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How do I get a job at 14 years old?

My name is Katy, and I'm 14 years old. I want to get a summer job. #job-search


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John’s Answer

Katy, there are only certain jobs you can do and hours you can work. Check the Texas Child Labor Law regulations to see how they apply to you. In order to work legally in some states, workers under eighteen may need to obtain working papers, which are officially called "Employment/Age Certificates." If your state requires them, you'll need to show them to an employer when you're hired.

FIVE TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR FIRST JOB

High school is a busy time for most students. You’re likely to be juggling your commitments to school, home, and extracurriculars already. Would it be crazy to add another responsibility to the mix? Holding down a job in addition to the rest of your responsibilities might be a risk, but it isn’t without benefits, both financial and otherwise. From the most practical standpoint, having a job means having an income. In addition, a job can provide you with some real world experience that you otherwise wouldn’t get at such a young age. You will gain perspective on managing multiple commitments, be held responsible in a professional capacity, and even learn more about your future aspirations.

1) CHECK WITH YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
Your High School Guidance Office staff should be able to help you with job listings and job-search advice. There may be a bulletin board with job postings, a notebook with listings, and/or an online job board. They might also have internship opportunities, which may (or may not) be paid, but will give you valuable experience.

2) WRITE YOUR RESUME – Even though it may not be required by employers, a resume can help you stand out from the competition. When determining what to put on your resume, think specifically about your extracurriculars and volunteer history. What have you accomplished that indicates that you’re responsible, reliable, and have leadership skills? Regardless of what you choose to highlight on your resume, be sure to include your educational history: your GPA, current class rank, expected date of graduation, etc. Also, try to keep your resume to only one page. Employers like resumes to be concise and easy to skim.

3) JOB SEARCH ONLINE – Check websites that list local job openings. You can use the job search engines like Indeed.com to search by keyword part-time and your location to find job listings in your city or town. Note that it may take some time for you to hear back after you’ve submitted your application. The standard time to hear back is two to three weeks, but it could be shorter or longer depending on the employer. While you’re waiting, stay calm, apply to other jobs, or start thinking about alternative plans like volunteer work and unpaid internships. Your employer may ask you for an interview. If this happens, don’t freak out and overthink it. The employer is already interested in you — they just want to ask you some questions in person to gauge whether you are the right fit for the job. At the same time, be sure to prepare for the interview. Show up in professional attire, think briefly about how you would answer the most common interview questions, and prepare informed questions for the interviewer on the position that couldn’t be answered by a quick look through the company or organization’s web site.

4) NETWORK – Many jobs come through referrals from people you know, so it's important to let everyone know you're looking for a job. This is where your parents and their friends, teachers, coaches and other adults can be a great resource. Be sure to mention the kind of work you'd like to do, but don't turn down an opportunity just because it's not the perfect job. It might lead to the job you really want.

5) BE FLEXIBLE – Sometimes a job might not be exactly what you're looking for, but it puts you in contact with people or organizations that might help you in the future. Also, don't be too quick to turn down a volunteer position as your first job. Sometimes the best compensation is experience - and future employers love to see volunteer experience on your resume.

Don't give up if you can't find a job right away Katy. A job search takes persistence and patience. It's important to keep trying, because a potential employer will notice if you have the determination and the drive to find a job.

John recommends the following next steps:

Indeed – https://www.indeed.com/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/
Google – https://careers.google.com/jobs/
Joblist – https://www.joblist.com/
Glassdoor – https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/

Thank You Christian. “Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” — Natalie Portman John Frick

Thank You Katrina. “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck John Frick

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Chartae'’s Answer

Hi Katy,

This is a great question. I have two answers for you.

First, I would say the best thing that you can do is research on what summer internships options are available in your area. You may want to specifically research what summer youth employment programs are offered in your city or surrounding neighborhoods. Given your age, you may find it somewhat challenging to find employment because most companies begin employment for teens at 16. However, it is definitely worth doing research to see what summer youth employment programs are available in your area.

Lastly, depending on your talents, you may find that you can create self-employment for yourself. If you are interested in doing things like babysitting or walking dogs, you may find that in talking to neighbors or friends you could make money doing this. If you have interests in washing cars for example, talking with neighbors and friends would give you the opportunity to explore this.

I hope the options that I gave you will help guide you in your search in employment. Again, it may be difficult to find employment given your age, but in doing some research in what is available in your area, you may find some success in your efforts.

