7 Fun Ways to Teach Teens Job-Readiness Skills

7 Fun Ways to Teach Teens Job-Readiness Skills

Teen girl working at her job

It’s no secret that we want our teens to be successful and reach their fullest potential. One way we can make this a reality is by adequately preparing our sons and daughters for the real world through helping them learn job-readiness skills.

In fact, teens do need “soft skills” or job-readiness skills to ensure success. These skills are personal characteristics that help teens function individually or within group settings and range anywhere from motivation, confidence, flexibility, teamwork, negotiation, respect, responsibility, and more.

When it comes to teens and working, understanding and using these life skills can make all the difference between thriving and failure. After all, a teen will not have a good experience if they can’t show up on time, speak for themselves, get along well with others, and be respectful.

Thankfully, with a little proactive coaching and guidance, we can ensure our teens have a positive experience and make a good impression.

To prepare teens for the workforce, we have compiled the following list of seven fun activities to teach your teen job-readiness skills:

Practice for interviews.

Help a teen prepare for interviews by talking about the importance of appropriate clothing, sitting properly, good handshakes, powering down their phones, maintaining eye contact, and finally, answering questions. Hold mock interviews and ask common questions that require the teen to talk about himself in a positive light. Many people, just not teens, have a hard time highlighting their strengths and positive attributes.

Teach them etiquette and manners, culminating with a celebratory meal.

Teach kids basic etiquette and manners to help them succeed in any job. Instruct them on the appropriate ways to greet people, maintain eye contact, say “please” and “thank you”, chew with their mouth closed, silence devices during conversations, and more. After mastering basic etiquette, treat the teen to a meal at a nice restaurant to put these skills to work.

Review their digital footprint and social media accounts.

Employers and even colleges are known to check out a potential recruit’s social media and online activity. Recent data shows that 44 percent of Human Resource professionals acknowledge that a person’s public social media profile provides relevant information about how a person will perform on the job and 36 percent of businesses have disqualified someone based solely on their social media profile or an online search. Help your teen by monitoring their social media use in general. Encourage them to clean up their digital footprint to remove any potentially offensive or inappropriate material. Plus, it’s a fun way to revisit memories and stylize our accounts to reflect who we are as a person today.

Listen and repeat.

A needed skill for any employee is to be able to hear and actually listen to their employer. Help teens strengthen their listening skills by playing a game where you carefully listen and then repeat what another person is saying. It takes practice and concentration to clear our minds so we can focus on what our partner is really saying. This one-on-one activity is a great way to develop listening skills, communication, and respect.

Complete a time-management challenge.

Give teens a jump on time-management and critical thinking skills with practice. On a piece of paper, give a list of tasks to finish within 10 minutes. For example, do 25 jumping jacks for 5 points, give nicknames to family members for 15 points, form a conga line around the room for 5 points, and so on. Make sure you list enough tasks that will take more than 10 minutes to complete. Then, encourage your teen to get as many points as possible within 10 minutes. Add up the points and ask about how they made their decisions, determined each task’s value, and what they learned.

Role play using “right way and wrong way” skits.

Choose a skill from the following list: communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, respect, interviews, responsibility, listening, confidence, networking, stress management, presentation skills, patience, and other reasonably necessary job skills. Have them explain and model their skill two ways: once the “right” way and once the “wrong” way. This will help them know what behaviors on the job are social acceptable.

Working together, or in a small group, challenge your teen to a no-hands cup stacking task.

Each person should take one rubber band and tie on several strings. Each person will pick up one of the strings and use this device to pick up cups, move them, and stack them into a pyramid. The trick is to pull the rubber band apart and then allow it to come back together over the cups. Encourage your teen to communicate and keep working until you have completed the challenge.

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