Summer months are the peak of youth employment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last July, the bureau reported 55.3% of youth ages 16 to 24 were employed in the U.S., slightly more than in 2021.
To get that summer job, however, requires some prep work, such as learning valuable skills. Sometimes young people need a leg-up and a little extra help to succeed in a career they love.
In southwestern Idaho, teens have the opportunity to learn some of those skills and gain a head-start in their career by attending a free workshop, Feb. 22. The event takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Meridian Library.
You’ve probably heard of “soft skills” – abilities employers look for in all workers. But did you know you probably already possess a lot of solid, job-related skills you’ll rely on when you’re working for a living?
For example, if you’ve ever figured out the price of a CD at 15 percent off, then you have math skills that can help you understand payroll deductions like state and federal taxes. Math skills are helpful for understanding your own paycheck and investments as well as for jobs in personnel, finance and management.
Have you ever taught a friend the rules of a sport or game they’ve never played? If you have, you might have the makings of a good trainer – someone who teaches employees company rules and policies, as well as new skills that will help them advance in the company.
Idaho’s Career Information System is not just for kids. The free, customized online tool also helps adults stay on a solid path toward a successful future while they are in school, training or pursuing a new career.
Students and adults with career plans are more likely to stay in school, pursue a higher education and once they enter the world of work, see greater promotional opportunities. Accessing Idaho’s Career Information System is free and can help both parents and children:
Understand how interests and strengths connect to the world of work
Define a career path
Decide areas of study to pursue in middle/junior high, high school and college
Find the training, education, knowledge – and money – necessary for following their dreams.
Employers have been increasingly voicing concerns about job applicants – especially young ones – having basic job skills – what’s called soft skills.
The Idaho Department of Labor took up their cause recently with a workshop in Pocatello to help young people, typically first-time job seekers, find work. And a major focus was on the following soft skills:
Showing up for work on time
Proper dress and grooming
Working well with others
The ability to follow directions
Strong written and verbal communication skills
Stacy Miller, Mary Johnson and Kim Smith discuss why soft skills are important to employers.
“Soft skills are one of the key factors which can move a young person from being a job seeker to an employee,” department Regional Economist Dan Cravens told the 30 people who took part in the workshop. “We had many employers and parents in the area request that we do a workshop like this so that local youth can better understand how they need to act in order to find a job, and do well at it.”
Many of the 16-to-24-year-olds face the same challenges young people across the country face – unemployment rates over 16 percent. Unemployment rates would probably be higher for this age group, but too many young job seekers have just given up hope of finding work. Continue reading →
Landing a first job can be difficult for a teen since employers often look for experience when making a hire.
But Hope Keller, workforce consultant for the Idaho Department of Labor’s Orofino office, offered up these tips to make the job search easier for teens.
What resume tips do you have for teens?
Workforce consultant Hope Keller
Don’t sell yourself short. Write down all the activities you are involved in (school, volunteer, sports), as well as “spot” jobs such as babysitting, housecleaning, yard work and family jobs like ranching.
Next, write down all your skills and separate them into two categories “technical” skills and “soft skills” and highlight both. Employers often look for a combination of both.
Don’t overlook your soft skills. For example, if you play sports you learned teamwork, communication, the ability to follow directions and the ability to prioritize and multitask. Sports also teach transferrable technical skills such as physical fitness and hand-eye coordination.
Now that school is almost over teens are beginning to think about summer jobs. Make sure you know what age requirements exist for a particular job before your child applies.
Age 14 is listed by the Fair Labor Standards Act as the minimum age for most non-agricultural work. However, at any age, youth may deliver newspapers; perform in radio, television movie, or theatrical productions; work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing or hazardous jobs); and perform babysitting or minor chores around a private home. Continue reading →