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Things Teens Can Do This Summer to Boost Skills & Earning Potential

For many teens, Summer Break can mean a very simple plan: sleep in, play on their phones, hang out with friends and stay up late. If you're a teen or if you know a teen who wants to break from the norm and do something this summer that will increase his/her future earning potential, here are a few helpful activity ideas:

1.   Master a Piece of Software

Whatever job your teenager will hold in the future, it will almost certainly involve a computer. Learning to use a common piece of software can provide a major lift when it comes time to finding a job. For many employers, it’s important for their employees to be fluent in the latest computer software programs. This can separate an individual from the other seemingly-similar, competing applicants when entering the work force.

Look to programs with clear business applications. The Microsoft Office suite, especially programs like Excel and Access, are good first steps. If cost is an issue, consider experimenting with Google’s Docs, Sheets and Forms. These are free and cloud-based, so you can keep using them on your smartphone when you hit the road. In addition, skills using graphics programs like Abode Premiere or Adobe Photoshop and web publishing software like WordPress are always in demand.

2.   Improve Your Writing Skills

For many jobs, the ability to effectively communicate in writing is vitally important. Like any other skill, you will get better at this the more you practice it. The only way to become a better writer is to write!

It matters less what you write than the fact that you’re writing. You can try your hand at blogging.  You will find many sites to help you learn to blog, such as Facebook’s Learn to Blog pages.  There are also many websites offering tips and videos on how to improve your writing skills.  Improving your ability to write will help with future job searches and help make your college application essays stand out from the crowd. Just write, edit and write some more!

3.   Learn a Foreign Language

We live in a global society. Whether you want to go into sales, machinery, medicine or anything in between, someone in your industry is going to be translating between foreign-language speakers and English-speakers. That person may be offered a nice salary, due to this unique ability to translate and understand another language.  While the exact numbers on the pay 'bump' you may get from speaking a foreign language are murky, experts estimate an hourly increase of between 5% and 20%! Having a second language skill makes you a viable candidate across a wide spectrum of new job opportunities. There are many YouTube tutorials on syntax, grammar, and expressions in other languages, as well as online classes and websites that offer information on how to learn a new language. If you don’t know where to start, sites like Busuu and Duolingo may be good jumping-off points.

Encouraging teens to spend their summer learning new skills will better prepare them for life's next steps.

 *TTCU does not endorse or make any warranty, expressed or implied, regarding any of the websites and/or apps mentioned above.