Finding a summer job can be a full-time job, but with the right tools and the right attitude, teens can land one.
"The landscape has definitely improved since last summer," says Steve Kimball, acting senior vice president of marketing for SnagAJob.com. "But it's still a tough market out there for these teens."
A new survey, commissioned by Kimball's group, found that 29 percent of managers say a teen's stiffest competition comes from adults who've re-entered the seasonal or hourly work force because of economic pressures.
But 6 percent of hiring managers intend to hire more workers than they did last summer.
"In the fast-food industry, the grocery world and the entertainment world — movie theaters, bowling alleys — we're definitely seeing more seasonal or teen hiring," Kimball says.
Internet job sites are a great place for teens to begin the hunt, Kimball says, because many of them offer thousands of listings categorized by location and industry. He also offers teens a few pointers for snagging a job once they land an interview.
Be flexible about "where you apply and with your schedule. Don't go into it just wanting to have one type of job." Willingness to work nights, weekends and other odd hours might give teens an edge over adults who have more family commitments or second jobs.
— Be prepared. Practice for the interview with a friend or relative who can role-play and toss some questions your way. Check out the tips and sample interview videos on snagajob.com.
— Mind the details. "It's all about standing out. Pay attention to how you're dressed, the voice-mail greeting on your cell phone. No text-messaging or answering calls. Make sure you're really answering the questions and looking the person in the eye."
— Apply, apply, apply. "Apply to at least 10 jobs. Teens right now are competing against more seasoned workers, but you can increase your batting average by applying to at least 10 places."
— And remember, a job can be beneficial even if it's not exactly what you set out to do. "It's not just about the money or the work itself," says Kimball. "It's learning the interview process, having to show up on time, learning to provide customer service."
— Myfirstpaycheck.com allows teen job seekers to search by state and category (camp jobs, child care, retail, etc.) and offers job advice and a resume builder.
— Teens4hire.org is a free membership-based site for teens seeking full-time, part-time or seasonal work, plus internships, apprentice positions and information on military careers.
— Summerjobs.com points job hunters to seasonal positions with camps, amusement parks, resorts, national parks, hotels and environmental organizations.