Top Ten Job Search Tips for Teens

CareerForce branded graphic with the words Youth Employment and images of young people on it

If you are new to the job search process, here are some tips to help you find the right match for you! 

  1. Know Your Info: Keep all of the information you need to complete an application on one document that you can easily access. This should include your address, phone number, school information, past work and volunteer experiences including dates, addresses and phone numbers.
  2. Check Your History: Take a look at your social media profiles and make sure you are presenting yourself well online. Take some time to remove things you would not want an employer to see.
  3. Know Where to Look: Ask family and friends if they know of companies that are hiring, and look for help wanted signs in your neighborhood and other places you often go
  4. Do your research: Look up the business where you want to work on Instagram, Facebook or their website to learn about it. Call and ask if they hire people your age. Many employers won’t hire people under 16.
  5. Figure out your transportation: If you are planning to walk or ride your bike to work, only apply to businesses that you can walk or ride your bike to. Taking public transportation? Map out your route and make sure you allow enough time to get there before your shift starts. Going to drive? Drive there a few times to learn the traffic patterns and how long it will take you. You don’t want to be late to work! 
  6. Get Recommended: Create a list of one to three references that you can give potential employers. If possible, the list of references should include someone for whom you’ve worked or volunteered. Teachers and sports coaches also make great references. Your reference list should have names and emails and/or phone numbers. Ask your reference people ahead of time if you can use them as a reference with employers.
  7. Fill out the application (or a lot of applications): Most businesses have online applications but not all. If you can’t find it online, stop in and ask them for an app. Have your information ready! Be ready to write out your basic info like your address, phone number, email, school information, past work and volunteer experience (including dates you worked there, their addresses and phone numbers).
  8. Be ready to have a good interview Practice interview questions with a family member or other adult. Make sure to talk about how you will show up, on time, and that you are excited to work and learn on the job. If an employer asks why you left a previous job, be honest but don’t say negative things about your past employer, instead say why the position wasn’t right for you at the time, for example “my class schedule got more difficult, so I needed to spend more time working on homework, but that won’t be an issue now.” If you have to talk about something negative, make sure you tell them what you learned about the situation.
  9. Stay positive  and be persistent: Apply for lots of jobs. Almost no one gets the first, second or third job they apply for. Keep trying. You can ask employers who turned you down to give you feedback. They may (or may not), and it may be helpful (or not), but it is worth asking and shows that you’re serious about finding a job.
  10. Get help!


Check out and use these helpful resources: