Summer jobs can be great for more than a paycheck. A teen with a summer job learns responsibility, develops independence, and picks up skills that will set them on a course to achieve their dreams. That said, they need a few skills to get there in the first place. Here are five tips on preparing your teen for their first Summer job:
- Showing Up. It’s like the old saying goes: 90% of success is showing up. But in a waterpark, showing up means more than getting to your job on time. “We’re looking for teens who understand they need to bring the best of themselves to work, who will engage our guests and make every interaction a positive one,” said Antiqueka Sanders, Staff Services Director for the former Schlitterbahn in Kansas City. Get teens in the habit of being both on time and ready to help at home and in school. This aspect would be particularly important if you were working at somewhere like Brookwood Camp as you will be teaching and spending time with children and if you are late, then it does not set a good example. Actually being on time should apply to people of all ages, not just teenagers as being late is not ok and something that everyone should try to avoid if possible! Especially if it’s your first job.
- Neat Appearance. Not every summer job forbids piercings or tattoos, but make sure your teen targets employers with a culture that match own style. That said, a neat, well-kept appearance matters, no matter the length of hair or number of piercings. Help your teen identify options (clear studs, for example) that will allow them their own style without taking them out of the running for coveted jobs.
- Be Reachable. Summer jobs are often about last minute changes in shifts. “When someone gets sick, or we get a new catering event, we often have to staff up quickly,” said Dee Cruz, Resort Manager for the former Schlitterbahn in South Padre Island. “Believe me, we notice the kids who respond quickly, even if the answer is no. We know we can reach out to them again in the future.” Make sure your teen has a mobile phone or some way of being reached, generally by text. Then help them understand the importance of responding to text requests and phone calls.
- Personality Over Skills. Everyone likes to have skills to bring to a workplace, but employers who hire young workers are looking for one key thing: personality. “I’m always looking for great personalities that will deliver that great guest experience,” said James MacAlpine, Director of Marketing for Schlitterbahn in Galveston. “I can teach tasks, but I can’t change someone’s personality.” Your teen may have a wonderful personality but may not let it shine. Teens who gain experience through volunteering or working in groups tend to be more comfortable showing the engaging side of their personality.
- Handling Mistakes. Teens are going to make mistakes on the job. It’s expected. How they handle those mistakes is what gets noticed by managers. “Showing a willingness to learn from every experience is incredibly valuable,” said Darren Hill, General Manager of Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. “We are looking for kids who will say ‘I made a mistake, how do I fix it and make it better next time?’” Encourage your teen by going through scenarios that will make them more comfortable handling challenging situations and give them the tools they need to get through them.
Ready to apply? Schlitterbahn is a great first job for teens. Visit BahnJobs.com for more information.