Tips to Help Your Teenager Get a Job (Clue: Stay Away!)

My husband’s workspace is busy so he’s hiring. It falls to me to field enquiry phone calls and sort through resumes, I’m at the computer anyway and I’m pretty good at discerning proverbial wheat from the chaff. Out of twenty potential applicants, four phone calls are from parents sussing out the job on behalf of their 16 or 17 year old. And it makes us wonder:

If you don’t trust your teenage child to execute a simple phone call how can they be trusted to perform the job?

Are these the same teenagers who we’re expecting to make good decisions and judgements on our roads with their L or P plates?

I understand parents feel they’re more phone-savvy than their kids and ‘know exactly what to ask’. That’s great because I’ve been interviewing people over the phone for articles and research for a decade and I still don’t get it right. There’s always 10 questions I forgot to ask that I think of when I hang up. It’s just life. It’s not a great look to call on their behalf.

I hate the phone, always have. Just last week I made myself a ‘spearmint essential oil’ blend for confident speech. There are times when we just have to suck it up and pick up the phone.

Courtesy of Lewis Howes- inspiring us all to push through personal fears.

General Rule of Thumb for Parents

  1. Unless you’re planning on holding their hand at work, let them make their own phone calls to enquire for work.
  2. Let them write their own resume. By all means, look over it, edit it, make further suggestions. Or email me for my hourly rate (  I’ll fix it up for them and what’s more I’ll explain the basics so they learn from it.

Boy, have I seen some shocking resumes!

3. Let them make mistakes, them them bumble and bluster through a phone call and forgot what to ask. We’ve all been there. It’s admirable they’re calling up, it shows initiative and willingness to work.  No-one is expecting barrister-savvy interview skills. Just a polite phone call to get more details about the job and to learn where to email the CV.

4. Role play the phone call with them, if it helps. Give them suggestions if it helps. Just        let them make the call themselves.

I might have a vivid imagination… but when you call on behalf of your 16 year old I’m picturing they’re lying in bed in the background smoking a bong and watching Cheech and Chong reruns.

Thanks but no thanks.



1 Comment

  1. Great advice, Word Weaving Writer! My husband and I just watched a young man arrive at a super busy restaurant to drop off his resume at noon.
    A simple phone call to ask when the best time is to catch the manager would have meant he arrived at a more convenient time and would not have annoyed the most senior staff member in the place. Pretty sure that resume is making its way to the bin.
    Not to mention arriving at noon doesn’t bode well for the Early Bird award.


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