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Guide to Teenage Jobs

Updated on February 18, 2013

Lifeguard Job

A lifeguard on duty at a community pool
A lifeguard on duty at a community pool | Source

Job Advice

It doesn’t take an expert to realize that our job market can be a tough nut to crack for a young adult trying to find a job. Prospective employers usually are looking for some kind of experience; if you do not have any it can complicate a job search.

Fortunately our society does offer some positions that allow on the job training or very little, if any, experience for you to be considered.

What can really cause difficulties for a teenager looking for a job is their school schedule. Many high schools are in session, until the middle of the afternoon, limiting the hours that you can actually work. Some states here in the US also restrict how many hours a week teenagers can work, this number usually varies depending on their age as well as other factors.

When the economy as a whole is regressing jobs become difficult to obtain because a larger number of people are competing for the available jobs. For a teenager tough economic times can be incredibly rough because they are vying for jobs against more seasoned candidates who are probably over qualified for the position they have applied for. It can also be a challenge for our young adults because transportation can be a problem too, especilly if you share a vehilce with someone.

If you are a teenager looking for a job don’t fret because jobs are out there for you, you just have to know where to look and be ready to jump on the opportunity when you find it.

Summer Opportunities

Getting a summer job is one of the most common means for many teenagers. With the summer months comes an open schedule with the absence of high school and the responsibilities that go with it like homework.

A typical summer job can be just about anything. It might be as a lifeguard at your local pool or working at an amusement park. Summer jobs don’t have to be limited to seasonal positions either, just see what is available in your local job market for what is being offered.

Student Jobs

Did you have a job when you were a teenager and still in school?

See results

Jobs Finder

Obviously finding a job is one of the primary steps to getting hired but before you go looking for a job it would be a good idea to have some specific things figured out. Many job applications are just a few steps shy of applying for a car loan so be ready to disclose a bunch of information about yourself. Besides the normal name, address, phone number you will need to provide your social security number, any kind of previous job experience, references (mom and dad might not count so talk to a neighbor or another relative), hours and days you can work, etc.

It is a good idea to have this information ready because many prospective employers allow you to fill out the job application right there; personally I would appreciate it if the person looking for a job was prepared to fill it out on the spot because it promptness is a good quality to have in your employees.

Top Job Websites

Times have certainly changed since I was a teenager looking for my first job. I’m not old by any means (unless you ask my kids) but we didn’t have the internet back then. If we wanted a job we looked for help wanted signs or looked at the classifieds in the newspaper. I still remember needing to get more familiar with our local paper because I didn’t know where the classified section was, my normal interest was limited to the sports and comics parts only.

There are more than a couple of websites dedicated to job openings; they are the classifieds of the World Wide Web I guess. Some of these sites are catered to a certain income range or even skill set, as an applicant you just need to search through them to find the ones that apply to you.

There are a few popular websites if you search for them.,, and are just a sampling of the ones out there.

Babysitting for Kids

A popular job for teenagers (especially young ladies) is to be a babysitter
A popular job for teenagers (especially young ladies) is to be a babysitter | Source

Pizza Deliveries

A pizza delivery man on his way to a delivery
A pizza delivery man on his way to a delivery | Source

Local Job Vacancies

When I was a pre-teen I started doing a paper route. For many communities paper routes aren’t available anymore because routes have been consolidated to allow adults to drive them instead of a youngster riding their bike.

For me it is a shame because I learned a lot from my days as a paperboy. I learned that I had a responsibility to get up in the morning and get the papers ready for delivery. If a resident was on vacation I had to remember that, as well as which houses actually wanted the paper. I was also responsible for collecting the monthly fee for receiving the paper.

Sure it wasn’t a glamorous job but I got a chance to understand time management, organizational skills as well as how to be a bookkeeper.

Don’t overlook what your local community has for employment opportunities. See if your local grocery store, pizza place or hardware store is hiring. I never worked fast food but if you are up for it check there too. The point is you have to work a little bit to get work. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find a great job on day one of your search.

