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Work Options: Jobs for 16 Year Olds

Updated on July 1, 2014
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You just learned how to drive, you are only a couple of years away from graduating high school, and now it’s time to look for a job so you can buy the things you really want. Finding a job as a 16-year-old used to be a lot easier because the economy was flourishing. Unfortunately, it seems that even the smallest jobs are becoming competitive because people simply can’t find work.

With that being said, there are plenty of jobs for 16-year-olds that you can get if you market yourself appropriately and put in the time to submit a strong application. One of the worst mistakes you can do is rush through an application and misspell something and/or leave sections blank. If you are truly interested in a job, show it through your initial response! To help you get started on your search, check out the following positions that you could qualify for:

Front Desk Attendant at a Gym or Community Center

If you are interested in building customer service skills and are good at interacting with people, then working as a front desk attendant at a gym or community center is a great job for a 16-year-old to apply for. Community center jobs are often posted through each city government’s website under the Parks and Recreation department. For example, there was a community center attendant position open when I was in high school that required monitoring the facility, putting away equipment, and answering questions from the customers. The work was part-time and took place in the evenings which was a great fit for high school students.

You may also want to look into local gyms and apply for a position as a member representative. In this position, you manage the front desk, answer the phone, and perform various other duties. If you have an interest in working out, this could be a great job to help you learn about how a gym operates. This position could also be a good starting point for anyone who wishes to go into selling gym memberships or being a sales representative elsewhere.

Camp Counselor

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Camp counselors jobs are great for 16-year-olds because they allow you to build valuable leadership skills while also having fun. Some summer camps are residential, meaning the kids stay overnight, whereas others only take place during the day. If you choose a residential position, be ready to stay on the campsite for an extended period of time. You will most likely be sharing a cabin with other staff and kids, so make sure you are comfortable with not having much privacy for an extended period of time.

These positions are typically full-time, temporary positions meaning that you work 40 hours per week for the summer hours, but you don’t receive any of the normal benefits that would come with a full-time position (i.e. medical benefits, paid time off). Read all of the details of each position before applying! You may discover that you get paid less at a residential camp because they include room, board, and food.

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Yard Work

If you don’t mind getting a little sweaty and dirty, then performing yard work is a great job for 16-year-olds because it can be done prior to the school day or it can turn into a full-time summer job. In this position, you may be asked to mow longs, weed whack, pull weeds, and/or water plants. If you work for an employer, they will most likely provide you with all of the equipment you need.

There is the option of starting your own yard work business if you can’t find anyone in your area hiring. To do so, you need to be assertive and ask your neighbors, church members, or family friends if you could do any work for them. Before you approach anyone, decide how much you want to charge for each service (but be reasonable) and make sure you know what hours you are available to work. Note: You may need to have your own equipment if you go out on your own.

Child Care Attendant or After School Leader

Positions that involve working with children are great jobs for 16-year-olds because they allow you to bring out your inner child while also learning responsibility. Depending on the age of the children you work with, you may be required to change diapers, create lesson plans, organize large group games, or simply talk with the children. The YMCA offers this position at almost all of their locations. You will find that the hours are typically part-time and require some evening and weekend hours.

Another great option is becoming a leader at an after school program. These often take place Monday through Friday at an area elementary school and last until about 6 p.m. or so. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the YMCA, and schools themselves often have these programs available to children who have parents that work later. Although postings can be found throughout the year, you will find that an influx of postings go up within a month of school starting. Be prepared to plan activities, help with homework, and participate in theme days if you apply for this type of position.

If you want to do your own thing, post a profile on Care.com, Sittercity, or another reputable site that allows you to search for private babysitting jobs. You could also ask any neighbors with kids if they would like to go on a date night while you watch their children. Make sure you explain why you are right for the job and what activities you could do. Remember, parents can be protective of their children so building trust is absolutely crucial.

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Retail

With tons of stores to choose from, finding a retail job may be the easiest route if you are willing to have more flexible hours. Whether you want to work at the mall, at a larger store like Target, or a specialty store, you have plenty of choices. Some stores post their available jobs online whereas others require you to go into the store and ask for an application. If you do apply in-person, make sure you dress appropriately.

Desired Work Field
Keywords to Use in Search
Office
typing, office, receptionist, front desk, customer service, representative
Children/Youth
child, youth, after school, day camp, activity assistant, babysitter
Retail
customer service, research, sales representative, clerk
Manual Labor
labor, yard work, machinery
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Office Work

This may be a bit harder to get into, but there is a chance that you could a job as a filer, receptionist, or basic office assistant. Make sure you are comfortable with answering phones, directing calls, and working with computers. You may be required to take a filing test and typing test prior to interviewing. Every employer is going to have different requirements, so you may have to do some digging before you find a position that sticks out to you.

If you enjoy doing office jobs as a 16-year-old, then you could turn it into a career by becoming an administrative assistant or office manager. These positions typically require at least a few years of experience and exceptional customer service skills. Accuracy and attention to detail are crucial!

Put Yourself Out There

Don’t let the job searching process intimidate you – if something doesn’t work out, then move on. Eventually, the right job will come! Be persistent, showcase your skills effectively on your resume, and make sure you dress the part. Best of luck in your job search!

Looking Good for the Interview

  • Slacks or dress pants
  • A nice top with no graphics (make sure it is modest ladies)
  • Natural makeup
  • Washed and combed hair
  • Remove any extra piercings you have that are visible
  • Appropriate shoes (use your best judgment – flip flops, sneakers, and ridiculously tall high heels probably aren’t the best options)

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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Loved this hub.

      I apologize for taking so long in getting back to comment on this professionally-written hub. Very useful information.

      Thanks a million for sharing for I know a 16-year-old who is now working and she must have read your work.

      Cudo's to you.

      Keep in touch.

    • NikaWest profile image

      NikaWest 20 months ago from Sunny Florida

      What country do you live in? 16 is legal in the U.S. 15 in some cases.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      here only 17 years old are ready to work, 16 is illegal to employ.