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Zonda’s Answer

Hi Katy,

Let me start by saying I love your motivation - that is always key to any endeavor. By the time I turned 14, I had already worked several jobs. I began by babysitting for family, my parent's friends, and neighbors. I would run errands for a busy-working aunt. I tried my hand with a paper route. I even tutored a young student with a childhood illness. My first real job was for the summer school program in which I was part of maintaining the landscape for my Jr High School over the summer months.

What I am trying to tell you, is that you have to be prepared to explore all the available options to you. Ask family and neighbors if they could use help with errands or household chores. Check with your school for volunteer opportunities, sometimes these lead to paying gigs. At 14, you are a little limited, but don't be discouraged, just look around and see if there is somewhere or someplace you can be useful and ask for a chance. Don't squawk at low paying jobs, try any and everything - just be sure its safe and approved by your parents.

Right now, many parents need a little break in the day for work responsibilities and may like a young, eager person to sit with their children for a while and read, tutor, or just play games with them. Keep a simple resume (you can find an outline on the web) of all your interests and hobbies. Add each new skill or job experience to show your growth and dedication. I hope this gives you some insight.

Best of Luck!!

Zonda recommends the following next steps:

Check with family members and neighbors to find out if they could use help with small errands or household chores.
Try volunteering - you will make new connections and gain new skills.
Be open to all opportunities. This is another way to gain new skills and contacts for future opportunities.
Keep a resume of all your accomplishments to show your differing skills and growth. https://resume.io/templates/simple

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M. Cristina’s Answer

Hi, Katy!

At age 14, you will be limited in terms of which employers will legally be able to hire you, and/or what hours you are allowed to work. While it seems like a bummer, these laws were put in place to prevent child labor abuses, which used to be commonplace in the States generations ago. That being said, it is not impossible to find a job at 14!

What are some of your friends (or other people your age) doing for work? The companies that have hired them will likely be open to hiring another person your age, provided they haven't reached their employment caps. In Massachusetts, the most common job for people your age are front end associates at certain grocery stores: typically, that will be grocery bagging and occasional parking lot attendant tasks (gathering shopping carts, picking up trash, etc.). There may also be seasonal work at places like ice cream stands, but again, different places have different rules about minimum ages. I'm not sure if you have seasonal stands in your area, but where I live, there are places that will have activities like bumper boats, ice cream, hot dogs, etc. just while the weather's warm. They have employed teenagers for specific tasks, so you may have a lot of luck at a place like that.

My first job was a library page; I reshelved books and kept the place tidy for patrons. Occasionally had to "shh" some loud people. It wasn't a glamorous job, but it paid $10/hr which, at the time, might as well have been a million bucks to my young self.

My advice would be to network: Ask around to see who may be hiring seasonally. Your parents may be able to help, if they have friends who may know of places that will hire you for small tasks. If worse comes to worst, you can always start building your resume by volunteering and gaining experience, so next summer, you can improve your chances of landing something really good. It's also best to start looking a little earlier in the season for a summer job; I recommend to the students I work with to start looking in April or so, with the goal of securing a job offer for after the school year is over. The reason for starting early is that a lot of young folks are going to be looking for summer work in June, and by getting your name out there a bit earlier, you will increase your chances of getting hired.

M. Cristina recommends the following next steps:

Apply at places other 14 year olds have been hired.
Check with employers who are open seasonally (e.g. ice cream stands), as they tend to hire teens.
Network: Ask around, have your parents ask around, etc. Word-of-mouth is a very effective way to get connected with jobs.
Start your summer job search at the end of spring to give yourself an edge over other summer job seekers.

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Sydney’s Answer

Hi Katy, that's awesome you want to start working during the summer! The first step would be to check the labor laws around people under the age of 18 working (some states have minimum ages for working in various jobs). If you do meet the age criteria, you can start by asking any local businesses in your town if they're hiring for the summer. A lot of businesses need more help during the summer when people are out and about more, so going into the businesses and asking to speak with someone who would know information on hiring is a good first step. You can find out if they're hiring, what the job would entail/job description, and explain that you're interested and possibly schedule an interview! Of course, now is a different time where many businesses may not be open to the public, but there are definitely options to work even if a store isn't open all day for example. Some other options are babysitting (I did this a lot as a high school student) or helping with yard work / assisting other families now. Hopefully that helps a bit! Good luck!!

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Katrina’s Answer

I love your initiative! As all have said it may be difficult to get a job in your state due to age restrictions with labor laws...BUT there are other ways to work and make some money - you could start your own business - maybe that's yard work or babysitting or dog walking - get creative! Reach out to neighbors and family friends about what services they need and be the supply for the demand! You could create flyers for your new business and call it something catchy like "Katy's Kompany". Good luck and have fun with it!

Also before your set your price for the service - babysitting, dog walking, plant watering, whatever - try to research the going rate in your town so that you can price competitively.

