What To Do for Teens Who Need Help with Getting a Job

My son will be 17 in a few weeks and I honestly never thought he would need help with getting a job.  When I was a teen, I walked into the grocery store at the age of 15 and was hired immediately.  I had been babysitting and delivering newspapers for years.  I had absolutely no trouble finding employment the minute I started looking for it. Well, fast forward 30 years and now we live in a major metropolitan area.  There are thousands and probably hundreds of thousands of teens out looking for jobs.  Not to mention all the unemployed adults around here.  So far, he has put in applications at multiple grocery stores, Starbucks, and the local  nursery. I have inquired at multiple places that require a person to be 18 before they hire them.  Employee insurance is cheaper at 18 than for a minor but come on….my 17 year old can sit behind the desk at your auto parts store just fine.  We are both getting frustrated but I have decided to try to find a few ways that *I* can help him find a job since this is clearly not going to be an easy process.  If you have a teen, here are a few tips when they need help with getting a job.

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What To Do for Teens Who Need Help with Getting a Job

What To Do for Teens Who Need Help with Getting a Job

Help your teen make a resume

Most jobs don’t require a resume, however, I am starting to think that my son and I are going to make one up over Christmas break anyhow.  For most of the places he has applied, he just fills out an online application and hit’s ‘submit’.  He is now one of a hundred or so teenagers who has his application floating around on a store’s employment database. There is absolutely nothing to help distinguish HIM from anyone else.  I want to help him make up a resume that includes work, school, internship, extracurricular, and volunteer activities.  We will deliver that to the actual store manager of each location he applies.  Will it help?  Who knows.  But it can’t hurt, right?

Walk them through the application process

All but one of the places my son has applied so far has had an online application process.  There are questions about availability, his social security number (which he doesn’t know yet), and a ton of other questions that he has needed guidance for when it comes to filling out.  For example, he has ZERO work experience.  But when he filled out his application for the grocery store, for relevant experience I told him put down that we volunteer once a month stocking shelves at our local food bank.  He might not have thought of that by himself.  Of course, we are still waiting on the call back from the grocery stores….

Coach them with Sample Questions

My son is not the most outgoing or confident kid around.  He is not going to be able to look someone in the eye, shake hands and answer personal questions without a little bit of coaching.  Before we walked into Starbucks to talk to the manager, I tried to help guide him through sample questions and have him introduce himself to me in a confident voice.  Some kids are better at personal interactions than others but this is definitely one that my son needs some work on. We will be reviewing these student job interview questions the next time we go.

Help them pick out a decent outfit

While I am not buying my kid a pinstriped suit to wear, I do think we need to invest in a few new collared shirts.  Don’t let your teen show up to a potential job in ripped jeans and a stained t-shirt.  We have the nice jeans/dress pants covered but he owns exactly ONE shirt with a collar.  I think it’s time for us to do a little bit of shopping in order to put his best foot forward during job interviews.

Encourage follow-ups

This is the hardest one for my teen to get.  He is just like his father in that he is PHOBIC about the telephone.  He hates using it, even if it’s a friend on the other line Getting him to call the manager of a store to follow up on an application has been like pulling teeth.

Spread the word for them

I am starting to despair that my kid will ever actually get a job.  And his time is limited when it comes to searching for one.  I have started asking at every place I walk in whether they are hiring.  I am about to consider taking out an ad in our neighborhood newspaper and offering one able-bodied, slightly annoying teenager to help with yard work and heavy lifting.  If you have a community bulletin board, keep your eyes peeled for job opportunities for your child.  You never know when you might stumble across a vacancy that your teen could fill.

I really and truly never thought that my kid would need  help with getting a job.  While I want him to have enough time for his school work, I also want him to start saving money for college. I’m very lucky that my son isn’t a ‘Can I have money for….’ kind of kid but he still needs to learn how to earn, save and budget with his own income.

Have any other tips for teens who need help with getting a job?




Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician with two teens, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She has a BS in Microbiology but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging full time. She currently deals with emotional teens, suburban politics, and middle aged metabolism while sharing her opinions in an honest and down to earth fashion on her blog.

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  1. Great tips! my son is 13 and I'm already wondering how hard it will be for him.
  2. It is so hard for teens to get jobs nowadays. I remember having 3 jobs in high school and being able to pay for things on my own was such a good feeling.
  3. Things are so different now when it comes to finding a job. I've heard LinkedIn is a good place to post as well (and also connect with people). Hope he finds a job soon!
  4. These are such a good tips! I remember when I was looking for my first job- my dad told me to fill out the application and hand it to the manager and ask if they were available for an interview (I was dressed in my best at the ripe old age of 15!). He had me make follow up calls two days later and you know what? I was always hired with this method. I still use the follow up method and if I am hitting hte pavement, I hand my resume directly to the big boss. Of course, it's all a bit different now but it's the little courtesies that make a HUGE impact
    • I always tell my son to speak to a manager as well. I just wish were didn't have quite so many teens out looking for a job in our area!
  5. Teaching teens how to do a resume and application is so important. It can be hard for experienced adults to do properly!
  6. Ourfamilyworld says:
    This is such an useful tips! It can also a way to support and to encourage you teen to get a job.
  7. A resume and practice with the interview process are super helpful. That will help them long term for job hunting for years to come.

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