It's not easy being a job-seeking teen in this economy especially when the unforseeable future seems equally grim ["Summer job market: Hard times," News, June 6]. When today's 17-year-olds are competing with seasoned 50-year-olds for part-time jobs at the mall, it might be time to rethink the game plan.

Young people should assess their skills and interests to determine where their marketable skills might lie. Computer savvy? Tutor newbies on setting up a Facebook page or selling on eBay. Love kids? Produce children's birthday parties. Crazy for animals? Start a dog-walking service. Crafty? Set up a shop on

Also, don't discount the value of volunteering. The time spent at a local charity translates to impressive experience on a college application, and the new contacts made with fellow do-gooders will only widen your networking circle.

Laurence P. Mitchell, Manhattan