“Money doesn’t grow on trees, you need to go out and get a job” are words I’m sure my fellow teenagers can say they’ve heard more than once when complaining about needing money. Although for those of us that are ambitious enough to want to work, it’s not easy. The elusive ‘summer job’ is incredibly difficult to secure and schools need to do more to prepare us for the real world. I’ll be honest, I’m blessed to have a mother that works in human resources however, it shouldn’t have been up to her to teach me how to write a basic CV.
Legally you’re able to begin working part time at 13 years old but once I hit 15 my paper round days were over, I wanted more. Each weekend I’d scour the internet and newspapers for part time jobs but CV’s and fancy cover letters aren’t enough anymore believe me. A simple waitressing job application often required 4 references, a year of experience and (if you’re one of the lucky ones) a fun-filled 45 minute ‘values assessment’ full of questions that are answered on the CV you spent ages preparing. As well as this, despite completing the hour long application process, most businesses don’t have the courtesy to inform you of whether you have been successful or not. Not even an automated email. I even tried to physically hand out my CV, whether the business was hiring or not, in the hopes that I’d receive that one email inviting me to an interview. Not once did it work – shout out to all of the stores in my area that ‘put my CV on file’.
In my experience it is due to a ‘lack of experience’… in life I presume as if you are providing the successful applicant with training I don’t see why it should be a problem for someone scanning items at a till. How much experience qualifies you as having enough experience? As well as the usual babysitting that you see on most CV’s, I’ve done admin work for 3 companies, completed work in a café and a restaurant. At 16 years old juggling exams, coursework, homework and obviously attending school, I apparently still have a ‘lack of experience’. Do you see my problem? Adults constantly pressure us to find a job and earn our own money because weekend and summer jobs for students were so seemingly abundant when they were young but the fact of the matter is, things are different now. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills reported in 2012 that the number of teenagers with Saturday jobs has halved since the 1990s to around 20% or 260,000 teens. There’s no doubt in my mind that many of those 260,000 only managed to secure a part- time job because of ‘connections’, you know the :“oh our dog walkers - brothers – friend has a café so I help out in there”; as that’s certainly the case with all of the employed teenagers I know (myself being one of them).
The truth is that trying to find a job whilst studying full time feels like an impossible task and I’m sure most young people can empathise. It is disheartening to constantly be rejected, whether it be due to experience or age, made worse by the attitude of the older generation generalising us as ‘lazy’.