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Where teens may find jobs this summer

The Associated Press

7:53 PM EST, February 26, 2009

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Summer may be months away, but for teens hoping to find jobs, the time to start looking is now.

Seasonal employers are seeing a larger influx of applicants this year, especially from laid-off workers who are overqualified but willing to take entry-level positions.

That said, there are jobs out there, say career experts. Here are some suggestions on where to look:

Amusement parks

U.S. theme parks will hire close to 500,000 employees for the summer, according to David Mandt, spokesman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. That's about the same number as last year, but there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications, particularly from older workers.

Mandt advises students to be flexible and consider opportunities in less visible departments, such as merchandise, the call center and landscaping and security. He said job seekers need to be friendly and outgoing.

Find opportunities at the parks' Web sites.

Baby sitters

The demand for part-time baby sitters will probably increase this summer because parents are cutting back on full-time caregivers and summer camps, says Genevieve Thiers, CEO of Sittercity.com, which connects parents and caregivers.

Thiers said baby sitters should have experience working with children, good references and a clean record.

"If you drive that's good too. If you do other things like light housework, dog sitting, cooking, that will definitely get you a little more attention," she said.

She recommends that teens find ways to safely display their baby-sitting information, either via online communities, free posting sites, or baby-sitting chat boards, and include information about their skills and experience.

Golf caddies

Golf is holding strong even with the bad economy, says Dennis Cone, founder and CEO of the Professional Caddies Association.

"The baby boomers are now starting to play and they said, 'We want to walk,"' he said. "So I see a bigger future for the caddie comeback ... as long as the resorts can attract folks with great deals."

Danny Cline, general manager and chief operating officer for Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City, Okla., said his club is looking for caddies and people to work in the golf shop, maintain the grounds and organize tournaments and events.

Check out www.PCAhq.com to find out more.

Camps

There is more competition for camp counseling positions this summer, say camp directors.

YMCA of Greater New York started recruiting in November, says Wheaton Griffin, executive director of New York YMCA Camp, which runs a day camp and three sleepaway camps. He's planning to hire 200 counselors for the summer and has seen more applications early on.

Griffin said he is looking for young adults who have leadership skills and experience working with children, whether through coaching or Big Brothers Big Sisters. Students must be able to pass a background check and provide three non-relative references.

Tony Oyenarte, director of the residential Camp Crystal Lake in Starke, Fla., recommends students become certified in life guarding, CPR and First Aid. He said a special skill like sailing or water skiing is also a plus.

Find opportunities at www.campjobs.com or www.acacamps.org

Fast food

Americans may be eating out less, but business is flourishing at McDonald's. The fast food chain said its same-store sales in January rose 7.1 percent worldwide and 5.4 percent in the U.S.

Tough economic times means people are more value-conscious, says Paul Facella, author of "Everything I Know About Business I Learned at McDonald's." Families who were eating at a place like T.G.I. Friday's may take it down a notch to a fast food restaurant, he said.

Facella said fast food positions are generally entry level, which make them ideal for teens. There is also turnover, so opportunities are available, he said.

Russ Bendel, president and CEO of The Habit Burger Grill in California said locations near the beach will increase staff 10 percent for the summer.

"We're looking for people that have an upbeat kind of personality," he said. "They're somewhat outgoing and assertive. They understand what hospitality is. They like to function in a team environment."

Health care

You don't need medical training as a doctor or nurse to work in health care, says Shawn Boyer, CEO of SnagAJob.com.

Places such as Walgreens hire pharmacy technicians to assist licensed pharmacists, with many providing on-the-job training, he said.

He said some home health care companies are looking for people to run errands, do light housekeeping and provide companionship to sick people.

Students can also work as valet parking attendants at health care facilities or in hospital gift shops, he said.

Ice cream shops

Ice cream shop owners don't think the cheap treat to beat the heat will take a hit.

"I think people treat themselves a little more because they may not be doing some of the bigger things they normally do," said Bob Turner, owner of Dairy Corner in Urbana, Ohio, who is anticipating a busier summer than last.

Vince Giordano, owner of Sno Top in Manlius, N.Y., is hiring close to the same number of seasonal employees this year. His shop opens on weekends in mid-March and daily in April.

Giordano says he is looking for teens who are pleasant, enthusiastic and involved in school activities, whether athletics or the National Honor Society. He said involved students generally make better employees than ones who are non-active.

Lifeguards

There is always a need for lifeguards, says Michelle Jantz of the American Red Cross, adding that she hasn't heard of any aquatic centers not opening because of funding.

Many cities are pushing to have their staff hired, trained and ready to go for the big Memorial Day weekend, she said.

Jantz recommends teens (ages 15 and older) contact their local Red Cross to find out about lifeguard training programs in their area. (Lifeguards must pass a swim test before training). The 28-hour course includes CPR/AED and First Aid, water rescue and surveillance skills.

Lifeguards need to be professionals (it's not all fun in the sun, she said) with good communication and customer service skills, she said.

Find your local Red Cross at www.redcross.org. For beach lifeguards, check the bulletin board on www.usla.org.

Movie theaters

So far, 2009 is off to a strong start. Overall revenues for movie ticket sales nationally stand at a $1.5 billion for the year and are running 22.4 percent ahead of 2008 figures, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

Steve Mason, box office analyst and theater owner, predicts summer sequels and franchises, such as "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Terminator Salvation" and "Star Trek" will bolster sales.

"We will absolutely be hiring," said Mason, president of Flagship Theatre Corp in California.

"There is always high turnover in service industry jobs, so we are always looking for the right people, but this summer movie theaters will be jammed and that means a lot of opportunities for high school- and college-aged kids."