Checklist: Finding a first job that fits your teen

By Peg Rosen

Expert reviewed by Jim Rein, MA

Landing that first job can be a major confidence boost for teens with learning and thinking differences. It says, “I believe in you and value your efforts!” But as empowering as a good experience can be, a bad match can be a blow to your teen’s self-esteem. It may even keep your child from looking for another job. This list can help you make sure the fit is right.

The position

  • The job is realistic.
  • The duties are suited to my child.
  • My teen likes or is interested in the job.
  • The job is one where my teen is likely to stay focused and on task.
  • There is the right amount of variety to the job.
  • The job plays to my teen’s strengths.
  • The schedule works with my teen’s academics and outside activities.

The workplace

  • The boss or supervisor is patient and friendly.
  • The company or boss knows about my teen’s learning and thinking differences and is accommodating.
  • The boss is willing to find ways for my child to work around more challenging tasks.
  • The physical environment is a good match.
  • There is sufficient structure in the job.
  • My teen has a clear list of responsibilities.
  • The social demands of the job suit my teen.

The payoff

  • My teen is likely to gain confidence and self-esteem from this job.
  • The job gives my child a chance to be empowered and successful.
  • The job is a good first step on my child’s career path.

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