5 Tips to Help Teens in a Challenging Job Market

The job market has always been a competitive place. In today’s society, that’s even more true. Going to college, or university, is a start, but companies look for other things besides a college degree. These days they are searching for someone with an extra edge or skill. It’s almost become essential to have a second language too.

So what can you do to give your teen a toehold in a challenging and rapidly evolving economy? Short of finding the job for them, or Here are a few things that can give a teen an edge for college, and later, in a competitive job market.

Portrait of female student standing in the class and imagining her future job


Standing Out in a Competitive Job Market

College and university degrees are great. They’re the foundation for a good future, but it takes more than a college degree to land a great job. Today a huge portion of the job market has a degree or two. In fact I was recently reading a book about the Jobs Crisis that was eye opening to me as a parent of teens. Employers look for something that makes a candidate stand out. There are things your teen can do to give them an edge in the job market after they graduate college.


Volunteering is a great way to score points with a college and with employers. Volunteering shows an attitude of service and an ability to work well with others. It also shows that an applicant cares about something other than themselves. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities available to your teen if they look around in the community. Check hospitals, nursing homes, local food pantries – anywhere where extra manpower might be appreciated.

Maybe your local area has a volunteer fair. That can be a great way to find a volunteer position that is a good fit for your teen. Also as a side note a great benefit of volunteering can be the networking and connections too. At the start though it’s also about generating experience and references.


I know. This is so played out, but it still holds true. A great GPA in high school translates to a better chance of your teen getting into their college of choice. A great GPA in college shows employers that your young adult knows their stuff and that they were committed to their degree. That can send a message to employers that your recent graduate will be just as committed to their new job.

Connect with an NGO

Connecting with an NGO (non-government organization) is a great way for your teen to gain an edge in the future job market. Much like volunteering, being a part of an NGO shows a commitment to helping others and to something larger than themselves. For an even better boost, your teen should look for an NGO associated with their chosen field if they’ve decided on one. In fact, most things should filter through that lens.

Extracurricular Activities

Not only do extracurricular activities help your teen get into college, they give them an edge in a competitive job market if they remain active through their college years. Just like extracurricular activities show a college that your teen is well rounded, they show potential employers that your graduate is more than just what they learned in college. No matter what job market your child is headed into, they’re always more attractive applicants if they are interesting.

Learn Another Language

The world is more of a melting pot than ever before, so knowing more than one language can be a big leg up in a competitive job market. Even if an employer isn’t actively searching for a bilingual candidate, having that skill could open up other opportunities down the line. It also opens up the job your son or daughter is applying for by showing their potential employer that they have something to offer that others don’t.


The Job Market is a Little Like the Thunderdome

Two (or more) applicants enter. One applicant gets the job. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the job market is no different. If your teen wants to ensure that they’ll have an edge down the line, they need to start thinking about their future now. The five suggestions above are just some of the ways that your teen can ensure they have an edge when they enter the job market later.

This post contains affiliate links as a service to readers. A purchase via one of the links means I receive a commission. 


Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Corina Ramos

    This is great advice Paula. My daughter is in her first year of college and her counselor advised her to volunteer in the field she’s going to earn her degree from, so you’re right when you said volunteering scores points.

    Thanks for sharing. Passing this along. Hope you’re having a great weekend.


    • Paula

      Thanks for reading Corina. My high schooler is starting to volunteer and setting some of the pieces in place for the future we hope.