2nd Apr 2018

Part-time Jobs for Teenagers: A Complete Guide


As a mum, you know that what your kids do now will have important ramifications for their future. If you’re hoping to set your kids up to have good opportunities in adulthood, the time to get started is now. Teenagers are at the perfect age to begin working at a part-time job. There are numerous benefits to holding down a job as a teen, including the development of a positive work ethic, an understanding of a workplace, and, of course, that wonderful benefit of making their own money.

This guide is designed to help you and your teenager find the very best part-time job for them. Which jobs are best for teenagers? Which part-time jobs will be best for building work ethic? Which jobs look great on a resume? And how does my teen find a job? We answer all these questions and more. Read on and get ready!

Why a part-time Job?

Perhaps you’re not sure if your teen should even get a part-time job. Let’s look at some of the facts.

U.S study found that students who worked part-time 20 hours per week in their final year of school, ended up with annual earnings that, 6-9 years after graduation, were 20% higher compared to those of students who hadn’t worked.

  • Money for Fun, Money for Savings

For your teen, the most attractive aspect of a part-time job is probably pay day. After all, that’s the primary motivator for all of us: making money to support our families and our lifestyle. As a teenager, earning their first wage can be exciting. When they receive their money, they can use it for fun activities or for new items such as clothes and video games.

But earning that first pay cheque also represents a great opportunity to learn about savings and overall financial management. Your teen is likely to see very quickly just how fast money can be spent. The wise earner will begin to realise the importance of smart money management. This is when lessons on savings, budgeting, and more come into play. It’s never too early to start building these valuable financial skills, so gaining them through the real-world experience of a part-time job is a great plan.

Your teen may be especially interested in learning how to budget through various mobile apps. They love their phones; show them how to mix work and play. Here are a few of the most popular budgeting apps out there.

  • Building Connections

Is it ever too soon to start making connections in the career field? Nope. While your teen’s first job is likely to be a casual role, it’s true that there are always solid connections to be made. And today, there are so many ways to keep in touch via social media, that a connection could last for a long while.

Students lucky enough to find part-time jobs in their chosen career field should be especially aware of the possibility of building connections. The same is true of those students who may be planning to enter the full-time workforce directly after leaving school.

  • Workplace Knowledge From the Start

With every role comes new information and skills to learn, but there are certain precepts that hold true in nearly all workplaces. A person can begin to pick these up from their very first job, and this can serve them well later on.

If your teenager gets a part-time job, they will start to see right away how a workplace operates. They’ll discover the inner workings of businesses; they’ll observe the hierarchies and structure of management and supervisors; they will identify differences in the work ethics of their colleagues (some strong, some not-so-strong). There’s an endless list of skills that can be gleaned via the first job. Even a less-than-positive experience can be valuable, showing kids what they perhaps don’t want from their future employment, perhaps spurring them on to look for new paths or career options.

  • Teaches a Good Work-Life Balance

Life is about balance. Your teens will likely begin discovering this through the balance of leisure time and schoolwork, but having a part-time job can take it one step further. A part-time job is a great way to slowly move into the working world, and it will immediately introduce concepts such as time management and prioritising activities.

Person walking up stairs

A part-time job can soften that adulthood transition a bit more.

  • Eases the Transition into Adulthood

Working is an essential part of being an adult member of society. A part-time job could be key to helping your teens ease into adulthood, or as the kids say these days, into ‘adulting.’

This is a very positive aspect of part-time work, as the transition from full-time school to full-time work or to higher education can be quite jarring for some teens. A part-time job could pave the way towards balancing work and play and introducing them slowly into the ‘real world’ of adults.

  • Can Spark New Interests or Career Paths

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of working part-time is that it can introduce teens to different ideas. Working in a retail shop, for instance, could reveal a special interest in business. This could alter your teen’s career track, encouraging them to pursue business when they might not have previously considered doing so. Working in various jobs will showcase the possibilities out there, which could have a major impact on your teen’s future.

  • Creates Humility

On a very basic level, getting a job as a teenager is valuable because it teaches your kids all about hard work. A lot of jobs out there are tough. When your kids take on one of these roles, it demonstrates just how hard the average person works. It gives an inside look into the busy environment of a grocery store, or the challenges of customer service in a popular clothing shop. This can instil in them a sense of respect for those in the retail and service industries, plus a touch of humility, as they see what it takes to get the job done.

