Top Ten Tips for Teen Job Seekers

Category : Job Search

Get Organized. Before you start your job search, make sure that everything you need to job search is ready.  You may need working papers – check with your High School Guidance Office for details.  Make a list of all the personal information you will need to complete a job application – home and school addresses, phone numbers, people or companies you have worked for, and references.

Don’t Wait. The recession and down job market has hit all levels of job seekers – from entry level candidates with no experience to top executives.  Start your job search early, because there are fewer jobs available and more competition for every position.

Start Local. One of the easiest ways to find a teen job is to start local.  Check with your school to see if they have job postings. If you’re interested in retail, walk around town or the mall. Look for help wanted signs in store windows or ask if the company is hiring.  If you’re looking for a summer job, check with summer camps, amusement parks, and other seasonal businesses.  Check your Chamber of Commerce web site, many list job openings.

Search Online. Next, go online to look for job postings. is an excellent site for teens, because all the job postings are geared to teen job seekers.  Also, visit the other sites which list jobs just for teens.

Use Your Connections.  Who you know is as important in finding a job, especially your first or second job, as finding jobs to apply for. Tell everyone you know – family, friends, teachers, coaches – that you’re looking for a job. You never know who might be able to help.

Be Prepared.  Create a resume if you don’t have one. It won’t take long and even if you haven’t worked at a “real” job, you can include child care, dog sitting, volunteering, and school activities. has a resume builder that will create a resume for you. Review samples ( if you need help creating a resume.   Offering a prospective employer a resume will help you be a strong candidate for employment.

Bring the Right Stuff. When you apply for jobs, bring a portfolio or folder with your resume, the information you will need to complete an application, a list of a few references, and a pen.  You don’t want to have to ask for a pen when a hiring manger hands you a job application or not have the information you need to apply.

Dress Presentably.  Don’t wear what you think looks good. Seriously.  Ask your parents or another adult how they think you should dress for an interview.  What looks terrific for going to school or out with your friends is not going to impress the interviewer. The key is to dress conservatively with no belly sticking out or bra straps or underwear showing. You’ll probably have to buy an outfit just for applying, but it’s a good investment.

Be Flexible.  It’s important to be available for work when the employer needs you.  Keep your schedule as open as possible for work.  The more you’re available, the more likely you are to be offered a job. And be honest – tell the company the truth about when you’re available to work. If you have other commitments, be upfront about them. The employer may be willing to work around your schedule, but they do need to know.

Don’t Give Up.  Finding a job is hard work, especially when you don’t have much – or any – experience. Don’t give up if you don’t find a job right away.  Keep looking, keep reminding people you’re in the market for a job, and consider a wide variety of work options.  The more jobs you apply for, the better chance you have of being hired.

A Guest Post From Alison Doyle, Job Searching Guide (