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Top Five Tips for Teens to Land a Job This Summer

As the summer season approaches, Michigan teens are set to flood the labor market, eager to earn some money, gain valuable experience, and make the most of their break from school. According to the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, about half of the state’s teens will be seeking employment this summer, a notable improvement from recent years. The forecast for June to August 2024 shows a promising landscape for young job seekers, with the teen unemployment rate projected to be 11.6%, a significant drop from the pandemic high of 23.6% in 2020 .

The Landscape of Teen Employment in Michigan
Over the next few months, industries like accommodation and food services, retail trade, and arts, entertainment, and recreation will be buzzing with seasonal employment opportunities perfect for teens. These jobs typically require minimal education, experience, or training, making them ideal for first-time workers. Despite a slight decline in the number of teens expected to join the workforce compared to last year, the labor force participation rate remains robust at 50%, far surpassing the 38.3% recorded in 2020 .

Historical data from the Current Population Survey highlights a positive trend in teen employment across Michigan. After the spike in unemployment during the early days of the pandemic, the job market has steadily improved. This summer, approximately 247,600 teens are expected to be part of Michigan’s labor force, a slight dip from 2023 but still higher than previous years. But there is also troubling news as the number of 16-to-19-year-olds in Michigan is expected to fall below 500,000, with close to half in that age group looking for work or holding a job this summer. 

Why This Matters
For many teens, summer jobs are more than just a source of income—they’re a crucial step in building a work ethic, gaining independence, and learning new skills. As Michigan teens prepare to dive into the job market, it’s essential they have the tools and knowledge to secure the best opportunities available.

5 Tips for Teens Looking for Summer Work

With a promising job market ahead, here are five tips to help Michigan teens land that perfect summer job and make the most out of their employment experience:

1. Start Your Search Early
The early bird catches the worm, and this couldn’t be truer for job hunting. Employers often begin hiring for summer positions well before the season starts, so don’t wait until school is out. Utilize job boards like Pure Michigan Talent Connect, which lists numerous opportunities tailored to various skill levels and interests. Contact your local Michigan Works! office for assistance in crafting a resume and navigating the job search process.

2. Tailor Your Resume and Application
Your resume might look a bit sparse if this is your first job, but that’s okay! Highlight your skills, volunteer work, school projects, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate responsibility and teamwork. Customize your resume and cover letter for each job application to show employers you’re genuinely interested and have put in the effort . Here is a recent blog about crafting your first resume. 

3. Be Open to Seasonal and Part-Time Jobs
Michigan’s labor market for teens is brimming with opportunities in seasonal industries like accommodation and food services, retail trade, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. These jobs often require minimal experience and can be a great fit for teens. Whether it’s scooping ice cream, working retail, or lifeguarding at the local pool, these roles provide valuable work experience and a paycheck without needing extensive training .

4. Prepare for the Interview
Once you’ve landed an interview, preparation is key. Practice common interview questions with a friend or family member, dress appropriately, and bring copies of your resume. Show up a few minutes early and be ready to discuss why you’re interested in the job and what you can bring to the team. Confidence and a positive attitude can make a big difference .

5. Utilize Local Resources
Michigan offers a wealth of resources to help teens find employment. Michigan Works! offices are an excellent starting point—they provide resume workshops, job search assistance, and mock interviews to help you prepare. Additionally, many schools and community centers offer job fairs and employment workshops. Taking advantage of these resources can give you a leg up in the competitive job market .

Looking Ahead
With a solid plan and the right resources, Michigan teens can make the most of this summer’s job market. The combination of high participation rates and a decreasing unemployment rate sets a positive tone for young job seekers. By starting early, tailoring applications, being open to various job types, preparing thoroughly for interviews, and leveraging local resources, teens can secure valuable employment opportunities that lay the groundwork for future success.

So, get out there, seize the opportunity, and make this summer one to remember. Whether you’re saving for college, helping out with family expenses, or just looking to gain some experience, a summer job can be a stepping stone to a bright future. If you are a graduating high school senior or off for the summer from college, check out Denso Manufacturing’s Summer Jobs for Students Program.

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