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Jobs for Teens

Job Search Tips for Teens


Teenage waitress (15-17) using computer at restaurant counter, side view
Inti St. Clair / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Are you a teen looking for a job? Here are some tips to help you get going on your search for teen jobs.

Teen Job Search Guide
Information on jobs for teens, including how to find a job, where to get working papers, where teens can work, what to wear for an interview, and how to obtain references.

Jobs for High School Students
Here's information on the types of jobs available for high school students, how to find and apply for jobs, how to write a resume, sample resumes and cover letters for students, plus job search advice and tips.

Child Labor Laws
There are laws restricting when you can work and what you can do. Teens hired for nonagricultural employment (which is just about everything other than farm work) must be at least fourteen.

Other restrictions also apply:

  • Ages 14 and 15: During the school year, hours are limited to 3 hours a day and 18 hours a week. On days when there's no school and in the summer, working hours increase to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. There are limits on when you can work, too - no later than 7 p.m. during the school year and no later than 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.

  • Ages 16 and 17: There's no limit on hours, but, if you're under 18 you can't work in a job that the Labor Department considers hazardous.

Working Papers (Employment / Age Certificates)
In some states, if you're under eighteen, you may need to obtain working papers (officially called Employment/Age Certificates) in order to legally be able to work. You may be able to get the form at school. Otherwise, you can get one at your state Department of Labor. Check the Employment/Age Certification list to see which guidelines apply to you. If it's school, check with your Guidance Office. If it's the Department of Labor, check with your state office. Some states, like New York, for example, have special sections of their web sites on Youth Jobs, which will give you the information you need.

Dream Jobs - or Not!
Once you've got the paperwork in order, consider what you would like to do. Are you interested in working with little kids? Take a look at after-school programs, child care centers, or summer camp jobs. How about working on the beach or the ski slopes, at a park, in the mountains, or at another outdoor job? Consider a job at a museum, a hospital, at a zoo, or at some other organization related to your career aspirations. Here is a list of teen job options. The jobs you have during high school will give you some idea of what you might want to do later on. They also might give you an idea about some jobs you absolutely don't want to do!

Finding a Job
Check with your high school Guidance Office and ask how they can assist with your job search. They may have postings for local businesses, for babysitting or for other part-time positions.

Next, tell everyone you know that you're looking for work. Speak with teachers, family, coaches, friends, parents of friends - anyone and everyone you can think of - and ask for help. Most jobs are found through referrals and people you know are often happy to assist.

How about starting your own business? Consider your own skills and interests as well as the needs of the local economy where you will be spending your summer. Possible ventures include babysitting, lawn mowing, house painting, designing and marketing T-shirts, caring for pets while people are on vacation, car detailing, etc.

Here are some more teen job search tips that will help you find a job - fast!

Online Job Searching
Start your online job search by visiting the sites that focus on teen job opportunities. Searching Snagajob.com, for example, by type of position and location will generate a list of openings. There's also a list of national employers that hire part-time workers. Check the part-time job sites as well. That way, you will review a broad spectrum of potential opportunities and you'll be able to decide what sounds most interesting to you.

Employers in fields like retail and hospitality often are very interested in hiring teens and are willing to provide training. Search by the category of employment you're interested in. This will generate some more leads.These types of employers often don't advertise, so check with the stores or restaurants in your town to see if they have openings.

Don't forget to check the local jobs sites for your city or state, as well as the Employment Services job listings and the Help Wanted ads in your newspaper. Small local papers like The Pennysaver usually have listings too.

Teen Job Interviews
Next, make sure you dress appropriately, are ready to complete an application, and are prepared for an on-the-spot interview.

Before you head out to your interviews, review these student job interview questions and samples answers, so you are ready to respond to the interviewer.

Teen Job Search Articles and Advice

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