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Tips for Teens
If you’re a teenager looking for a job, good for you! There are some things you should be aware of, though, before beginning your search.
First of all, if you are a teenager in the United States and are looking for any job other than agricultural work (which is pretty much everything except working on a farm), you must be at least 14 years old. Fourteen and fifteen year olds are limited to working three hours per day and a maximum of 18 hours per week during the school year, and are allowed to work eight hours per day and up to 40 hours per week during the summer. You can work until 7:00 p.m. while attending school and up to 9:00 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
Sixteen and seventeen year olds are not restricted to numbers of hours or times of day in their jobs but have some limits imposed against working in conditions that are considered hazardous, such as operating a meat slicer or a power saw.
Exemptions Within the Law
Children of any age in the United States are allowed to perform jobs in businesses owned entirely by their parents and are allowed to deliver newspapers to consumers.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be an actor or other performer on stage, screen, or the radio, you’re also exempt from the Child Labor Laws.
Laws vary from place to place regarding the necessity of having working papers for job eligibility. You’ll want to check with your school or other local jurisdiction about that.
Once you’ve looked at your options and decided what you want to do, the opportunities for teens to find fun and rewarding jobs are boundless.
Do you like working with children? Think about babysitting or working with kids at summer camps or in day care centers.
Do you prefer pets? Look for opportunities to pet-sit while neighbors or on vacation, or think about starting your own dog walking service.
In your own neighborhood, there are always lawns needing mowing, houses needing painting, and gardens to be maintained. Others opportunities for teen jobs outdoors can be found at local parks and zoos.
The food service industry is booming right now, and teens can often find jobs in restaurants that don’t start with McD. Chefs are the latest (very highly compensated) celebrities, and it’s never too early to get your foot in the door of the hospitality industry.
The most important thing is to start by telling everyone you know that you’re looking for a job and to prepare yourself well for the interviewing process. You’ll want to look professional – neat slacks and a tucked-in shirt, or a skirt or dress that isn’t too short, hair neatly groomed, and makeup and perfume kept light. Be sure to carefully read and complete employment applications.
The process of searching for that all-important first job needn’t be daunting and can often be the start of a brilliant career!