Interested in Job

When you do find a job that fits you get that application submitted as promptly as you can. Show them you are serious candidate and you can be trusted. When you turn in the application ask when they are expecting to hire for the position and if it would be OK to follow up with them in a few days. Make sure they clearly understand that you are interested in the position; remember that this is a competition and you are trying to show that you are unique because there could be numerous other applicants.

Tips on Interviews

Getting called in for a job interview is a pretty good feeling, until you realize that you just got called in for an interview. The best thing you can do to prepare for this experience is try to relax and be yourself; maybe you could even do some trial runs with your parents?

Just remember to be yourself; they are interested in learning who you are and if you can be a valuable member to their team. If you try too hard to say or do the right thing it can come across as scripted and the interviewer will probably notice.

Don’t overlook what you wear to the interview; the type of job you are applying for will help direct you to the right clothes to wear. For example if you have an interview at a restaurant for a busboy position I wouldn’t wear jeans and an old rock and roll tee-shirt. Try wearing some Dockers type pants and a polo shirt. It doesn’t have to be fancy but first impressions can really help you leave a lasting mark on your interviewer. If you are applying for a fancier kind of job (one of the players on my son’s high school baseball team had a job at Men’s Warehouse) it would probably be a good move to wear a tie to the interview. When you drop off your application see what the employees are wearing, that will be a great clue to help you determine what to wear to an interview there.

Interview Tips for Teenagers

Your Comfort Zone

For anyone to be efficient at a job you really should enjoy, to some degree, what you are doing. I worked at an independent pizza parlor in high school and I had fun doing it because I liked eating pizza so making them wasn’t a problem for me. I didn’t enjoy starting as a busboy but I knew I had a chance to get promoted to supervisor if I worked hard and after a year or so I got that promotion.

I got another job after my junior year at a batting cage. Being a huge baseball fan this was another fun job for me to have. I had to give change to people wanting to use the cages and to fill them back up as the balls were being pitched. Plus the owner allowed me to take some swings in the cages for free, when we were slow, so that was a great perk.

My point is look in areas where you already have an interest because jobs are not fun if you despise what you are doing. Being a new worker you are really trying to determine what you are capable of contributing to society. You will find that staying in areas that you are already comfortable with will give you a head start and an advantage to becoming successful at what you have been hired to do.

At the Doctors Office

Depending on the illness, a trip to the doctors office might be needed
Depending on the illness, a trip to the doctors office might be needed | Source

Calling in Sick

Another important piece of advice once you get that job, always communicate with your employer when you are too sick to come in or you have a schedule conflict. Give them as much notice that you can when you call in sick; remember you are putting them in a tough spot because they have to find someone to cover your hours. Calling in sick an hour before your shift can really upset an employer.

For scheduling conflicts you can usually switch schedules with a co-worker but being proactive is critical here as well. If you wait to the last minute everyone might already have plans and they can’t cover for you. If you can’t find someone to cover for you then you still have the responsibility to work those hours, having a job can be inconvenient sometimes.

Hard Worker

Remember that you are being paid to do a job, so be like Nike and ‘just do it’. It is likely that you will have a learning curve at first to overcome but after you get familiar with your tasks work hard and do the best you can. Employers appreciate someone who works hard and is trying to do everything they can to contribute.

Chances are they will see your efforts and remember them when raises are possible. It is a great feeling when your boss acknowledges a job well done verbally, as well as adding to the size of your paycheck.


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    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      kittyjj - I 'm glad the timing worked for you. Thanks for voting and good luck getting him that summer job.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Mmargie1966 - I glad the ideas and suggestions came across, hopefully it will help our youth make a positive splash in the job market.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      teaches12345 - We all start somewhere don't we? As always, thanks for your comments.

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Haha, perfect timing. My son just turned 13 in April. I am going to have him to read this hub and hopefully it'll help get him start thinking about summer job next year. Voted up and useful!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Great resources listed in this hub! Thanks for sharing!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Good hub post and it will surely help those teens seeking employment. I remember my first job was babysitting, didn't make much but it taught me a lot about responsibility.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      billybuc - Thanks, it is a fun topic to cover from my days as a teenager and with both or kids there now.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You covered quite a bit of information in one hub; nicely done!