Teen job seekers complain of tough market, but recruiters tell teens to look for entry-level work

PHOENIX - For months, Phoenix high school graduate Dairyon Lewis has been on the hunt for a job. She’s applied to dozens of different places with no luck.

“It’s hard,” said Lewis, who graduated from Cesar Chavez High School in 2013. “I’ve been applying for so many jobs and no calls back.”

It’s the same story for ASU engineering student Matthew Scribner, who is looking for a part-time job to help pay tuition.

“You think you’ll get them right away but it really takes time and patience,” he said.

Localwork.com founder Ryan Naylor provides a job database for teens and adults in the Phoenix area. He says now is not the time to be picky.

“You might need to take an entry level job,” said Naylor. “Maybe not what you wanted when you graduate, but it gets you that experience to advance internally inside the company.”

The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey shows that only 11 percent of 2014 graduates have secured a job, compared to 16 percent of 2013 graduates by this time last year.

Naylor tells young job seekers to build up that resume, even if it doesn’t mean a paycheck right away.

“Go get some volunteer experience. Go into the community, find a non-profit, or even some sports groups, find a way to show leadership,” said Naylor.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate for teenage workers is 29.4 percent. Naylor says part of the reason is because the older generations are taking those entry level jobs, and working longer than ever before.

“I think a lot of people give up,” said Lewis. “A lot of people my age [say] ‘I’ll just wait until something comes to me.’”

“It’s kind of humbling,” said Matthew Scribner. “You have to kind of start from the bottom and work your way up before you can really do what you want to do.”

For a list of upcoming job fairs or job availability, check out localwork.com.

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