Ten Smart Ideas For Your Teen’s First Job


Looking for ideas for your teen’s first job? We’ve got you covered.

My kids are out of school, and Mikael, my high schooler, had been job hunting so he could have some extra pocket change for the summer and was able to secure a part-time job. If your teen is like mine and is itching for a little freedom and some cash to spend on the weekend with friends, it might be time to consider encouraging them to find a part-time job.

Gaining work experience during high school is incredibly valuable and will quickly help your teen come to terms with the realities of the working world and the value of a dollar, which most teens don’t seem to understand until they start earning it themselves. However, finding a place willing to hire teens can be tough.

Depending on local labor laws in your area, here are a few smart ideas for your teen’s very first job:

10 Smart Ideas for Your Teen's First Job

Find a babysitting gig. 

Babysitting is a fun and easy way for teens to earn a little money and is a great job for a teen’s first job. While your teen may benefit from a CPR course, there are generally no requirements to start babysitting—just a positive demeanor, a love of spending time with kids, and a good sense of responsibility. Learn how to choose the right babysitter for your kids.

Try your hand at lawn work. 

Regardless of the time of year, there’s always work to be done outside. In the spring and summer, teens can offer to mow the lawn, mulch gardens, or pull weeds. In the fall, collecting the fallen leaves can help rake in some serious cash. And in the winter? Those driveways need to be shoveled!

Become a dog walker. 

If your teen loves spending time with animals, walking dogs could be the perfect part-time gig for them. See if they can sign on with a local dog-walking agency or have them strike out on their own and advertise their services through Craigslist or local flyers.

Teach others through tutoring. 

Your teen can undoubtedly help tutor students younger than themselves in reading, math, science, or many other subjects. See what material your teen feels comfortable tutoring in, then post some flyers at your local library and other places where parents of young kids are likely to spot them.

Bus tables at a local restaurant. 

Many restaurants will hire younger teens to bus tables, with the potential to become waiters or waitresses once they reach the appropriate age (which depends on your state labor laws). While this one isn’t a glamorous job, it’s an excellent way for your teen to learn what work feels like! For a detailed understanding of what being a waiter or waitress entails, including waitress responsibilities, Oysterlink offers a great way to get a comprehensive view of the role.

Sign on with a retail store

Many retail stores (like the ones you’ll find in the mall) will hire teens as young as sixteen to stock the sales floor, assist customers, and staff the registers. Send your teen on a trip through a nearby shopping plaza to collect applications; there’s a decent chance your teen will land something!

Car wash assistant. 

Car washes—the good ones that let an actual person wash your vehicle instead of a machine—can be an excellent place for your teen to find some work experience and earn a few bucks. It also helps if you can detail a car. Here are some detailing tips that may help.

Sell something. 

Teenagers can think outside the box when it comes to earning a part-time income. If your teen is crafty or good at design work, they may be able to earn a few bucks making and selling crafts or artwork. Your local flea market (or even your local buy/sell group on Facebook) can be a great place to turn a profit here.

Camp Counselor. 

If your teen spends their summers away at camp, consider letting them combine work and play by becoming a camp counselor. While the idea of sending them away to work for a summer may sound scary, many of their expenses will be covered by camp, and they’ll come home with a pocketful of cash—hopefully enough to hold them through the start of the school year!


Did your teen grow up playing a sport like soccer? If so, they may be able to snag a part-time job acting as a referee for local games. Reach out to the local recreational and club leagues in your area to see what options exist!

In Conclusion

Finding your first job can be tough and scary. Give your teen some of these suggestions and see if they bring any inspiration! If not, see what ideas your teen has around where they can find part-time work. They may know something you don’t through their circle of friends.

Regardless, just getting out and looking for work is a great way for your teen to learn about taking initiative, being responsible, and managing their time. And those are lessons that will last a lifetime!

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