Finding jobs for teens can be tricky. Teens have limited hours of availability due to school and extracurricular activities, and there are strict age restrictions that can stop teens from being allowed to work.
Both of my kids were lucky to start working with our family company during school breaks. This gave them some experience to put on their resume before looking for more fitting part-time jobs for students.
What Jobs Can a Teen Apply For?
1. Fast Food:
Fast food is an obvious first choice. They have longer hours which accommodates teens’ availability. Teens learn about customer service and how to handle conflict. They also learn communication skills and kitchen safety skills. Bonus points: They get a discount on their food.
Getting a job at the mall is ideal for a lot of teenagers. Teens learn customer service skills, how to handle conflict and sales skills.
Getting a job in a restaurant can lead to great opportunities. A lot of my daughter’s friends started off as hosts or dishwashers. They are now working as servers or bartenders collecting great tips while in university.
4. Grocery Stores:
Grocery stores are a great place for teens to work. There are so many different departments that they can work with customers or work behind the scenes. Whatever they’re most comfortable with.
5. Coffee Shops:
Coffee shops like Tim Hortons, Robins Donuts, etc are perfect for teens. They’re similar to fast food but less greasy.
6. Movie Theatres:
If you have a local movie theatre this would be a fun place for teens to work!
7. Sports Stores:
If your teen is athletic, this would be a perfect opportunity for them. They can learn customer service and sales skills while getting paid to talk about their favourite sports and recommendations all shift long!
8. Theme Parks:
If you have a local theme park and your teen loves being around people, having fun, and being in the sun, this is a great job for them! The downside is most are seasonal, but it’s a great opportunity for school breaks.
9. Pet Stores:
If your teen loves animals and has experience caring for them, working at a pet store would be a great part-time job!
10. Ice Cream Shop:
Working in ice cream shops would be perfect for teens looking for work during the summer.
The best website for looking for pt work for students is indeed.ca. Both of my kids were able to navigate it easily, it held their resumes, notified them to follow up with potential employees, and had tons of positions available.
How Does Having a Part-Time Job Benefit Teens?
As an employer and a mom of teens, I’m a firm believer in teens having part-time jobs. One of my favourite quotes is “Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. It’s life, get over it.” – Patrick Murphy – Alabama. Fully aware this is about coaching, but it applies to part-time jobs as well. Kids need to get used to following directions and taking orders. It’s life. No matter what position you are in, you’re answering to someone.
Here are some other reasons part-time jobs for teens are beneficial:
1. Creates Responsibility:
Having a part-time job makes teens responsible. If given the right opportunity, they’re responsible for getting to and from their work. I absolutely will pick my kids up from a shift if it’s a late shift, but for the most part, it’s their responsibility. They’re given tasks by their employer that they are required to complete, and their employer isn’t going to baby them. They also have to navigate their schedules and handle conflicts on their own.
2. Understanding Money:
One of my favourite reasons for my teens having jobs is that they finally understand the value of money. When they get their first check I excitedly ask if they’re going to buy an expensive item they’ve been begging me for. Both times my kids looked at me with horror and said “I’m not spending over half my paycheck on that!”. This leads to me asking why I should be expected to spend my paycheck on that. Then I take it a step further. I break down the math so they can see how many hours they would have to work to afford that item. Both of my kids are die-hard savers now.
3. Getting started on understanding taxes:
When tax season rolls around I show my kids how to do their taxes on Turbotax. Just because an employer isn’t supposed to remove the tax, doesn’t mean they don’t. Have them put through their T4s (I’m Canadian) and see if they get a refund. My daughter had a refund her first year, and she was pretty excited about it. This shows them the basic steps of taxes so when they’re adults, they have some knowledge.
I also make my kids track their hours and show them how to double-check it on their paystubs. It’s not a secret that some big companies will short-change students on hours. They know kids won’t check. I run payroll for my company and I’m constantly stressing to my employees to double-check hours. I’m human and can make mistakes.
4. It keeps kids busy:
Busy kids tend to stay out of trouble. Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs help keep them focused and out of trouble.
5. They teach natural consequences:
Sports, schools, and parents teach consequences, but not natural ones. Work teaches natural consequences.
- You’re late too many times? You could be fired
- Do you miss a shift? You’re written up
- Do you want to go to a party and think you can stumble into work 3 hours later half drunk with a hangover waiting to happen? Good luck working on the non-stop beeping fry machines for 8 hours straight! I promise you won’t do that again (that’s my own personal experience from when I was 16 working at McDonald’s. It’s been decades and I still remember the nightmare that was January 1, 2000).
- They learn time management. From when to be at work to when their breaks are/how long they are.
Your teen is at the stage where they are taking baby steps to adulting. This is a great step. They can learn new skills and how to navigate the employee/employer relationship while having you close by to advise. This is crucial in their development.
I don’t recommend construction as a first job. Construction sites aren’t like normal work environments and can lead to confusion if your teen doesn’t remain in the industry.
I DO recommend having your child work in construction before grade 12 if they are considering not going to college or university. There is a misguided notion that Construction is a great alternative to secondary education. It IS a great alternative, and I actively recommend it. However, Construction isn’t for everyone. It’s hard, dirty, gruelling on your body, and long hours. I have had a ton of University students work for us in the summer as they’re considering quitting school and just doing construction as it pays well. After a month, they decide construction isn’t for them and chose to return to school. The trades that pay well require physical strength and high intelligence. Construction isn’t the easier option. It’s just another option in the long list of amazing options we can choose from for employement.
Do you have any other suggestions for jobs for teens, or why it’s important for them to work? I’d love to hear about them in the comment section!
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