Get a Job As a Teen

Sometimes, an allowance just isn't enough. If you need some more pocket money to catch the latest movies, take out your new girlfriend/boyfriend, or just to start saving up, you might have to get a job. It can be difficult to get one when you are a teenager, but not impossible. As a teenager, you’re starting out brand new, and although most companies do request experience, the key to getting "THE" job is to sell yourself.


  1. Start researching.
    • Find organizations and other places that you know pay teens to work. Good places to check are government departments and nonprofit organizations such as city park and recreation departments, zoos, museums, camps, and hospitals.
    • Another option to look at are bridge clubs. They usually meet once a week and pay well for caddies and also have tournaments every month or so that pay even more.
    • Don’t go out looking to be executive director of any job. Start out small and easy, retail and food industry jobs are probably the easiest to obtain.
  2. Get the word out. You can post flyers in your neighborhood detailing jobs that you can do, such as lawn mowing, babysitting, or dog-walking. You can also post your information on a website or job board, but beware of giving out personal information until you trust the other person. Post 3 x 5 cards at local stores and other places with notice-boards telling of the services you're willing to do.
  3. Use your connections. Talk to friends and family about any paying jobs they might know of, and follow through.
  4. Volunteer. Sometimes, the best way to get a paying job is to begin as a volunteer and work your way up. You may have to give some of your time for free to make money in the long run. Treat your volunteer work as if it were a paying job -- get there on time, call as soon as you know you can't come in or are going to be late. Listen and learn about the organization. Do such a good job they learn to rely on you.
  5. Make a resume. Even if most jobs you apply for don't ask for a resume, it's a good exercise, and it's useful to have your work history and education details all written out in one place. It makes filling out applications much easier.
  6. Apply early! The most important key to getting jobs with these places is to apply as soon as you hear about jobs. Always be on the lookout--sometimes recruitment starts as early as February or March for summer jobs.
  7. Go to an interview. One of the most often asked questions is: Why do you feel you are qualified for this job? Let them know how positive you are, always willing to help out, and go out of your way for special requests. When asked any experience you may have; Well now you have phone experience, can you dial numbers without really looking at the keypad or even better are you good with a calculator? That’s 10 key (depending on how fast and the job needs this is a good thing to include in your Job experience) Do you know how to use a computer? How about the Internet, Word, Outlook or email? Do you know how to use a fax machine, copy machine? Can you file, sort by alphabetical order, name order, date order. Believe it or not it’s all relevant and sometimes even as a mail room attendant that’s all you need.
  8. Increase your earnings. After working at the entry level position for a few summers or after school, you will have the experience to work at a higher level once you are out of high school. This can help you pay your way through college, and you can practically guarantee you'll always have a summer job. In some cases (like the S.F. Bay Area), you could go from getting minimum wage to getting $15-17/hr.



  • Once you've done good work for someone, ask if you can use them as a reference for future jobs.
  • Demonstrate your skills. If you are a good worker, you will have a greater chance of being hired because they already know your work, they aren't just reading someone's application. You can show organizations that you are a good worker through volunteering or through references.
  • Try to get a job in something that you are interested in, as it may help you get a career later in life, or count as experience when applying to college.
  • Jobs are now harder to get thanks to the current economy, jobs traditionally held by teenagers are now being used by the unemployed as "fallback jobs".
  • Take initiative. Many agencies and organizations get grants to hire teens in the summer and after school. Even if they typically hire kids who are already volunteering for them, you never know. Contact them to find out what is available.
  • If you are called, be available and open to any job and/or time, and you will see how fast you can get a job. If your school schedule conflicts, be honest, let them know there is a conflict or that you have certain times of availability. There are a lot of employers who are very understanding of special needs or situations.


  • Do not expect to get paid for doing nothing- you must be prepared to earn your cash.
  • If you get a job at someone's house, always tell your parents where you are going to be, better yet, have them drop you off and meet the person. Trust your gut... if something doesn't feel right, leave. If something happens to you, get some help.
  • Check your local child labor laws. It could be that you are not formally allowed to work. However, you still may be allowed to tutor or babysit.
  • Never talk about your life to your boss.

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