In the United States, teenagers are legally allowed to start work at sixteen years of age. And in some cases, like hardship situations, teenagers can begin working at age 15. Working students and teens generally start their shifts after school, and on the weekends. Some students choose to only get "summer jobs", and focus their attention on academics during the school year. Either way, part-time employment for teens can be fulfilling, fun and a great hands-on learning experience.
- Gain knowledge and an idea of financial responsibility.
- Teens can help out with some of their own expenses, for example while many parents purchase the first car, the teenager pays for gas, insurance or both.
- Gives teens a head start to learning skills needed throughout adult life.
- Teaches time management.
- Gaining independence.
- Allows teens to explore what career paths interest them firsthand.
- Room to learn the cause and effect without any serious, or long-term consequence.
- Preparing for adulthood by learning to budget finances.
- Expanding social network beyond friends and peers from the school setting.
- Less time to focus on academics and extracurricular
- Potential conflict of interest. Example: A teenager watches his younger siblings after school until his parents arrive home.
- More stress, and less free time.
- Research has proved that teenagers that work are more likely to use, and spend their money on drugs and alcohol.
Where can teens and students work? Obviously, a teenager is not going to get their first job as a flight attendant or vet assistant. The majority of teenagers work at retail stores, restaurants or fast food joints. Common employment issues for teenagers include...
- Cashier in either retail or fast food
- Hostess at a restaurant
- Bagger at grocery store
- A lifeguard position during the summer
- "Cart boy" at chain-store (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.)
- Line server at cafeteria
Is the teenager ready to begin work? Any teenager that begins working should...
- Be able to get ready for school without nagging from their parents
- Has passing grades
- Makes wise choices on their own
- Posses time management skills
- Can handle and learn from criticism
- Has shown an interest in money, and managing it in the past
Preparing for the hunt- Teens and students should feel ready and confident before going job hunting. Below are a few tips for preparing for the great hunt.
- Prepare a simple resume- True, it isn't going to be much at this point, but it sure shows effort and eagerness. Teens should mention where they are enrolled in school currently, past schools, grade average, extracurricular activities,a few personal references, any sort of experience such as volunteer work or babysitting.
- Practice a few applications at home Know what the applications will be asking. Practice with this sample application to boost become familiar with applications and build confidence.
- Build a list of places to work- Teens should have a hand-written list of places they would enjoy working, this can be exciting and inspiring.
- Dress the part- Both when filling out the application in store, and for any follow up interviews, students must give a proper and professional appearance. Keep jewelry to a minimum, ensure clothing is clean and ironed, hair and makeup should be conservative.
- Keep skills in mind- The student should remember what skills and experience she already posses when applying for a job. For example, somebody that was in the Green Thumb club at school for three consecutive years should apply at a plant shed.
Common reasons applications are rejected
- Being too young to work, or for the position
- Not being able to work available hours, usually due to school
- No experience
- No transportation
If any of these issues exist, consider a teen could consider working in their own neighborhood walking pets, mowing lawns, cleaning pools, babysitting children, washing cars and yard maintenance.
Helpful search engines for finding part-time employment for students.
- Monster Part Time
- CoolWorks (search for SEASONAL and SUMMER part time jobs)
Also check classified advertisements in newspapers, online classifieds, and employment publications.
- To gain experience and up the chances of being hired, do some volunteer work.
- Every single person, even adults need to be prepared to hear "no" several times before hearing "yes". This happens to everybody, and it is important that teenagers do not give up on their job hunt
- Teenagers should avoid listing a large amount in the "expected pay" part of the application. Most first jobs pay minimum wage
- Considering working somewhere you can work is helpful, should transportation ever become an issue.
- Teens having trouble finding employment can talk to a school guidance counselor for advice, and maybe a referral.
- Prepare for a job interview by reading Snagajob.com's "Ten things to do before an interview" and "10 things that you should never say during a job interview-ever!"