The time has come. Your teenager is finally old enough to get a job. It’s a right of passage. But what are the best jobs for teens?

Kids have a variety of great job options these days. Regardless of what your teen’s interests are or how much time they have to devote to working, there is sure to be a job out there that suits them. The secret is knowing where to find them and how to get hired.

Places that Hire Teenagers

Teens are young and inexperienced. That’s the nature of the game. This is even truer when your teenager is looking for his or her first job. Not all employers are anxious to hire a teen.

Although some places are hesitant to hire teenagers, others rely on them to make up the majority of their workforce. So, what types of places should you look for when your teen is ready for their first job? Here are the four best places to look for jobs for teens.


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Many retail stores have year-round jobs for teens. Retail stores that have a reputation for hiring teenagers include trendy clothing stores like Adidas, American Eagle, and Justice. Pet supply stores such as Petco and PetSmart also hire teens. Walmart, Target, and Publix are also known for hiring teenagers to fill positions in their stores. Best Buy has a reputation for hiring teens as well.


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Fast food restaurants have always provided jobs for teens. When looking for a first job for your teenager, check with your local Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, or Wendy’s. Panera Bread and Subway also hire teens to staff their locations. Among sit-down restaurants that employ actual waitresses, Applebee’s and Cracker Barrel both tend to hire teens more than some of their competitors.


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Check with your local cinema to see if they are hiring. Movie theaters and amusement parks also hire teenagers to work for them. Six Flags and many other tourist attractions hire teenagers on a regular basis. Arcades are also likely to hire teenagers when they are looking to fill positions. There are also local fairs, plus some amusement parks have special events for Halloween and the winter holidays.

Summer Camps and Nonprofits (YMCA, Parks and Rec, Etc.)

Various summer camps, nonprofits, and local organizations in need of part-time or seasonal help love to hire teenagers. Start with places with programs for local children, like your local YMCA, parks and recreation dept., or house of worship. They often have programs after school or during school breaks and for the summer. Or, try planning ahead and enjoying a change of scene with a job at a sleep-away summer camp in a beautiful setting.

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Construction, Housepainting, and Landscaping

Local construction, house painting, and landscaping companies also often need a lot of extra help when summer runs around. You’ll work hard, but these jobs often pay well.

Summer Jobs for Teens

Find a Job - Sticky Note

Image CC by SA 2.0, by Flazingo Photos, via Flickr

Often, when teens look for their first jobs, they are looking for a summer job. A job they will work just while they are on break from school during the summer months. These jobs don’t last all year long but some teenagers do go back and work at the same place year after year. So, what are the best summer jobs for teens? Here are the top three jobs for teenagers who love being outside in the fresh air during the summer and thrive on physical activity.

7 great summer jobs for teens

  1. Camp counselor: Day camps and overnight camps hire teens to work as camp counselors. You may have to start out as a counselor-in-training.
  2. Lifeguard: Local swimming pools need lifeguards. You’ll need to first get your lifeguard and water safety training and certification. To find a program near you, search the Red Cross website. Or check out your local YMCA, or Dept. of Parks and Recreation.
  3. Food server: Local beaches, swimming pools, and amusement parks need teens to work the concession stands.
  4. Golf caddy: Golf courses hire teenagers as golf caddies in the summer.
  5. Babysitter: Lots of families need help keeping their kids safe and entertained. Some well-heeled parents may even bring you along on their fabulous family vacation so they can enjoy some grownup time.
  6. Office assistant: With many people going on vacation over the summer, companies often need extra help with phones, filing, greeting visitors, answering emails, and other basic tasks
  7. Handy helper: Summer’s a great time for doing home improvement projects, plus the lawns, plants, and gardens all need tending. And this means local construction, landscaping, and house cleaning companies may need some extra help.

Before You Look: Age and Other Requirements

It’s important to keep in mind that wanting a job isn’t always enough to get the job. Some types of jobs for teens have specific qualifications.

Age requirements

The first requirement to consider before looking for a job is age. The U.S. Labor Department enforces age requirements for work. To work in a non-agricultural job, you must be at least 14 years old.

During the school year, teens who are 14 and 15 are not allowed to work more than three hours a day and are limited to a maximum total of 18 hours a week. When school is out during the summer and on holidays, teens can work full-time hours (8 hours a day, 40 hours a week). While school is in session, teens cannot work past 7 pm. In the summer, teens are still not allowed to work past 9 pm. However, child labor laws also vary by state and require different types of documentation before allowing teens to work, so you should check the specifics on regulations where you reside.

Other requirements

Age requirements aren’t the only restrictions you need to keep in mind before applying for a job. To be eligible for some jobs, your teen will need specific training. For example, to get hired as a lifeguard your teen will need to complete water rescue training along with being certified in CPR and first aid. Although some jobs will provide training, others won’t.

Lifeguard jumps into action. Image CC by 2.0, by Flickr user dbking, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to Find Jobs


Image CC by CC by SA 2.0, by Michael Carian, via Flickr

So where should you look to find a job for your teenager? Well, the answer to that question is simple: look everywhere. Here are some ideas of where you can find jobs for teens in your local area.

