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Teen Employment Tips: How to Help Your Teen Get a First Job

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As nervous as we get as parents when we think about teen employment, imagine how intimidated your teen is when it comes to landing a first job! Today I’m going to share some tips to help you help your teen find and GET a first job.

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Preparing Yourself for Teen Employment

It seems like it was just yesterday when you brought your sweet bundle of joy home. Your adorable, tiny baby relied on you to do everything for them. From making sure they were fed, and bathed, to making sure they had clean clothes on them.

Now that sweet bundle, that once fit in the crook of your arm, is now likely at least as tall as you are. They can now feed and dress themselves.

Their wings are spread and they are getting ready to become even more independent, by getting their first job. This is a great opportunity for you to show your teen not only how valuable your guidance is but also, how capable he or she is.

The tips below are intended to help you straddle the fine line between telling your kids what to do and letting them make their own decisions. You’ll provide significant assistance, without taking the reins. And in the process, you and your teen will come to appreciate each other even more.

Tips for Helping Your Teen Find Their First Job

Teen employment isn’t much different than adult employment. The big difference is that teens don’t have any experience yet so they’ll have a lot of uncertainty when it comes to looking for, applying for, and interviewing for their first job.

Below, I share several tips for how you can help your child navigate the frightening process of teen employment. As you read through them, remember that these are guidelines for how to assist your child.

Your teen is about to take a big step towards being mature and responsible. Let him or her take the lead, but be willing and available to share your insights and offer your help.

Help Them Set Reasonable Expectations

Keep in mind, and remind your teen that this is just a first job. It does not have to be the cleanest, most glorious job.

A first job is just something to help them get their foot out the door and get a taste of what it is like in the job world. While few may remain at their initial place of employment, and climb the ladder, many first jobs are simply that. A first job!

Spread Word of Mouth

Spreading the word amongst your friends and acquaintances that your teenager is on the hunt for their very first job can often prove rewarding. Many have already been in the same boat and will have great suggestions, as to where their own children became employed.

Others may just know of openings at their own places of employment. Some people you know may be willing to hire a teen or two themselves.

Plus, in reality, most jobs for not just teens, but also adults, are the result of networking. If your teen resists considering jobs that come from your contacts, let your teen know that everyone uses their contacts to find opportunities. It’s up to your teen to impress the potential employer with his poise, confidence, and skills.

Pick up Applications Anywhere you Frequent

Next time you head to the grocery store, stop by the customer service desk and pick up an application. Even if they are not hiring at the time, it is good practice to have your teen fill out apps, and personally drop them back off, themselves.

Restaurants and fast food places make great first jobs, so do not hesitate to have your kiddos ask for one at your next family outing.

Stores, where your teen likes to shop, are great teen employment opportunities. Retail stores typically hire employees that match their target consumers. So, if your teen is already shopping there, she probably fits the company’s mold.

Check the Ages in Which Establishments are Hiring

Some places will not hire a teenager until they are 16. However, there are many establishments that will hire teens at 14 or 15, they just limit the number of hours and time of day teens can work.

Check hiring information, before your teen applies. You may be surprised as to who is hiring teens, even at a young age. For example, check out these companies hiring 14-year-olds.

Contact the School for a Work Permit

Most places that teens can work need a work permit. Keep in mind that some states require work permits and some don’t.

No employer wants to get in trouble for employing underage workers, which is why a work permit is essential. You can learn more information about work permits from the United States Department of Labor.

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.

Good Job Ideas for Teens: The Balance Careers website has an excellent article on teen employment with a long list of first job options for teens to help your teen identify jobs he or she might like.


You can help your teen find a job by helping them go through the same process you did. Really, things aren’t much different than when you went through it.

The best thing you can do is be supportive of a teenager with a good work ethic. Be your child’s support network and sounding board, and sit back and watch your teen thrive!

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