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HomeArticlesNavigating Employment Opportunities With Your Teen

Navigating Employment Opportunities With Your Teen

One of the nearly universal hallmarks of teendom is a desire to earn their own money or explore a career interest. Teen engagement in the workforce, whether an internship, part-time job or full time summer job can have many positive benefits for your child including:

  • Greater financial independence
  • Career exploration
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Work ethic
  • Self-confidence
  • Increased likelihood of future employment opportunities

Here are a few tips to help make informed decisions on your teen’s employment aspirations:

When is the right time?

Overall, your child’s interest in employment should match their level of personal responsibility. Where does a realistic part-time or full-time summer job or internship fit? Here are some things to ask them:

  • Do you have adequate time in your schedule to fit a part-time job and keep up with all the demands on your time?
  • Do you understand what it means to be fully committed to your role with an employer?

Be ready to explain/point out that working may mean missing out on some of the very fun they’re hoping to experience with their new earned money. If they answer yes, more than likely, they may be ready for their first job.

Internships vs. a Job

When it comes to whether your teen should be looking for an internship opportunity or regular paying part-time job, have them weigh the opportunity against the need for money, and the skills they will acquire. Have your teen think about what they would like to get out of the opportunity by discussing the following:

  • Is their reasoning primarily financially based?
  • Is there a specific skill set needed for a long-term goal they are wishing to acquire?

Typically, internships are more career oriented, working to a more advanced position in that field, while part-time jobs are more about earning spending money and teaching responsibility.

The Search

Parents can empower their teens to find employment opportunities in their communities by encouraging them to check out different resources like online job boards, job fairs, or using their own (or your own) personal networks. Schools can also be a great resource as sometimes businesses may reach directly out to the guidance office with openings they are trying to fill.

The Paycheck: Saving, Spending and Budgeting

What’s it going to cost in transportation and other expenses to accept a job? What does your child want to do with the money they earn: Save for college, buy a car, buy a concert ticket?

Understanding the anatomy of a paycheck and financial goal setting are great entry points for young people to begin constructing healthy financial lives.

Bank of America offers a free, online financial empowerment website called Better Money Habits that includes self-paced training modules to help young people (and adults) understand important financial concepts.

As with any newly acquired interest or responsibility, monitor how it’s impacting your child’s life. Frequently check-in and help them keep a growth mindset because these early career experiences are a learning lab and more about practice than perfection.


Scott Vanderpool is the President and Market Executive of Bank of America Phoenix. He also leads the effort to deploy the company’s resources to help advance economic mobility and build strong communities, and currently serves as the board chair of the Arizona Banker’s Association and a board member of ICAN: Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods and Education Forward Arizona. He and his wife are raising two amazing Arizonans.

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