This is a tough time to be a teen or young adult. If you are a parent, you probably remember how easy it was to find a part-time or summer job. And for those of us who went to college, the sky was the limit! Once we got that diploma, there was no end to how far we might go. It’s really scary how much times have changed, at least for now.
So what do we tell our teens and young adults? Should they just sit around and wait for the job they truly deserve and have worked hard for? How should they get start in the job market? I think these times are a great example of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Here’s what I mean.
One of the best markers of emotional health is the ability to accept what is, and cope with it. What is true right now is that the job market, especially for those at entry level, is very tough. Hopefully this will not always be true, but it is true right now. I think the best advice for young people is to take whatever work they can find, and do the very best job they can once they find it. Why?
Employers are always looking for the best applicants for the job. These days, having any experience at any job makes a young person stand out. Not only that, but showing the perseverance that is required to stand out at an entry level job is also a great marker for future success. Employers have always wanted to hire people who showed dedication, persistence and a good work ethic. This is still true now.
Young people sometimes worry that taking a job that seems “beneath them” or isn’t in their chosen field is going to hurt their prospects for finding the job they really want. I strongly disagree. Employers aren’t blind. They know this is a tough job market. Who do you think they would rather hire, the person who has never worked because they are waiting around for that perfect job, or the person who has already demonstrated they know how to get hired, show up, be responsible, and is a valuable asset at their job, no matter what it is? Easy answer.
So encourage your teen or young adult to look for work, any work, and not to feel like life is passing them by. Encourage them to stay current in their field of choice by taking classes, trying to meet people in their chosen field, and continuing interview in that field whenever they get a chance. If finding even entry level or unrelated work is tough, then volunteering is the next best choice. Volunteering shows the same good work ethic of showing up, being responsible, handling duties, etc, and it’s a great thing to add to a resume. It’s also a great way of learning more skills.
So, teens and young adults, don’t let a tough job market get you down. Get out there, work at whatever you can get, and keep your eye on your goal. You will get get there!
By the way, if you’re not sure what career matches your particular skill set, I highly recommend taking the vocational test at www.self-directed-search.com . For $4.95 and about 30-45 minutes of your time, you get very professional and very informative assessment of your skills, and what types of careers match up with them. It’s very useful, and well worth the investment.