How To Find a Job as a Teenager (Plus Benefits and Job Types)
Updated January 30, 2023
If you're a teenager who wants to get a job, it's important to first understand the various steps and strategies you can use to find one that fits your interests, skills and preferences. Having a job as a teenager can help you develop valuable skills, earn money and figure out what type of career you might want to pursue later in life. Teenagers looking for a job can find employment opportunities in a range of positions and fields. In this article, we explore the benefits of having a job when you're a teenager, explain the types of jobs available and list the steps for how to find a job as a teenager.
Benefits of getting a job as a teenager
Having a job when you're a teenager can offer a range of advantages, including:
Earning money: Having a job as a teenager gives you your own source of income. It can also teach you basic financial skills, such as how to manage your money.
Learning hard skills: A job as a teenager is a great way to develop hard skills. Hard skills refer to technical or expert abilities that you can learn through studying and practicing such as programming, social media management or bilingual speaking.
Evaluating future career options: Getting a job as a teenager can help you figure out what type of career or industry you might want to pursue as an adult.
Developing soft skills: Employment helps hone soft skills that can make you a distinguished candidate when applying for jobs. Soft skills are personality traits or behaviors that affect your work performance such as effective communication, critical thinking or teamwork.
Types of jobs for teenagers
Teenagers looking for employment might consider different types of jobs, such as:
Part-time: A part-time job refers to a job where you work less than 40 hours per week. A part-time job can be a great option if you're looking for an employment opportunity where you can work after school or on the weekends.
Contract: A contract job means that you're employed on a short-term basis for a set amount of time, such as one month or 10 weeks. Contract jobs can be for both part- and full-time work.
Seasonal: Some companies hire employees temporarily during a specific season. For example, a ski resort might hire more employees during the winter, while a camp hires more in the summer.
Internship: An internship is an introductory, limited position for a career that typically requires more education or training prior to full-time employment, such as for jobs in information technology or health care. Some internships might pay you, while others can offer school credit.
Entrepreneurship: Some teenagers may be interested in starting their own business. Common businesses for teenagers include babysitting, dog walking and freelance work, such as for photography or writing.
Volunteer: Although volunteer positions don't offer pay, they can still be great opportunities for you to gain practical job experience, build your network and learn new skills. Some volunteer positions may offer compensation, such as room and board or reimbursed transportation costs.
Related: 14 Business Ideas for Teens in 2021
How to get a job as a teenager
Following are nine steps that can help you get a job as a teenager:
1. Determine what type of job you want
Think about the kind of job you want before you start applying. Consider a range of factors, including:
Desired job schedule: If you want to have a job year-round, you may want to look for part-time positions. However, if you're hoping to work more hours during a limited time frame, such as over the summer, an internship or seasonal job could be a better fit.
Skills you want to develop: Think about the knowledge or abilities you want to gain from your job. You might want to gain more technical skills, such as managing a cash register, or soft skills, like flexibility and communication.
Existing interests and skills: Consider the interests and skills you already have and what kinds of jobs might best fit those qualities. For example, if you enjoy being with children, you might look at becoming a babysitter or camp counselor.
Type of work environment: Your work environment comprises the factors that affect the space where you work, such as the people around you and the type of company. For example, a landscaping job means you can work in a range of locations outdoors, while a job at a retail store means you may spend most of your time either in the front of the shop or a warehouse.
2. Search for jobs
After you figure out what types of jobs you're looking for, begin your search. You can look for jobs through a variety of methods and channels, including:
Online job boards: An online job board is a website where a range of employers can advertise for their open positions.
Newspapers: Many local newspapers and other print publications include a section for job advertisements.
Company websites: If you want to work for a specific company, consider visiting their website. Some businesses advertise for their open positions directly on their site or through their social media channels.
Local shops: Visit the local shops in your area and see if any have ads, such as in their window displays or on a bulletin board, for open job positions. You could also ask the supervisor or owner of these local shops if they might need entry-level employees now or in the future.