  • A Smart Use of Free Time

Free time is a wonderful thing. But with too much on their hands, kids grow bored or even get into trouble. A part-time job is a perfect solution for giving your teens an outlet for those spare hours. Extracurricular activities are good for this too, with their own set of intrinsic benefits.

  • Boost Their Confidence

Without a doubt, working yields confidence. When your teen acquires new skills, learns to successfully operate electronic systems or other equipment, or when they’re told “good work” by a manager, this creates a wonderful confidence boost. Your teenager develops faith in their own abilities, which translates to all other areas of life. Want to raise a go-getter? A part-time job could help.

  • Increase their Marketable Skills

Finally, on a very practical level, working in a part-time role can add to your teen’s skillset. There are hard skills associated with whatever the job may be (handling cash, for instance in a retail role), but there are soft skills, too, such as communication, teamwork, or problem-solving. Both hard and soft skills are excellent resume-builders and will help ensure future success in the job market.

The Best part-time Jobs for Teens

Now that we’ve examined the various benefits of part-time work, you and your teen may want to start looking into possible job opportunities. There are heaps of jobs that teenagers can do, and there may be some you haven’t considered. Here’s a few of the best:

  • Dog Walker
    Is your neighbourhood full of energetic canines? Your teen could earn some extra cash by taking these dogs for a walk.
  • Babysitter
    Babysitting is a top way for teens to earn money. It can be done on an as-needed basis, and often pays quite well!
  • Cinema Attendant
    Cinemas are a fun place for teens to work. There are often other teens employed there as well, and it’s an environment with a lot going on. Plus, free movies?!
  • Cashier
    A Cashier role is great for teaching valuable cash-handling and customer service skills. Cashiers are needed at a variety of businesses.
  • Stocking Shelves
    For those less interested in customer service, stocking shelves is a prime position. This is a job that demands hard work and some heavy lifting, and teaches strong work ethic all the same.
  • House Sitter
    If your teens are looking to make just occasional money, house sitting could be an excellent gig. Watching the homes of friends and neighbours while they are on holiday, your teen could water the plants and earn a few extra dollars.
  • Dishwasher
    Dishwashers are an integral part of so many operations. This is a wonderful first job for any teenager, showing them how every role is valuable and necessary.
  • Barista
    Making coffee is a fun first job in customer service/food service. As a bonus, being a barista is kind of hip.
  • Waiter/Waitress
    Waiting tables can be hard work, but it’s a job that many teens (and adults) enjoy.
  • Car Wash Attendant
    There’s definitely something satisfying about seeing dirty vehicles get cleaned to a sparkle. And earning money at the same time? Perfect.
  • Lawn Care
    Your teen could work part-time with a local lawn care company, or go solo. Every lawn needs mowing in those wetter months.
  • Retail
    Working in a shop is a remarkable way to gain job skills. Depending on the type of shop, it could be a role quite aligned with your child’s career goals, too.
  • Fast Food
    Finally, don’t forget jobs at fast food restaurants. These are a staple for part-time jobs for teens, and with good reason. These jobs, particularly at places such as Macca’s, are known for their excellent training and their positive work environments.

Get Creative

Encourage the young entrepreneur in your teen. If the job they want doesn’t exist, let them create it. They could teach a skill or a class in something they love, such as dance, crafts, or cooking. As they gather students, they’ll be doing what they enjoy plus earning an income. Is your kid a computer whizz? They could teach basic computer skills to neighbours for a small fee. A great way to build their own resume and teaching abilities and help others at the same time.

What About the Family Business?

Your kids don’t strictly have to be employed outside the home to gain the benefits of working. If you have a family business, it might be a good idea for them to help out with this enterprise.

Studies have shown that those teens who worked year-round for their family business between the ages of 14 to 15 had a better relationship with their parents, which continued to improve even more as they turned 16 and 17. The same study revealed that those working for a family business had fewer incidents of depression (age 14-15) and higher self-esteem (age 16-17). These psychological benefits can last a lifetime.

How to Land that First Job

Now your teen is ready to go out and land that job. Congratulations to them on starting the search. To help make the process as smooth as possible, here are a few pro tips.

