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Teen Jobs - Job Hunting Tips for Teens

Updated on February 8, 2012
Teens can get paying jobs!
Teens can get paying jobs! | Source

Teen Jobs

Teens face challenges in finding paid employment. Age, lack of experience and time availability affect whether or not certain job opportunities will be open to them.

Some employers would love to hire beginners. Beginners are less expensive to employ and can be trained to do the job a specific way. Many employers are not able to do so, though, because they need an employee who can work full time.

Depending on their age, labor laws may restrict the hours a young person can work and keeping a school schedule limits their hours of availability.

Teens Can Find Paying Jobs!

There is hope. Many teenagers do find paying work and you can, too.

How old do you have to be? According to the US Dept of Labor young people cannot work unless they are at least 14 years of age and the hours are limited until they reach 16 years old. These regulations may vary a bit according to the type of work it may be and the state the teen lives in. Minors are prohibited from working in jobs that are considered to be hazardous.

Children at any age may get paid working for their family’s business, as a paperboy/girl, a paid actor/actress, babysitting or doing small chores at someone’s private residence.

Hours Teens Can Work

National Standards:

Age 14-15: 7am – 7pm The day after Labor Day until May 31. Teens can work up to 9pm June 1-Labor Day. Labor Day is the first Monday in September. During school you can work a total of 18 hours, maximum of 3 hours per school day and 8 hours on a non-school day.

When school is not in session for the week, these teens can work up to 40 hours.

Age 16 or older: no restrictions except that it must a non-hazardous job.*

*Hazardous jobs would include jobs that require the use of motor vehicles, chemicals, power tools & powered equipment, explosives, mining, roofing, etc. Individual states may have their own restrictions in addition to the above.

Working Papers

Young people may need employment certificates –“working papers”- before they can apply for a job. Some states require them for teens under 16. Other states may require it up to 18 years of age. Check with your high school guidance counselor, city or town hall for information on the guidelines and how to get them.

Bring with you:

Proof of age: original birth certificate, current driver’s license with photo ID, or your passport.

Doctors' Note: A written statement will be needed from your doctor’s office stating that you are healthy enough to work.

What Jobs Can Teens Do?

There are lots of places that will hire teenagers. Here are some ideas:

  • Animal Shelter
  • Babysitter
  • Barn Assistant (horse farms)
  • Car Wash
  • Computer (troubleshooter/technician)
  • Dog Sitter
  • Dog Walker
  • Fast Foods
  • Furniture Store / Appliance Store deliveries
  • Housesitter
  • Pizza Deliveries
  • Restaurants
  • Retail Fashions
  • Start Your Own Business!

Seasonal Businesses:

  • Amusement Parks
  • Camp Counselor
  • House Painting
  • Lawn Care & Gardening
  • Lifeguard
  • Snow Shoveling
  • Zoos

How To Get A Job

Be pro-active in your search. Check out the business online, first. Learn a little bit about them. Show up in person and ask to complete an application.

Though you may not have a lot of employment experience, you may want to put together a brief resume expounding upon your credentials in unpaid leadership.

  • Are you the president of the student council?
  • Captain of the football team?
  • Top of your class academically?
  • Have you helped as a teachers' aid or in the school office?

These milestones can spell out the kind of employee you might be. If the business does not have a written application, ask if you can leave your resume.

Come dressed for an on-the-spot interview. Even if you don’t meet the boss, a savvy administrative assistant may tell the boss that you are worthy of a closer look!

About the Author...

Sinea Pies is a former high school guidance counselor, a freelance writer for a popular parenting magazine and blogger on Ducks 'n a Row. Please feel free to leave a comment or subscribe to her RSS feed to be updated on new hubs and articles that she publishes. Click for more: Sinea's profile


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  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much for the vote up, tillsontitan.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

    It is such a difficult time for anyone to find a job right now and you have made some excellent points for teens. Hope some teens get to read this and profit from your experience. Voted up.

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks for the vote UP and Useful, alocsin. You know, I hadn't given my target audience deep thought but you're right. Adults with teens in their lives (parents, grandparents, teachers, friends) and the teens themselves all could find something valuable here. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I actually had my first job when I was about 14, delivering papers, so I heartily endorse teen work. Hope your target audience reads this. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks stars439. Blessings to you as well!

  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Wonderful hub. God Bless You.

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Donna for the nice compliment and the vote UP!

  • DonnaCosmato profile image

    Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

    Excellent essential guide for teens (or parents of teens) looking for a job in this tough economy. Kudos and voted up!

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks The Finance Hub. Glad you like it and thanks for the vote UP! Actually, I do enjoy reading your hubs.

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks roxanne459. It is a little scary...but you'll make it! :)

  • roxanne459 profile image

    Roxanne Lewis 6 years ago from Washington

    Very informative! I have a 15 year old step-daughter who is begining this journey now. It's a little scary and super exciting all at once. :)