Teenage Job Hunt

My “little boy”, who is now the tallest in the household, has his learner’s permit and is learning how to drive. He’s going into his senior year of high school. He’s responsible for a lot of things around our house. And now he’s started looking for a part-time job.

He’s got his ‘working papers’ from the state so that he can get a job. He has to find something on the weekends and/or after school hours. The first couple of interviews a job website set him up for, he was summarily turned down because he isn’t 18. The sites had taken his date of birth, so you’d think that wouldn’t happen, but apparently, the employer hadn’t put minimum age as a parameter.

Helping Your Teen Find Their First Job

In some ways, teen employment isn’t much different than adult employment. Except in certain rare instances, the main difference is that teens don’t have any work experience. As a result, they’ll have a lot of uncertainty about looking for, applying for, and interviewing for their first job.

My son and I practiced with me asking him basic interview questions. I’m aware that he’s about to take a big step towards being even more mature and responsible. I was so glad that he asked for my thoughts on how to answer certain questions because teenagers tend to believe they know it all.

Help them have reasonable expectations

A teenage new hire will be the very definition of ‘entry level’ in any business. Good grades or popularity at school are going to be irrelevant. As the new, young hire, a teen is likely to be assigned the most menial or repetitive jobs at the organization. It’s not an insult; it’s just the way it works.

Apply everywhere

My son needs to find a job he can walk to or bicycle to. We brainstormed all the places in that type of distance that might need help with stocking shelves, hauling inventory, bussing tables, and so on. Think stores, restaurants, fast food places, anywhere that seems to have possibilities.

Check to hire ages

Some places won’t hire a teenager until they’re 16.  Others will hire teens at 14 or 15, but limit the number of hours and times teens can work. There are big differences in different states, and regions.

Check hiring information, before your teen applies. My son got matched with a job at McDonald’s locally, and an interview was scheduled for him. It lasted barely a minute because he isn’t 18. Apparently some McDonald’s hire teenagers younger than that, but this particular franchise requires they be 18 at least.

Getting a work permit

Some states require work permits for teenagers to be hired, and some don’t. Employers don’t want to get in trouble for illegally employing underage workers, so a work permit is essential. You can find out more about work permits from the United States Department of Labor.

The school nurse at your local high school will have the paperwork necessary to get a work permit. Typically, the teenager’s position has to complete a form, and the permit itself is authorized by an office at the state capitol.

Teen Employment Resources

Hire Teen: Hire Teen is a job search website just for teens. You can search by location, category, and age. You’ll also find listings for teen job fairs.

Snagajob: Snag is an online marketplace specifically for hourly workers. They have an entire section devoted to teen jobs so you can easily find teen employment opportunities in your area.

LinkedIn: Linkedin is one of the best tools to aid the start of your career. It has thousands upon thousands of jobs posted daily, with all times of background. Whether it be your first-time job, or applying for your first corporate role, you can find it on Linkedin. There’s a lot of great advice out there on how to get started.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a job search app that has built its business on anonymous company reviews written by actual employees. So if you’re kid is nervous about applying to a job, in particular, this is a great resource to help calm their nerves by showing them real reviews about the company from past employees! Many reviews also contain actual interview questions reviewers faced when they were job candidates. Glassdoor is a great place to start when researching a potential new job.


Do you know of any other great job hunting websites? What techniques have worked for you? Any great or terrible job hunting stories? Feel free to e-mail me at frominhere@gmail.com, and maybe you’ll be the winning weekly commenter for this week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *