, etc. If you have good writing skills, doing a Google search on “online writing jobs for teens” can get you started.



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