Tips for Teens: Getting Your First Job

High school can be expensive! Between homecoming and yearbooks and sports, the expenses can quickly add up. If you don’t already have one, now’s a good time to start thinking about getting your first job.

Find a job

One of the hardest parts of working can be finding a job. Keep an eye out for signs at stores, restaurants, or other local places that say, “help wanted.” This means they’re looking to hire someone. Look for a contact person’s name and phone number and reach out to see what the requirements are. To qualify for some positions, you may have to be 16 or 18 years old.

Fill out the application

Once you find a position you’re old enough to apply for, it’s time to fill out the application. Whether it’s on paper or online, be sure to take your time, work carefully, and answer each question accurately.

If it’s on paper, grab an extra copy in case you make a mistake. Or, write all your answers down on a piece of scrap paper and copy them over to the application once you’re ready.

If the application is online, proof your text for typos and use good grammar. Be professional – don’t abbreviate and write complete sentences. Be sure to read it over after you’re done to make sure there are no mistakes.

Ace your interview

Before you go to an interview, rehearse what you’ll say. Ask your parents to practice with you so that you can prepare answers to common questions.

On the day of your interview, dress nicely. Shake the interviewer’s hand and make eye contact. Speak clearly and try not to say “um” or “like” too much. Those are called “filler words” and can distract the person you’re talking to.

Open an account

If you get the job, you’ll need a safe place to keep the money you earn. Ask your parents to help you set up an account. Some accounts are designed specifically for youth to help those under age 18 manage their money.

Pay yourself first

When you get your first paycheck, you may want to spend it all on new clothes or going out with your friends. But, make sure you pay yourself first. You worked hard for your money and it’s important to save it. Keep some money from each paycheck in a savings account that you can use in the future to buy your first car or help pay for college.

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