Plus this would be a great resume builder for your future career!

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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Katy,
At age 14, there are usually summer jobs for camp counselors, counselors in training. Look into camps nearby or even your local township usually have employment for teenagers in the summer months for various recreational activity counselors. If you like animals, pet sitting or dog walking are also options. Babysitting if you like to work with kids or tutoring if you are good in a specific subject. Neighborhood social media sites may be a good resource. If you can't find a paying job, volunteering is also a great way to explore different fields and network with others. Opportunities may arise when you least expect it. Best of luck on your search, be persistent, and talk to friends and family.

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Holly’s Answer

Hi Katy!
I recommend looking into the following jobs:
1. Babysitting
2. Pet Sitting
3. Lawn mowing or yard work
4. Help your parents sell old stuff or organize a rummage sale
5. Camp counseling
6. Concessions at local pool

I know it's challenging to make money before you can get a part-time job but these jobs could be a great place to start. Also, if you have any creative hobbies (like painting, jewelry work, etc.) you could attempt to make products for others to purchase from you. A great start would be asking neighbors, family, friends and others if they need help in any of those areas.

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Wendy’s Answer

Due to Labor Laws your options may be more limited. That being said, you could babysit, dog sit or do yard work for your neighbors. My niece has done dog sitting for a few years through Rover. You can also post on your local Nextdoor group for your neighborhood if you have one. Just always be safe and make sure your parents are involved.

Good Luck!! Take some time to have fun this Summer as well!

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Ann’s Answer

Ask your neighbors if they need help around the house - watering plants, mowing the lawn, walking pets, taking care of kids (get a babysitting certificate from Red Cross ), taking care of the house and mail while on vacation or running errands. These are great ways to learn to communicate with adults and learn responsibility. Who know, you may end up starting your own business!

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Dolly’s Answer

Hello, Katy.
When I was 14, all I could think about was having fun, and I'm glad to see that you're so motivated at 14.
I have 2 pieces of advice that I hope will help you.
1. If you want to find something to enrich yourself during the summer, you can participate in volunteer activities in the community or school. You can also discover your ability to help many people.

2.If you are hoping to earn money, ask a family member to help you find the right job and let employers know your actual age to make sure you can work legally.

I hope you have a great summer!

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Anson’s Answer

Hi Katy,
It is difficult to find a job at your age. But if you concern about the future development, I would suggest you to participate in volunteer activities. You will know more about yourself and your abilities/strengths.

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Pamela’s Answer

I am not sure what age you are able to work in your state, but if you are not quite at the minimum age to work in the state, it could be good to think about the type of job you would want next summer. Is it working at a pool, or a bakery, or a babysitting job? Thinking about the skills you would need to get those jobs, and trying to work on them so you are ready to go next summer would be a good first step!

If you are able to work, but don't have the exact experience for the job you want, are you able to fit other life experiences into the job you are looking for? For example, if you want to get a job at a local bakery, and one of the requirements is taking orders over the phone, what do you do in your current day-to-day life that could apply to that skill? Do you help your parents do any shopping, and are able to say you are detail oriented at making lists of what they want, and that could apply to taking someone's order? When you are looking to go into the work force for the first time, or even when switching industries as an adult, you sometimes have to find similar work/life experiences that will translate into simliar skills even if they aren't 100% the same.

Best of luck!

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Charley’s Answer

Like everyone else said, it depends on the labor laws in your state, but when I was your age I was able to get a job working at a restaurant that my family often ate at, because the owner knew my family. I grew up in a small town, and honestly, even when I was an adult there I had success getting jobs by talking with people and letting them know that I was looking.

You might not have a lot of success applying for jobs that are advertised the more traditional way (newspapers, online, etc.) because of your age, but try your luck with finding a summer gig through networking. It's a skill that will serve you well in the long run.

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EmilyAnn’s Answer

It's really great that you're looking to get some work experience! For me getting a job early helped me learn to manage money and have real responsibilities, so props to you. I was in your position a few years ago - usually smaller businesses are more likely to hire young, first-time workers. When I was 14, I was able to get a job at a local arcade for a small wage, and all I had to do was ask if they hired employees under 16. The best thing to do is probably to ask around at some local businesses. Some may be willing to train and hire you. If not, others have had some really great alternatives to being hired somewhere. Good luck!

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Ann’s Answer

Ask your neighbors if they need help around the house - watering plants, mowing the lawn, walking pets, taking care of kids (get a babysitting certificate from Red Cross ), taking care of the house and mail while on vacation or running errands. These are great ways to learn to communicate with adults and learn responsibility. