One of the biggest goals I have for myself is to go to college without taking out any loans. Considering how much tuition costs, that’s going to be tough! So my first step was to get to work.
I already had a bit of work experience from when I saved up $1,000 for my emergency savings. But those jobs were working with and for family members — not at actual businesses. The idea of interviewing, making a resume, and filling out applications seemed daunting. But seemed scariest was deciding where I wanted to work.
That’s why I started searching for job ideas for teens like me, who want to focus on school and activities but make some money in their free time. Here are the top 3 places you can get a job at, plus a few tips on how to get the positions.
3 Places to Get Your First Job
Your Favorite Restaurant:
One of my favorite restaurants is Chick-fil-A. Everyone that works there always seems happy and friendly. Plus, they’re closed on Sundays, and the food is AMAZING. I was also told that the company provides scholarships to high-performing teens headed to college. Suddenly, I was seeing all the perks of working behind the counter or back in a kitchen!
I asked the manager of my area’s Chick-fil-A, Joe Mayo, what he looks for in teens applying to work for a restaurant. He explained that restaurants want teens who love serving others. They can see that in your leadership roles, extracurricular activities, and energy at the interview. He also likes to see patience and persistence, since tons of applications come in every day! The bottom line: don’t get discouraged if you’re not selected for an interview for a few weeks or even a month.
A Local Retail Store:
One of my biggest hobbies is rock climbing, so it’s no wonder that I spend a bunch of my free time in a local sporting goods retail store. I thought retail jobs would require you to have at least some experience in the field. But REI manager Ken Bevil told me that’s actually not always true.
Instead, he gave me some great tips on what it was like to work retail and how I could stand out if I applied. For example, I was really excited to hear about all of the training experience that REI team members go through regardless of experience. Instead of having to do more because you’re a teen, you become part of a team with skills in sales, service and more! Having a passion for what you’re selling and making a great impression are great starting points. Bevil also encourages paying more attention to how you can best serve customers.
One of my other passions is talking about personal finance, so it should be no surprise that I was interested in what it took to work at a bank or credit union. Gretchen Quisenberry, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at 121 Financial Credit Union, helped me understand that while banks may be intimidating, teens could get a great work foundation in entry-level positions such as teller or IT specialist. Working at a credit union is ideal if you plan on majoring in Finance or Business. Many institutions also offer tuition reimbursement, meaning you can get great experience and go to college without paying a ton in tuition! Additionally, if you end up loving the job and prove yourself to be a hard worker, you can be promoted from within.
Finding a first job that fits your busy lifestyle can be tough, especially when you don’t have much or any real work experience. However, there are many businesses that look for teens that stand out. By showing you believe in good service, are well-rounded, and enthusiastic about the company, you can find a position in retail, restaurants, and credit unions!
What jobs seem most interesting to you?