Jobs out there for teens, college students

By: Eileen Wilson Press Tribune Correspondent
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Do you want fries with that? June is the month that high school grads and area teens gather applications for that much-needed summer job. Unfortunately, it’s a tough job market, and teens have plenty of competition for the apparently scarce number of jobs available. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, teen unemployment is at 25.4 percent and climbing, up from last year’s 21.7 percent — the highest rate in almost 20 years. Sonoma State student Shella Pimental appreciates the job she’s held for the last two summers at Roseville Golfland-Sunsplash Water Park, a business that employs several students each summer. “I got a job at Sunsplash at the end of my senior year,” she said. “My parents wanted me to chip in financially, and I really wanted to make a small contribution.” Pimental was able to work at least 30 hours most weeks, and was able to put away funds for books and various college expenses. “I was lucky I was able to return to the same job each summer,” she said. Pimental has applied for a fall position at her university, and states the key to getting a job at school is persistence. “I turned in a general application and resume, which any organization on campus can look through when they want to hire someone,” she said. “But for some jobs, you would want to apply directly at the place, like if you’re looking for a job at the university gym.” Pimental said stopping by and following up on her application regularly has netted her an interview. Employers like Raley’s hire young people, but don’t typically hire for the summer season, instead, preferring employees who will stay with the company year-round. “I don’t usually hire people for seasonal work, but I won’t say that we never do,” said Levi Lingo, Granite Bay Raley’s store director. “I prefer to hire young people who might be going to school locally, so we don’t lose them after a few months,” he said. A staff member at Banana Republic in the Westfield Galleria Mall said they don’t hire additional employees for the summer season, but they receive at least 10 job applications per day. Fortunately, there are jobs to be had at various Granite Bay and Roseville retailers. J.C. Penney assistant store manager Josh Rigsby said he is always looking for good people. “We staff up during the summer – we have students who stay with us from high school, all the way through college, then go into our management program,” he said. Several student employees return for the summer and holiday seasons, from college each year. “We’re looking for people with a leadership background, and we’re especially looking for stylists,” Rigsby said. “I would hire 10 stylists today, if I had qualified applicants.” Craig Lyman, owner of Douglas Ranch Supply, said he is ready to hire area youth. “We have a sign-shaker position available for individuals under 18, and retail or delivery for 18 and over,” he said. “Over a third of our staff attends college, and we work around and with their schedules every semester.” Lyman admits he would rather hire students who will be attending local schools, rather than staffing up specifically for the summer months. One area employer that staffs up with seasonal youth is Golfland Sunsplash. Owner Steve Rodgers said they have 500 employees, many of whom are young people. “They have to be 16 years and older, and we have noticed that we are getting more employees that are 18, 19, or 20 years of age,” Rogers said. “Our business is run by young people, and Golfland Sunsplash is a great place to get a job.” Rogers enjoys teaching youngsters valuable job skills and providing an environment for them to create lifetime memories. While employers have different criteria for hiring, most seem to have one requirement for potential hires. Personality, personality, personality. “We want confident, self-starters; in a retail environment, you need to be able to put yourself out there, to think on your feet,” Rigsby said. Lingo agreed. “I’m looking for friendly, outgoing people. People who want to help customers,” he said. “I hire for personality; I can train for skills.” Tahtia, a manager at A Children’s Place in the Galleria, who declined to give her last name, said that the first impression an applicant makes is probably the most important part of the hiring process. “I want someone who is well spoken,” she said. “Don’t come in with a group of friends to pick up an application, and don’t come in poorly dressed.” ---------- Advice for teen job seekers DO -When applying for a job at Galleria or other mall, visit the concierge desk first to obtain a list of which retailers are hiring. -Ask to speak to a manager to introduce yourself when picking up an application. -Bring a resume and cover letter addressed to the store manager (research online sources if you don’t know how to make a resume or write a cover letter). -Include extra-curricular activities, positions held in clubs, or community service on your application. -Ask what the next step is in the hiring process. -Send a thank you note to the manager after you’ve had an interview. DON’T -Dress too casually. -Talk, text or tweet on your cell phone. Better yet, leave your cell phone at home. -Bring your friends with you when picking up a job application. -Have a timid handshake or avoid eye contact. Confidence is key. -Chew gum. -Slouch or fidget. Projecting a calm, self-assured image is important. -Don’t speak negatively about previous employers.