5. Use Your Networks
Ask family and friends, particularly those with a lot of work experience, for help brainstorming job possibilities, Christen suggests. She also recommends students ask former employers if they are hiring. If they aren't, ask them for business contacts to find out about more job openings. Sending a professional-looking email out to others in your network, listing your best skills—and specific areas you'd like to work in—can help with finding a job. Additionally, when applying for a job, always ask to talk to the manager or another employee, to create a connection within the business. "The more you can get to know the people working at the business the better," Christen says.
Networking landed Felix Schapiro, a junior at St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Va., a part-time summer job. He applied for positions at a local grocery store and at a local park, both of which didn't call him back. Then, he contacted a friend's dad who works in an architecture firm in Richmond. As a result, Schapiro will be working part-time at the firm and part-time in an upaid internship with the American Civil Liberties Union.
6. Use Online Job Sites
But networking may not be enough. "The biggest mistake people make when applying for jobs is that they only look in one place," Pollak says. "You've got to cast a wide net." Teens should scour Internet sites such as Craigslist, community bulletin boards, Monster.com, and LinkedIn.com. She advises teens to create LinkedIn accounts, join the student groups on the site, and search for entry-level job openings. She also recommends using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to let your network of friends and family know you are looking for a job.
7. Be Creative and Flexible
Teens don't have to rely on someone else to hire them. They can create their own jobs by becoming entrepreneurs, Pollak notes. Teens can create own their baby-sitting, lawn-mowing, or house-cleaning businesses, and hand out flyers to their friends and neighbors.
Teens insistent upon working at an organization that doesn't have any openings can offer to volunteer there several days a week. That way they could get an early warning about upcoming job openings, Christen says.
[Read more: How to Turn Volunteering Into a Job]
8. Look for Virtual Work
With more jobs moving online in this digital age, students should look for virtual work. Pollak says that students should look particularly on Craigslist, where they can find jobs working from home on a computer doing telemarketing or social media tasks. "A job doesn't necessarily mean going to a place of work," Pollak says. "You have to show your flexibility in the way you look for jobs so people can think creatively about how they could employ you."
9. Prepare to Ace the Job Interview
Mock job interviews are a great way for teens to prepare, counselors say. Both Pollak and Christen recommend practicing with family, friends, and other adults, such as teachers, to get feedback. Also, beause nothing is more important than making a good first impression, stop by the business before an interview to see what people are wearing. Christen recommends applicants show up at an interview dressed at least as well as—and, preferably, better—than the employees. "Overdressed is better than underdressed."
Be sure to be arrive early, bring your résumé, turn off your cellphone, have a strong handshake, and make direct eye contact when meeting the employer. Also, be confident and enthusiastic about the position. "Interviewers make up their mind about hiring in the first 30 seconds, and then spend the rest of the time justifying their decision," Christen says. After the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note in the mail or by E-mail, Pollak says.