Teens on the Hunt for Summer Employment

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RENO, Nev. -- The job market seems to be improving nationwide and in Nevada, but for teenagers looking to gain work experience this summer, it still looks bleak. For those vying for their first job, it may be a little late in the game, but local employers say there's still hope.

"You ask a kid oh how their summer's going and most of the time they say, 'It's boring, there's nothing to do!'" Wild Waters Director of Operations Joe Frock said.

Boredom is one of the driving factors leading many teens to take a shot at employment, but it won't be easy.

"A skilled worker is willing to take a lesser job," Frock said. "Sometimes that takes away from entry level jobs that kids can get."

According to the Bureau of Labor, teen unemployment in Nevada is 25.6%, which is more than triple the nation's jobless rate of 7.6%.

Luckily for 16-year-old Chloe Chism, she landed her first job on the first try.

"I was very persistent with keeping in touch with [the manager] and always being polite and calling," she said.

Chism wanted to work in retail because she loves clothes and says having work experience will look good on college applications.

"If they see that you get a job at a young age, then they know that you set high goals for yourself and you're a go-getter," she said. "I was just really scared I was going to be overlooked because it was my first job. "

However, many employers say they aren't necessarily looking for experience, but attitude.

"Teens expect things to just come their way; they don't try their hardest to get what they need," Sara Engebretson, Plato's Closet manager, said. "We've found that hiring people looking for their first job are more apt to wanting to listen and learn things; they're not stuck in their ways."

Schools in Washoe County will start the academic year a little earlier this year, August 12. The shortened summer will make it harder for teens to find jobs.

"It feels so good, especially once you get your first paycheck. It's like 'oh my gosh yes,'" Chism said. "All your hard work definitely pays off and it feels really good to have your first job and to know that you are on your way."

Experts say 80% of jobs go unlisted, so the best thing to do is brush up your networking skills. Instead of talking about yourself to a potential employer, have a conversation with them and see how you can support their needs.

Chism did just that. She started applying for summer employment in March and was hired almost instantly. She says she let her personality speak for itself.

"Working somewhere is better than working nowhere."