How to Get a Job as a Teenager

You’ve sent in applications to all the local grocery stores. You’ve gone into every fast food restaurant within a radius of 15 miles, and they all seem to not be hiring. You’ve even checked out those job offer websites and found nothing appealing or applicable to you. It seems that all the lower-level jobs in your area are either already taken by other teenagers, or aren’t offered to teenagers at all.

I’ve been there. However, getting a job as a high schooler is not as difficult as it seems. Though there are certainly more difficult places to get accepted into or even an interview at, I know there are definitely places in our town and surrounding towns that seem to constantly be looking for more teenage workers – they can pay them less, and have more of them because our hours are limited.

I went from having no job at the start of my sophomore year of high school to having three in the beginning of my junior year. I definitely do not recommend taking more than one for yourself because it’s simply too much to handle, but I mentioned my own experience to exemplify that it can be really easy to obtain a teenage-level job (multiple, even) if you simply follow the right steps.

Make sure you’re applying at the right time of the year. Often times the jobs you are looking into also hire college students – this means that they will be coming back to these jobs or looking to be hired into them from the end of springtime to early summer. It’s a known fact that high schoolers tend to be less successful in obtaining jobs in these times of the year; they’re usually only hired per diem (on an as-needed basis), seasonally, or not at all. While the first two may be good for some people who are just looking to get a little extra spending money but do not want to commit, those looking for a year-round job to save up for a car, college, or whatever else it is that they may need are not going to be happy with this. The best time to apply is at the end of summer or right before the new year; both of these time periods are when college students return back to school from their breaks, meaning many businesses are looking for a new influx of workers to help keep things running smoothly.

When you do apply, show that you can be as available and flexible as possible. Moreover, ensure that you are ready to commit to a more busy schedule – while some jobs let you pick your own hours, others provide you with a weekly schedule with less flexibility. Check beforehand with your potential employer to see what kind of schedule they think you would have, and make sure it is possible to adjust your extracurriculars and activities before you even go to your interview to ensure there will be no complications getting hired or keeping your job. This way, you can know the exact days and hours you can work each week and how many you want to commit to each week. The more you can offer, the more they will want to hire you, but you don’t want to overload yourself.

Don’t only look into jobs that you think you will enjoy. I know, I know; this one is kind of a downer. Even if the job sounds boring or difficult, you will never know how it is until you are actually in it. There was I job I was applying for over the summer that I quite honestly was not sure I wanted; it sounded like it required a lot of effort and I could never picture myself working there. However, when I got there I almost immediately changed my mind and now I love working there – I have absolutely no regrets about applying there. Furthermore, no one’s first job is going to be a blast, but it’s almost a rite of passage into better jobs in the future. You have to make the most of the situation and understand that if you only apply to jobs that sound “fun” to you, you’re less likely to be hired by any at all.

Check with your friends who already have jobs to see if their employers are looking for more employees. If you’ve looked pretty much everywhere else and still had no luck, this is a type of last resort but can actually be really helpful. I know a good amount of people who struggled to find a job on their own and got one within weeks of their friends simply seeing if they could help them out; it’s even happened to me on more than occasion. It’s good because the businesses that your friends are working for may not always let the public know that they’re hiring even if they’re desperate for more workers – it’s almost as if you get the hint early. However, don’t use the idea of working with your friend as an excuse to slack off or fool around; don’t make your employer regret their decision to hire you. Also, don’t make your friends force them to give you a job; if they’re interested in hiring more teenagers that’s great, but if not you need to accept it and look elsewhere.

Be incredibly friendly and enthusiastic along every step of the way. Entering the working world is something a lot of teenagers fear because it’s a symbol of being one step closer to adulthood; no one enjoys having to speak with their potential employers on the phone, or having to be interviewed about your work skills when you’ve never had any job experience to relate to. However, we all have to go through this transition around the same time, so we can all relate. It’s best to just be friendly to everyone you come across (the person you ask for the application, the person who gives you the interview, your boss and all your coworkers both younger and older, etc). Show that you are enthusiastic and excited about the potential of working, which will show your potential employer that you are mature enough to not only learn the skills the job requires, but also that you will be a person that they should want around, whether you’ll be working directly with people/customers or not. This will make you a better candidate to be hired over someone who appears as if they really don’t care whether they get the job or not.
I hope that at least one of these pieces of advice is something you haven’t considered before and/or helps you in the process of obtaining and keeping a solid job that you’ll learn to love! Best of luck 🙂