Working students also deserve to be mentioned. Instead of relying on their parents’ money for their everyday personal expenses, they instead learn to earn their own money as early as possible. They know they cannot rely on their parents forever.
Part-time labor and internships are a great way for a teenager to sharpen his/her skills that will later prove useful in whatever field he/she aims to embark on. For example, a part-time job diagnosing computer viruses and malware will someday be useful for someone who is aiming to become a cyber-security specialist.
There are several online job sites that are tailored for teens, though regular job sites also offer special sections for jobs for teens. It is recommended that in this climate where unemployment looms larger than ever, it is better for a teenager to subscribe to many job hunting sites and apply for many different jobs. However, it is very important for the teen applicant to commit to every job application being made, especially attending interviews. A teen missing a job interview without prior notification and without a valid reason will prompt HR managers to never consider hiring him in the future, dampening his chances of future employment.
Referrals are also a great way to snag part-time jobs. A teen may never know that a nearby café is hiring temporary baristas until a close friend refers him to that job.
Since teenagers are mostly under legal age, it is very important to consider child labor laws. The law that governs everything about teenagers doing paid jobs is the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is also complemented with several state laws that are more specific with their stipulations. In general, a youngster helping out his father at their family farm is perfectly legal. But for non-agricultural jobs, the minimum recommended age is 12.
Teens below the age of 16 can be employed in a select number of occupations with the following conditions. First, the limit is three hours per working day and 18 hours per working week. The exception is during breaks, where the typical 8-hours-a-day and 40-hours-a-week routine can be applied. Second, the teen must not work beyond 7 pm during school days and 9 pm during breaks.
For those who are asking what jobs teens under 16 can take on, here is a general list. Note that aspiring teen workers should never use tools that require a great amount of physical effort to operate.
- Newspaper delivery man/woman
- TV/movie actor/actress
- Store clerk/cashier
- Store bagger
- Computer programmer
- Office worker
- Manual car washer
- Camp counselor
- Golf caddy
Teens at the age of 16 to 18 can work unlimited hours. They can also take on practically any job except the following, which are hazardous:
- Explosives maker
- Forest firefighter
- Metal worker
- Hoisting apparatus operator
- Butcher or meat processor
- Compactor operator
- Paper machine operator
- Tile and brick maker
- Power tools operator
- Roof worker
Many of these jobs employ the use of machines which can prove dangerous to anyone mishandling them, especially teens.
Besides the age requirement, working youths must also obtain certifications as required by law. There are two places where these can be acquired: the school’s guidance office and the state’s Department of Labor.
There is a reason why there are limits in working hours. Even seemingly light jobs such as editors can require a great amount of meticulous effort, though not in the physical sense. As such, teenagers should learn never to overexert themselves all in the name of extra money. Risking one’s health just for a juicy overtime pay will prove detrimental in the long term.
Those who do jobs for teens should use the experience as their dress rehearsal for the real corporate world. As such, they should prepare themselves. Besides searching in online job sites and personal referrals and being punctual in job interviews, they should also train themselves to optimize their resumes and cover letters and observe proper dress codes.