The unemployment rate among teens now stands at a dismal 24.5%, nearly three times the national rate of 8.8%. And a year ago at this time, the teen jobless rate was a little higher at 25.4%, so not much of a change over the past year. The competition is fierce. Given the unstable economic times and rising costs of college, the need for students to work and earn money for college expenses is very high. Luckily, there are several strategies that young people can use to revive their job search.
In the new world of social media, Twitter and Facebook are valuable resources for finding jobs and internships. Some 300-500 jobs are posted on Twitter every minute according to TweetAJob.com. Also, visit TwitJobSearch.com to search for jobs that were "tweeted" on Twitter from major firms.
As for Facebook, send a message to all of your friends and inform them that you are looking for a job/internship. You never know what connections other people may have that could lead to an employment opportunity.
After you apply for internships and jobs on the company's website, use LinkedIn.com to find the name of the recruiter at the company -- send a follow-up email to this person, expressing your interest in the position. This will show strength and a proactive attitude to employers.
Without following up, you run the risk of having your application unnoticed or even lost by the recruiter. Sending an email directly to the decision maker causes you to stand out.
There's Always Hope
If you can't find a job, start a business! Turn your passion into a business. If you like to cook, start a cooking blog/website where you can earn money from advertisements and potentially from writing guest blog posts for larger sites. Fees for hosting a website can cost little as $5 per month! This happened to me two years ago -- I couldn't find a paying job due to the recession and I always wanted to start a personal finance website. I figured that was the perfect time to start HelpSaveMyDollars.com. I look back now and think; maybe it was a good thing that I couldn't find a paying job at that time.
If not a web-based business, think of a service you could provide for other residents in your neighborhood -- maybe it's lawn service, car washing or dog-walking -- be creative and don't be shy!
Your School or College Can Help
Many colleges and high schools hold career fair events. Bring your resume to the fair and meet recruiters from different companies. Make sure you get their business card or contact information to send a "thank you" note afterward. Also, schools tend to have career fairs for different majors, as opposed to one general fair. Attend all types of career fairs to ensure that you are being exposed to as many opportunities as possible.
Additionally, if your school has a career office, set up an appointment with a career counselor. Bring your resume and allow them to critique it. Share your career goals and seek advice from them.
You must be willing to work for free. Even if an internship is unpaid, you're there for the learning experience and to meet people in work force. Also, an unpaid internship may lead to a full time job after college. For unpaid internships, many companies will require you to receive college credit, which may save you money in tuition in the future. There's something to be said about working for free -- it shows dedication and the willingness to learn.
Remember, you're only looking for one job. Don't let the poor unemployment statistics discourage you. There are job opportunities out there -- it's up to you to find them!
Scott Gamm is a student at NYU's Stern School of Business and founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com. He has appeared on NBC's TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Fox News, ABC News and CBS.
Check out Scott's recent interview with MSNBC's Alex Witt regarding jobs and unemployment: