Teens in-between: Finding your first summer job

Posted on June 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

By Stacey Goddard

I got my first paying job—that wasn’t babysitting or doing chores—pretty much by accident.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, my younger and much more industrious brother found his own job: delivering the afternoon edition of the local newspaper. The route he was taking on was big enough that he could use my help, and I could certainly use the spending money. So I agreed to partner with him and go into the newspaper (delivery) business.

Although it started as a summer job, we stuck with delivering papers for a couple of years. Looking back, I know I didn’t appreciate at the time the skills this first job taught me, and it taught me a lot.

The responsibility of meeting my daily work schedule was a crucial life lesson, even if I would have preferred to hang out with friends after school rather than rushing over to the start of our route.

Customer service skills, such as dealing with upset customers when their paper was missing a section or hadn’t been delivered yet, would serve me in my career and life.

Handling money—because this was the early 80s and there was no internet or online payment option, we had to go door to door each month to collect the subscription payments. Along with math skills, this helped hone my customer service skills even more, as we tried to tactfully work with adults who were behind on their payments.

Eventually, though, inclement weather and dogs—yes, dogs chasing me as I rode frantically away on my bike—took the thrill out of my delivery career. Well, that and the fact that when the afternoon edition ceased publication, the route switched to morning delivery only. I am many things, but a morning person is not one of them!

I started looking at other options and eventually found another job, my first library job in fact. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, let’s look at the present—specifically today’s job market for teens.


Now that school is out for the summer, the 16- to 18-year-old crowd might be thinking about finding their own part-time summer jobs. Fortunately, the Library District has lots of great resources for teens who are starting or continuing their job search!

It can be overwhelming to figure out what you even want to do and where to focus your energy, so What Color is Your Parachute? For Teens is a good place to start. This book is a classic for a reason: it will help you figure out what skills you have, what you enjoy doing, and how to start making decisions now to be sure you end up doing work you love in the future.

Once you know what you enjoy doing, you can check out the eBook series Money-Making Opportunities for Teens Whoon Hoopla. These eBooks discuss a wide range of career options for teens with specific interests, such as working with kids or being around pets and animals.

And of course, we have an abundant supply of resources for writing a resume and cover letter, interview questions (both to expect and to ask), and dressing for success. Our JobNow online service is a one-stop resource for resume templates, interview tips, and more.

We’re also happy to help you craft your resume and cover letter in a one-on-one Book-a-Librarian appointment. We can help you design a resume that focuses on the skills you’ve learned from babysitting, volunteering, and even doing chores.

If you don’t have easy access to a computer and/or printer, we can help with that, too! You can reserve a computer up to a week in advance with your library card (and if you don’t have a free library card yet you can apply online right now). You can also print up to 80 pages a week for free, which means you can make plenty of copies of your resume and cover letter!

Finally my colleague wrote an earlier blog about job hunting tips for teensthat are full of great tips, as well, for even more ideas and tools to help you in your search for summer employment.

Finding your first job doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. The Library District is here to help!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,