A lady friend of mine was bemoaning the fact that her bright, ambitious, talented teen age children just couldn’t find summer jobs. It is truly a scary experience for young people today who decide they want to do more than babysit or cut grass for the summer, and no one will hire them.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is time to get creative if you want to get noticed. Start your job search by talking to your parents’ friends. 75-80% of all job opportunities are found through the hidden job market, through networking.

Prepare an articulate 30-45 second blurb about what you are good at and what you would enjoy doing and end with the question, “If you or anyone you know might hear of something that you think I could help with, please keep me in mind, thank you so much.”

The local grocery store probably doesn’t take applications at the store level any more, you have to apply on line. When applying for a local position on line, fill out the application and then visit the store and ask to speak to the manager. Tell them you have applied, extol your virtues and ask them to watch out for your application, and ask if it would be ok for you to check back with them in a couple days.

To get above the masses, you have to stand out. If you haven’t tried any of these ideas decide which ones you could muster up the nerve to try and go the extra mile:

  1. Visit a store or restaurant as a customer where you would like to work.  Sit outside and take notice of who their customers are. Write up a one page synopsis of what you observed both inside and out and how you could add value to their location.
  2. While you are dining or shopping at a location, ask to speak to the manager and ask if there are any opportunities available and why you would like to work with their company. Mention research you have uncovered or heard about their company that piqued your interest to apply.
  3. Wear the company colors when you visit.
  4. Offer to work for free for one to three days to prove yourself. This is particularly effective if you don’t quite have the product knowledge or experience, but you know you can prove yourself in a short period of time.
  5. Be exceptionally well groomed when you visit a location and when meeting with a decision maker. Remove or hide any artifacts that might cause any discrimination like piercings and tattoos.
  6. Offer something over and above what others might offer. It might be really flexible hours, extensive computer knowledge or knowledge from a course you took in school – décor, automotives, economics, psychology.
  7. Change the reason why you might choose a place to work. Rather than choose a clothing store because you get to wear fun clothes and get a discount, try a drug store where you can work in several different areas of the store and expand your skill set all in one setting.
  8. Start your own service business. One student delivered bagels and The New York Times to homes on the weekend, for a hefty fee. If everyone you know has a cottage, offer to take care of their home and garden when they are away.
  9. Pick the brain of everyone you know for bigger and better ideas of how to get noticed and remembered.

Learn to talk about yourself in a positive, confident manner without boasting. Stay focused on what you can do for the company with the skills or knowledge you have.


Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate


Author of Networking How to
Build Relationships That Count
, How to Get a Job and Keep

Co-author of The Power of Mentorship; The Mastermind