People You Know: Start your job search by talking to people you know. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This has always been true when it comes to hunting for a job. The right recommendation can go a long way towards getting you hired, not to mention that some jobs just aren’t advertised well, so hearing about it by word of mouth is your only shot at finding out about the job in the first place.

Your Neighborhood: When you start looking for jobs for teens, make sure you canvass your own neighborhood. Some jobs, especially those that are looking to hire teenagers, may not have a huge budget to take out ads to hire new employees. Keep an eye on bulletin boards at your local grocery store, community center, or anywhere else in your area that allows for job notifications.

Best Places for Teens to Find Jobs Online

Just like when adults are job hunting, the internet can be a useful tool in finding jobs for teens. The newspaper used to be the number one place for businesses to advertise that they were hiring. However, times have changed. Now, if you want to find a job, the internet is probably where you will start your search. But the internet is a big place, so where are the best places to look?

Sites for Finding Jobs for Teens

You can still check the classified section of any local papers, but now you can even do that online. Beyond that, what sites are best for finding jobs that are looking to hire teenagers? Here are the top four sites with jobs for teens. These sites will help you find online jobs for teens in addition to more traditional jobs.

  1. Snagajob: This may be the largest site available for finding part-time jobs and internships suitable for teens.
  2. Cool Works: This site is all about “cool” jobs for teens. Search by location to find jobs at camps, amusement parks, state parks, and resorts.
  3. CraigsList: This is one of the most well-known sites for connecting with local people, so lots of places do post job ads here. But be careful, as this site does have its share of scammers.
  4. FacebookAlthough many teens prefer Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat, many still have Facebook accounts… As do many employers. Search “jobs near me” to find some great local opportunities you might have missed.
  5. Simply Hired: As the name implies, this site is a simple search tool that will let you track down local jobs. You can search for part-time work and seasonal work/summer jobs on this site.

How to Apply for Jobs

Now that you’ve found the perfect job, what comes next? Learning to apply for a job is an essential skill that your teen will need throughout his or her life. So they might as well learn how to do it right. In general, there are three parts to the application process regardless of what type of job it is that you are trying to get.

Filling Out Applications

The most important thing to remember when filling out a job application is to always be honest. Don’t ever intentionally lie. For the most part, filling out a job application is as simple as filling out a form. Each job you apply for will likely have its own individualized form, but the information you will give is pretty much the same. The application will want your name and contact information along with your educational background and prior work history. Don’t worry if you don’t have much of a work history. You have to start somewhere and plenty of places will train you.

Creating a Resume

Writing your resume can seem like a daunting task, especially to a teenager who is doing it for the first time. However, it really isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s a list of your experience and accomplishments, and chances are you’ve done more than you think.

Start with a list with everything you’ve done, paid or unpaid. This includes school activities, volunteer work, sports, and academics. You should also include any awards you’ve won and informal work experience like pet sitting or yard work.

The easiest way to create a resume is by using a template. Fortunately, there are many resume templates available online. My Perfect Resume is a great place to start. They’ve got lots of examples and templates you can use. Career Kids also has a great online resume generator that walks you through a series of questions. You then click the Build Resume button and voilá!

Here’s a great sample resume for a high school student. Don’t worry if your list isn’t as long as hers, we all have something special to offer.

As with your job application, make sure you are always truthful on your resume. Don’t be tempted to lie on your resume to make yourself look better. Trust me, this will backfire. And remember to proofread your resume and run a spell check. In the eyes of a potential employer, nothing is worse than a resume that is riddled with grammatical errors.

Interviewing 101

No matter how old you are, job interviews are a nerve-wracking experience. Knowing that you are making a first impression on a potential employer (an impression that will decide whether or not you get hired) is a lot of pressure. Here are a few tips to make the interview process a little easier and help your teen put their best foot forward.

Dress appropriately: Don’t go to a job interview dressed like a bum. Plain and simple. What you wear says a lot about you and also shows a level of respect for your potential employer. Don’t show up for a job interview in old sweatpants and a dirty tee-shirt. On the other hand, you shouldn’t overdress either. Wearing a three-piece suit to an interview for an entry-level job at a fast food restaurant is probably overkill.

Be prepared: Do a little research before you go. Read up on common interview questions and think about how you would answer them. Remember to also do a little research on the place you are trying to get hired at. This can help you answer questions like, “Why do you want to work here?”

Arrive early: Don’t just get to your interview on time, get there early. As the saying goes, stuff happens. Give yourself extra time so that you can still be on time if something goes wrong on your way there. Being early and having a few minutes to spare before your interview will keep you from feeling rushed, which in turn helps you to remain calm and confident.

Be confident: Displaying confidence during an interview can help you get the job. It can be hard to stay calm and act confident when you are terrified on the inside, but practicing deep breathing can help. Start the interview off with a firm handshake and make eye contact throughout your interview. This may be of little comfort now, but interviewing really will get easier the more you do it.

The Time Has Come

For better or worse, your first job is always a memorable experience. Now that you know where to find jobs for teens and how to go about preparing your teen to get the job they want, you are ready to let them take the leap and experience this right of passage. Happy job hunting!

Featured image CC by A-SA 3.0 Unported, by Tamer of hope, via Wikimedia Commons

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