Worst Teen Job Search Dangers To Avoid
How To Be Wiser Than Your Years For Money
I hadn't seen one of those in a long time – a teen job search. The boy showed up at my door, clipboard in hand, unannounced and unafraid.
He was about 14 and trying to sell me a subscription to a handful of inferior local newspapers that nobody wants.
He said the most honest words I've heard from the lips of a youth all year.
That sure got my attention.
Here's a kid telling me his product sucks. But he's still trying to sell it to me.
So I listened.
Well, so far I've heard nothing useful to me. He's not focusing on me as a possible customer. He is focusing on himself and his own needs.
But he's young. So I'm cutting him slack. I keep listening.
"Then 15 days from now, even if you don't like the newspaper, you can cancel your subscription without any problem.
"I know I'm young. I'm only starting my sophomore year. But I really want to go to college to learn business."
You Don't Always Need To Look Your Part But...Now, let me tell you something. I don't live in the best of neighborhoods. You make some sacrifices in life when you both homeschool your kids and want to live debt free, especially in California.
So my wife and I sacrificed getting a mortgage to rent cheaply while my kids became adults.
This young man was canvassing down some pretty "interesting" streets around my block, let me tell you.
Also he didn't quite fit the "local tribe profile", if you know what I mean.
So the little guy has moxie! I respect that.
I had 1 of 2 messages to share with Alex. I knew I could only share 1, because only 1 would stick. If he visited again, I might nail the second one. But his return to my block was unlikely.
So I chose to share one point that would hit his pocket book immediately, since that's where his motivation was.
I took $10 and showed it to him and said:
"In life you make sacrifices. You give up something good for something better.
"So, despite my degrees, I chose to live in this neighborhood to make it affordable for me to keep my kids from going to government schools. Why? Because public school kills initiative..."
I handed him the $10 and continued.
"So I'm giving you twice what you would earn in commission for selling me a product that, in good conscious, I cannot buy from you because I don't believe in it. So, this money is yours to keep. But...
"I'm doing this to keep you focused on your goal. Just one thing: don't make that goal college."
His eyes widened.
...Your Part Needs To Suit You
Now his eyes really got big.
"Do you know how much he's paid for those 3 years of college so far? Less than $3,000 and he did it all while still a teenager, on his own time through the Internet, while working a full-time job and setting up some online businesses with me."
My son stepped forward and said:
"For another $7,500 this university will permit me to take my remaining courses with them, so that I can get my BA also in business. I can get that done in less than 6 months if I wanted.
"But more important than a Bachelor's degree is that I will have experience doing what I'm studying long before I even finish my program. And I won't owe a penny to anybody when I'm done."
I took it from there and closed by saying:
Then I told him of a reliable place online to visit to get more information about it.
"Keep being entrepreneurial. Keep learning how to sell and how to market."
With that he gave me a big smile and, extending his hand to us, he said "Thank you both!"
I'm sure this is one $10 tip Alex won't soon forget.
And why not? I still remember my paper route customers who tipped handsomely back in the days when delivering newspapers at 5 in the morning was safe for a 14 year-old to do also here in California.
The Worst Two Dangers Of Your Teen Job SearchBut now let me tell you the second message that I couldn't nail into Alex unless he came back again. It has to do with his teen job search.
For, you see, in his teen job search Alex was looking for the job of salesman and, like I said earlier, I've not seen a teenage salesman in a long time, much less a real competent one.
Every teenager who wants a job is engaged in a teen job search. And every teenager involved in a teen job search, whether it's understood or not, is looking for a job in sales first and foremost.
The teenager's first job is in sales because, unless the teenager is able to do some effective selling and pitch worthwhile reasons for getting hired, there won't be success in the actual teen job search.
The teen job search has one major peril. The peril isn't like Alex's case, where he was walking dangerous streets. That's actually easy to fix. Just pick a different neighborhood.
The major peril in a teen job search is not knowing how to market and how to sell anything, starting with marketing and selling yourself.
Next to that is expecting you to learn this skill from some public school bureaucrat. This is something that Alex suffered from. And no amount of chutzpa could have made up for Alex's most serious error, which he committed the moment he first spoke to me after catching my attention knocking on my door.
You'll remember that I said that Alex focused on his own needs from the very beginning. "... I'm in this program that will permit me to gain 15 points toward a fund that will help pay for my college education," he told me.
Well, it may sound a little crass, but how do I benefit from Alex getting 15 points out of my having paid $60 for 6 months worth of newsprint that will always arrives 1 day later than the news that I read online?
Even Alex understood this, which is why he was making apologies about his product without me even having said a word to him about the uselessness of newspapers.
But nobody had told him in his teen job search how to pitch benefits, even if the product is a hard sell. This ignorance is terribly damaging to a teenager in a teen job search.
Don't let it happen to you!
A focus on benefits is the most crucial skill that you must develop to make your teen job search a success, once you've figured out who to talk to and where to do it.
If you get out of your shell while you're young and face all those intimidating grown-ups out there, don't blow it by focusing on your own needs.
Ask them questions first. What are they in need of? What do they care about? Can you give them what they want and so benefit them? If you do this, you will have eliminated the biggest peril in your teen job search, because they'll hire you.
Return to Job Search Websites Don't Work from Worst Teen Job Search Dangers To Avoid
- A Job Search For Teenagers Who Really Mean Business
- A Student Job Search Lesson To Last You A Lifetime
- A College Grad Job Search That Succeeds In Troubled Times
What Ideas Can You Share About How To Serve Your Local Community?
There is always something to do in your community for an enterprising teenager. But it's not always plain to see what it is.
What experiences can you share with others your age about what you've accomplished for your neighbors?
Have you profited from those services? If so, how?