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Beyond babysitting: Helping teens find summer jobs

By Lauren Breslin
Special to The Sun

For many teens, summer means long lazy days spent hitting the malls, hanging out and sleeping in. For others, it's a chance to advance their "fiscal fitness," so to speak, and turn their free time into valuable skills they can apply to tomorrow's job market.

Work habits

Whether it's flipping burgers, teaching soccer, bagging groceries or ripping movie tickets, the skills kids learn during a summer job can help set the stage for the work habits they'll need to succeed in the future.

Teens who spend their summers at work typically gravitate toward one of three main sectors: camps, restaurants and theme parks. But with so many kids competing for the same spots, how do you show an employer you're better than the next guy?
The Internet is a terrific resource for finding summer work. Plenty of websites are specifically geared toward helping would-be employees find a job, and many companies use the Web to post job opportunities and screen applicants. Here are some relevant sites for teenagers seeking summer employment.

YouthPath Summer Jobs
A one-stop-shop for summer jobs, provided by the government of Canada.

Possibilities Project
Toronto's virtual employment resource centre.

Camp Search
A searchable site of Canadian, American and international camps. Click on the jobs@camp link to post your resume and search for a potential camp employer.

Youth Employment Service Toronto (YES)
This agency in downtown Toronto helps teens, young adults and disadvantaged teens find jobs and start their own businesses.

Job Star
Sample resumes are available at this site, as well as links to other resources on resume writing and cover letters.

--Lauren Breslin

We've asked four recruitment experts, from each of these industries, about the most desirable qualities they look for in potential employees.

It turns out that companies who hire students for seasonal work don't insist on prior experience in the field (though it helps). What they're really looking for is a strong work ethic -- someone who can report for work as scheduled, dress appropriately, show enthusiasm and work well with others.

With a little preparation, determination and follow-through, anyone can prove themselves as a worthwhile employee.

Here are some helpful tips, from the experts, to help a teenager succeed in the summer job market.

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