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Job Search Tips for Teenagers

Exploring Options and Finding Teen Jobs


two young women sitting in an office
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A teen job search includes several steps. A teen will first need to explore options and decide what type of job they are interested in. The next step is to get working papers, if necessary, and to learn how to fill out a job application or write a resume. Then it will be time to start a job search.

Before You Start a Teen Job Search

Before you start looking for a job, it is important to take some time to decide what you want to do. Even though you may not have experience, there are a variety of positions available for teens.

For example, if you love animals, check with local veterinarians to see if they are hiring. If you'd prefer working with children, check with your local YMCA (many have after-school child care programs and summer camps) or child care centers. Fast food restaurants and retail establishments rely on workers without experience and are willing to train new employees. Local libraries often hire teens to help put away books. During the summer, amusement parks and summer camps offer a variety of summer jobs for teens.

Take some time to explore options. Keep in mind that your first few jobs will provide a good opportunity to find out what you want to do - and what you don't. Review this list of teen job options to get an idea of the type of jobs that teens are likely to get hired for.

Make sure your paperwork is in order. 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 will want to get them ahead of time so you will be ready to start work once you're hired.

Teen Job Search Tips

Getting a Part-Time Job
Here's how to prepare for a teen job search, along with tips and strategies for teens looking for a summer or part time job. These tips cover the gamut from how to get ready to job hunt, to how to apply, and how to follow up.

Applying for a Job
This is the information you will need to complete a job application. Practice filling out a sample application so you will know what you need to include when you do apply.

Teen Resume Writing Tips
Many teen job seekers think they don't need a resume or don't have anything to include on a resume. That's not the case. Even though a resume isn't required for a lot of teen jobs, a resume can bolster your chances of getting hired.

Writing Your First Resume
Depending on the type of position you are applying for, you may need a resume. Here's how to write your first resume, and what you can include on it even if you haven't had a "real" job before.

Teen Job Search Sites
Here are a selection of job sites for teens, plus tips for searching them and information on where else to look for teen jobs. You will also want to use other resources, since all jobs won't be listed online.

Before Accepting a Job Offer

There are good jobs for teens and there are not-so-good and even awful jobs for teens. Before you say "yes" to a job offer, make sure the company is legitimate. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints.

Be aware that the Department of Labor has rules and regulations about when teens can, and can't work, as well as what type of job you can do. Make sure the employer is complying with the law.

Decide whether this is a job you really want to do. Don't accept it if you don't feel comfortable with the work, with the environment, or with the boss or other employees. If this doesn't work out, there will be another offer. Consider whether the hours will fit into your school and activity schedule.

Be Prepared to Work

I sometimes work with young people who think that they can tell their supervisor when they want to work and what they are going to do on the job. They think they can say that they don't want to work on Saturday because they're rather go skiing or to the beach. Or they don't want to do a particular part of the job because it's not much fun or because it's boring.

It usually doesn't work that way. Your boss is going to give you a work schedule and you are going to be expected to be there when you are scheduled to work. At some companies, if you can't work your shift you are even expected to find a replacement to cover it. Unfortunately, some jobs, especially entry-level ones, are boring. Use the experience as a way to learn what you enjoy doing and what you don't.

When the Job Doesn't Work Out

You're not really going to know if the job is the right job for you, until you try it. It might not be what you expected or it might just not be the job for you. If it doesn't work out it's not the end of the world. Keep in mind that you won't have to do this job forever and if it's not working out you can leave - as long as you give appropriate notice. Be upfront with your employer and review these guidelines before you quit.

Think of a teen job search as a process not a one-shot deal. It's a way to gain work experince, make money and, to explore options for the future and even a way to meet new people and have fun!

Teen Job Resources

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How to Fill Out a Job Application Form

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