Finding the Job

Your teen should investigate all the local places where jobs are likely to be found. But they don’t need to sit around and wait for something to appear. Social media is a great tool for job seeking. Encourage your teen to post on Facebook or another platform advertising their job search. You never know who might be able to refer them to a part-time role, or just have an inside scoop on which local businesses are currently hiring.

Speaking of social media, it never hurts to remind your teens that nothing shared online is 100% private. It’s important to be aware of what they are posting on social media. Potential employers do often look at applicants’ social media profiles, and anything particularly unseemly could cost them a job.

Reminders for teens: Be prudent and respectful online. And when it doubt, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see!


Every interview should be viewed as a fantastic opportunity to practise interview skills. Let your teen know it’s normal and okay to be nervous. Help them prepare for the interview by reviewing some interview tips and tricks. You can also suggest a proper interview outfit and run through some practise questions with them. Here are a few resources you can show your teen:

Practice Job Interview Questions for Teens

The 30 Best Tips to Prepare for an Interview

16 Job Interview Tips and Hacks That are Genius!

Tips for Rocking Their First Job

So they’ve got the job. This is an exciting time! No doubt, your teen can’t wait to start earning money.

As with most jobs, a great deal will be learned ‘on the job’ itself, but to do their best, your teen can rely on a few key tips.

  1. Be on time. In fact, be a little early.
  2. Listen, listen, listen.
  3. Ask questions. No questions are dumb questions.
  4. Remember you won’t know everything all at once.
  5. Have a positive, can-do attitude.

These 5 obvious essentials will serve anyone well when starting a new position. Job success involves listening and asking the right questions. With these facets under their belt, your teen will be primed for great work performance.

Building Work Ethic

For many parents, the primary motivator for their teens to find part-time work is so that they can begin to develop a strong work ethic. A job is definitely a beneficial method for learning how to dive in and get tasks done. But even aside from a job, you can encourage positive work habits in your children.

At home, the whole family can share responsibility for chores. This emphasises the importance of teamwork and shows how many individuals are necessary for a smooth, well-functioning home. This idea translates directly to employment, demonstrating how each role in the workplace helps contribute to the overall running of the business.

In everything, parents can also serve as living, breathing examples of a strong work ethic. Your teenager is highly observant, watching how you behave and how you respond to various aspects of life. Your attitude towards work can have a major influence on them. It’s vital that your teen witnesses the value of work at home. This will absolutely impact their current and future approach toward work---and be instrumental in building their work ethic.

Some Concerns to Consider---and How To Fight Them

Are there any downsides to teenagers having part-time jobs? Possibly. But with the right approach, you can avoid the biggest hurdles.

  • Difficulties Balancing Schoolwork
    If your child is working during the school term, they may have to balance their work hours with time devoted to homework. It’s important to encourage your teen not to work too much (set limits if you need to), so that they can continue to prioritise their education. Their schoolwork should never suffer at the expense of work, either, so if a balance cannot be reached, perhaps it is better to put off work until the holidays.
  • Added Stress
    The pressures of school and a job can be taxing on a teenager. Similar to the point above, be sure your child is finding a healthy, workable balance in these various aspects of their life. However, stress is a natural part of life. This could be a fine opportunity for your teenager to learn smart ways to deal with these stresses and how to reduce or eliminate them.
  • Possible Disenchantment with Work
    A third potential problem with part-time work for teens is that they might possibly have a negative experience, one which pervades their overall attitude towards work and a career. This is most likely to happen if they have a job that they greatly dislike or if they are in a situation with a difficult boss or an unpleasant working environment. The first step is to help them find a better situation, primarily by seeking jobs in areas they might enjoy. It’s also important to stress that all jobs are different, and many people have challenges with their first role. This should not cloud their opinion on the workforce overall.

Best Extracurricular Activities for Teens

Perhaps a part-time job is not right for your teenager at this moment. That’s ok, too. There are undeniable benefits from part-time work, but many of the same advantages can be gained from extracurricular activities as well.

Sports are a prime example of an activity that promotes teamwork, demands effort, and teaches skills such as time management. Other suggested extracurricular activities include performing arts, clubs and societies, volunteering, or the student newspaper.

Whatever your teen chooses to participate in, it’s important that they become involved in something. Not only will it pave for them a better future, but it will make their school years that much more meaningful and memorable.

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