Updated: Jul 9, 2020
If like most teens, you're looking for a little extra cash for the movies or the mall - or for something larger like a car or college - you've probably thought about getting a job. Getting a job as a teen can be a great way to build up your resume and demonstrate your reliability and dependability to colleges and future employers. But before you embark on the glamorous lifestyle of hairnets and fast food, take the time to learn about the process of getting a job and decide whether or not it's right for you. Before you start looking for a job, you've got to find out if you can legally work as a teen. Every state has child labor laws which may limit the jobs you can do based on your age and the number of hours you can work during the school year or summer break. In most cases, you'll be required to fill out a student work permit in order to work as a teen. Check with your schools or local government offices for more information. You've also got to consider whether or not you can handle a job on top of your regular commitments. It's hard to work as a teen. When you get a job, you're expected to show up for your shifts, whether you've got a big exam the next day or a big date scheduled for the same night. You've got to go to work when you don't feel like it, and you've got to keep up with your nightly homework on top of everything. Be realistic with yourself - if you're already struggling to keep your grades up, a part-time job probably isn't best for you. If you're legally able to work, it's time to start looking for a job. If you've got friends who are already working, ask them which employers are good to work for and which ones aren't. Search your local newspaper for part-time listings or walk into your favorite stores and ask if they're hiring. It's best to apply for lots of jobs, including ones you want and ones you'd just be okay with, since you won't get every job you apply for. Always look your best and be polite with everyone you talk to when you're applying for jobs. If an employer is interested in you, you may be called for an interview. Interviews can be scary, but you can do a little preparation ahead of time to be ready. Most employers will want to know what you think are your strengths and weaknesses, what interests you in the position and what kind of schedule you'll be able to keep. Never, ever lie to the interviewer, but be realistic with your answers. Remember, the goal of the interview is to find out if you're a good match for the job. If you're offered a job, you'll probably also talk about your schedule and the amount of money you'll be paid. You'll get an introduction to the business and be briefed on what your responsibilities will be. Pay close attention during your training and speak up if you have any questions. If there's anything you feel uncomfortable with, let your manager know - you may be able to take on other tasks instead. Check in with yourself regularly once you start working. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your manager and see if you can reduce your hours or change the nights that you work. However, you've got to respect that your manager has his/her own needs in running the business and may not be able to accommodate you. If not, you may need to find another job. If your grades are slipping, it's time to seriously consider whether you should be working or not. You can always make a little extra money with odd jobs like babysitting and yard work that you can do on your own time. And speaking of the extra money, why not put some of it into a savings account? Sure, spend a little on a new pair of jeans, but by setting a little aside for more important things, you'll be developing financial skills that will help you tremendously as an adult.