10 Skills that Prepare Teens for Employment

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While some teens are easily able to apply the skills you’ve taught them at home and the skills they’ve learned in school to the job market, other teens struggle. A teen’s first job may also require new skills that he’s never really needed before.

The main goal of parenting a teen should be to get your teen ready to become a responsible adult. A part-time or summer job is an excellent way for a teen to gain responsibility.

But, before you send your teen out looking for work, make sure he has the skills that are necessary to become successful in the working world.

1. Social Skills

Interaction with managers, other employees and customers can be a large part of any job. Social interactions at a professional level are much different that social interactions with friends at school. Help your teen gain the skills necessary to carry on a conversation in-person and how to answer a phone in a professional manner, etc.

2. Oral Communication Skills

Employers need their workers to be able to communicate effectively with managers as well as customers. Help teens understand communication isn't just about casual conversation. Communication involves accurately conveying directions or problems. Non-verbal communication is also important so make sure your teen understands the importance of making eye contact and using body language to show that he’s listening to others.

3. Written Communication Skills

A job application requires written communication skills. It’s important for your teen to be able to use the application or a resume to convey his skills and past job experiences. An application is the first time a potential employer is able to gain insight into their potential employee.

Teens need to understand the importance of writing legibly and spelling words correctly. Most jobs also tend to require some level of written communication so it’s important for teens to be able to get their point across either on a computer or through their written words.

4. Interviewing Skills

Practice interviewing skills with your teen. Ask questions that a potential employer may ask. Teach your teen how to enter a room, shake hands, introduce themselves, smile and maintain eye contact. Show your teen how to discuss strengths without sounding arrogant and how to convey an appropriate amount of confidence.

5. Problem-Solving Skills 

Employers want an employee who can solve problems as they arise. It's important for your teen to be able to creatively and effectively solve various problems with customers, co-workers, or various other duties. Devote time to teaching your teen problem-solving skills that can be helpful not just in a work environment, but in all areas of his life.

6. Time Management

Clearly an employer will want a teen who is responsible enough to arrive at work on time. Knowing how to prioritize tasks is necessary in most work environments. A busy work environment often means that a teen will need to understand which tasks need to be addressed first and which things can wait until later.

7. Leadership Skills

Even entry-level positions often require some level of leadership skills. If a fellow employee becomes injured or there is a crisis with a customer, your teen will likely need to know how to handle a situation where he may need to take charge.

8. Critical Thinking Skills

There aren’t a lot of jobs these days that don’t require some level of critical thinking. That may mean analyzing how to address an issue in a more effective manner or figuring out the best way to apply the company policies to a specific situation. Most employers look for employees who can handle some level of independence and won’t be constantly asking for help.

9. Organizational Skills

Employers value productivity. They look for employees who can be organized. They won’t appreciate a teen who is constantly losing things or has to ask for the same paperwork over and over again. It’s important for a teen to understand which tasks need to be done first and how to keep things in appropriate order.

 10. Professional Skills

Teens need to understand how to comply with a company’s rules and regulations. Part of behaving in a professional manner means adhering to the company’s dress code, interacting with co-workers and supervisors in a professional manner, and behaving in a respectful manner. For example, a teen needs to know that he can’t text his friends and surf the internet instead of performing his job duties.

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