It may feel like summer is eons away, but if you don’t start the summer job search now, there may not be many options when you’re ready to earn some cash. Employers are looking for teens to fill summer positions while the snow is still flying, so take these steps to set yourself up for summer employment.

Identify your options.

What job opportunities exist in your community? Here are 7 potential options, including lifeguard, retail, or even camp counselor. Ask adults and friends about job opportunities they know of.

Prepare to apply.

Most places of business will want you to complete an application that you need to pick up in person. But be thoughtful of how you appear when you inquire! Avoid looking like you just rolled out of bed. Fix your hair, brush your teeth, and dress nicely: pants (dark wash jeans or khakis) with no holes and a dressy shirt. Guys: this means a polo or button-down shirt (not wrinkly!). Ladies: be careful that your shirt covers your cleavage and shoulders, and if you wear a skirt instead of pants, it should be nearly knee-length.

You may create and print an Activities Resume (it always looks impressive that you came over-prepared). And be ready to list a couple references – people that can speak to your work ethic. These cannot be family members! Consider a family that you’ve babysat for, an adult at your place of worship, teacher, or coach. Oh, and have your reference’s contact info: name, title, phone number, email. You can get these details when you ask these adults to be your references BEFORE you apply.


Again, step up your wardrobe. You probably don’t need a suit, but dress up a level more than what you will be expected to wear to work. (Like, if lifeguarding, consider knee-length khaki shorts and polo. If retail, you may need to be in dress slacks and a dressy top.) I love this article for even more details about how to dress for an interview.

Get there a bit early. And practice some questions beforehand. This article gives some example questions and ideas for how to answer. Smile. Sit up straight. Pull out all your best manners. It speaks volumes – without saying a single word.

Final Thought: Thank the interviewer for their time. And bonus points if you send a handwritten thank you card the next day.


Follow these tips and you should set yourself up for an employment offer soon. Best of luck as you seek out a summer job!