It’s spring and that means employers are starting to post summer employment opportunities. Now is the time for young adults to prepare for summer employment. Summer work experience provides an excellent opportunity for teens to earn money, gain valuable experience and build confidence.

Teen workforce participation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, teen participation in the labor force peaked in 1979 at almost 60 percent. It dropped sharply during and after the recession in 2007 and has continued to hover around 34.1 percent.

While some may be quick to chalk it up to teen laziness, the fact is, more teens are attending school during the summer, they’re participating in more activities and they’re competing against a growing number of older workers and underemployed college grads.

Summer opportunities

Teens that are willing and able to work during the summer months are most likely to find positions in businesses that have seasonal surges: movie theaters, amusement parks, hotels, farm labor, construction and landscaping. A quick search on for summer jobs near the Holland/Zeeland area pulls up 350 entry level jobs; a mix of temporary, full-time, part-time and internship opportunities.

Teens may also want to explore volunteer opportunities where they can learn valuable employability skills, such as time management, teamwork and responsibility.

Preparing for a successful job search

Here are three tips to help teens compete for summer employment:

  1. Research the job opportunity. If it’s a retail job, visit the store and observe the current sales staff. Visit the company’s website and social media accounts.
  2. Create a simple resume. List any volunteer work, school activity or odd job that demonstrates responsibility, commitment and a positive attitude.
  3. Rehearse the interview. Practice a firm handshake, making eye contact and speaking with a clear, enthusiastic voice. Prepare a few questions that will show the employer that you’re genuinely interested in working for them.