Tough Market For Summer Job Seekers

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(Host) Vermont’s unemployment rate is just under six percent, which is a full point lower than last year at this time.   

But many Vermonters are still without a job. And that’s making it tougher for teenagers who are often starting their search for a summer job.  

VPR’s Nina Keck has more.

(Keck) Lucia Boatman is an employer resource consultant with the Vermont Department of Labor in Rutland.  

She says there are seasonal jobs in Rutland County for teens. But she says it’s definitely more competitive to get them.

(Boatman) "For those who have been looking for some time it is very frustrating. And the challenge is now we don’t only have the people who are unemployed and receiving unemployment, or now off of unemployment, who are still unable to find work. But now we have those college kids and high school kids."

(Keck) Boatman’s advice to teens: make sure you have a polished resume; fill out all applications thoroughly; and spend time networking.

Christine Dickinson, who works for the Department of Labor in Bennington, agrees.  

She says their office holds monthly workshops for anyone over 14 to help with resume writing and networking. Dickinson says teens also need to remember first impressions matter.

(Dickinson) "You shouldn’t wear jeans, for example. Or you shouldn’t wear your sneakers. You should wear something presentable. And they kind of look at you like, ‘What do you mean? Why can’t I just wear what I have on and just walk in with my baseball cap?’"

(Keck) Dickinson says employers want to know that the person they hire will be on time, work well with others and do their best.   

She says teens who don’t have previous job experience can still showcase those skills with other activities they’ve been involved with like scouting, school sports, or a local club.  

If you still can’t find a paid job this summer, Lucia Boatman says consider volunteering.

(Boatman) "Volunteering is so, so important when you’re building skills and you’re building your resume and you’re building your contacts and networking. Those volunteer positions – maybe this summer you’re not getting paid, but perhaps when you come home from winter break or next summer they may have a paid position for you."

(Keck) As a volunteer, Boatman says, you’ll be the first to hear about new jobs that may come along in affiliated organizations.   Plus she says, you’ll likely get a great letter of recommendation.   

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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