3. Build your network
Start building your professional network. Your network can include past or current teachers, coaches, family friends or neighbors. Ask the people in your network if they know of any potential job openings that might be a good fit for you. You can also use your network to find other professional resources that might help you get a job or gain valuable skills, such as workshops or conventions.
4. Get a work permit, if needed
Apply for a work permit if you need one. Some companies or government agencies may require teenagers to get a work permit prior to employment. These requirements often vary based on the industry you want to work in, your location and your exact age. Research the requirements for your region and industry to see if you need to apply for a work permit.
5. Create your resume
Compose your resume, meaning a written document that summarizes your qualifications for an open job position. A resume typically contains different sections, such as your past or current professional experience, skills, education and credentials. If you have no or little previous professional experience, you may want to include other sections that can demonstrate to employers why you're qualified, such as awards and accomplishments, hobbies and interests, languages you're fluent in or volunteer experience.
6. Add a cover letter
When possible, include a cover letter with your job application materials. A cover letter is a professional document that explains the qualifications summarized on your resume in greater detail. Cover letters also give you the opportunity to explain why you're interested in this particular company or opportunity.
7. Submit applications
Begin submitting applications to jobs, whether online or in-person. Aim to submit about two to three applications each day or around 10 to 15 per week. Submitting more applications can increase your chances of getting responses from employers.
Customize your resume, cover letter and other application materials for each position. This can help demonstrate to prospective employers that you're enthusiastic about the job. A great way to personalize your application materials is to carefully review the job posting for the employer's desired qualifications and highlight those qualifications that describe you in your application materials.
8. Prepare for interviews or job tests
If an employer considers hiring you, they might first ask you to an interview or a job evaluation. Do your best to prepare for this interview or test by researching the company and industry.
If you receive an invitation to an interview, prepare for frequently asked interview questions, such as why you're interested in this position and why you might be a great fit for the role. Consider asking a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview to help you practice and feel more confident when delivering your answers.
9. Follow up with prospective employers
Send follow-up messages after applying for jobs or after your interviews. A follow-up message can demonstrate your interest in the role and your professionalism. If you're writing a follow-up message after an interview, consider sending a message as soon as possible. If you have yet to hear from an employer about a job you applied for, wait approximately two weeks before sending them a polite message asking about the status of your application.
Tips for applying for jobs as a teenager
Here is some advice for getting a job when you're a teenager:
Try to be patient
Be patient with yourself throughout the application process. It's okay if you're sometimes rejected from a job or if you don't hear back from some employers. These are both normal parts of the job application process. Consider finding ways to revise your application materials for future job positions or asking someone in your network for help with these revisions.
Start applying early
Start applying for jobs a few months before you hope to be employed. Finding the right job for you can sometimes take a few weeks or months.
It's also important to know that employers typically post seasonal opportunities several months in advance so that they have a full staff when their busy season arrives. For example, if you want a summer job, start applying for positions during the early spring.
Be courteous and confident
Whether you're interacting with prospective employers through email or in person, be courteous and confident. Although you might be a little nervous, showing confidence can help make a good first impression. Express politeness through strategies such as thanking employers for considering you and respecting their time.
Finding a job as a teenager can seem challenging, and it can be hard for anyone to discern a legitimate job opportunity from a fake offer. You can take steps to protect yourself during the job search process by:
Notifying a trusted friend or parent of your whereabouts. Let a parent, guardian, mentor or someone you trust know details of an upcoming meetup such as a networking event or job interview including the location, time of the event and a point of contact, if available so that others know where you are. Additional details such as a link to the job description or an email with the event details can also be helpful.
Preview the location in advance. Consider searching the event address on an online map or going to the meet-up or interview location a day before to ensure that the establishment is legitimate and open. Some scams can involve targeting and isolating people in marginalized communities. Researching the location in advance could notify you of suspicious activity and protect vulnerable populations.
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