Emily Stern, special to wtop
WASHINGTON - School is out for the summer, and for many teens and young adults that means it's time to get a job.
Easier said than done.
Fewer than three in 10 American teens has a summer job. Only 48.8 percent of 16-to 24-year-olds were employed last July, the lowest rate since 1948, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MontgomeryWorks, a one-stop career center with locations in Wheaton and Germantown, hopes to raise these numbers in Montgomery County, but there's not much it can do for young people who just started looking.
"If you're waiting until now, the competition gets more fierce," says Director of Operations Yolanda Tully.
Much of the competition for teen jobs, particularly in retail and hospitality, comes from other age groups who are now entering the workforce.
Positions at local clothing stores are quickly filling up. American Eagle Outfitters in Bethesda's Montgomery Mall receives five to 10 applications each day this time of year, says store manager Amanda Keefer.
The situation is much the same at Express in Fairfax's Fair Oaks Mall. The hiring manager there tries to finish summer hiring by the middle of June.
Creativity and an early start are key to finding a summer job, Tully says. High school graduates and college students should explore internships, fellowships, and the nonprofit sector.
"Those are great avenues for people who have limited work experiences to try to build up their resume," Tully says.
They should look for those opportunities at least several months in advance, before getting into the job market, she says.
Nailing that dream job may be as simple as changing one's social media habits. It's not just a myth that employers search candidates, and they do not want to see inappropriate Facebook photos or tweets.
Tully encourages young people to trade in their Facebook profiles for LinkedIn accounts.
"They can follow companies on LinkedIn. They can post their resumes on LinkedIn," she says. "I've heard of candidates who have been contacted by employers."
Individuals who are at least 16 years old can also utilize the free career resources at MontgomeryWorks. These include a computer lab for conducting online job searches, and printers, fax machines and photocopiers for copying and sending resumes.
There are more than 3,000 one-stop centers across the country. Visit CareerOneStop.org to find a local center.
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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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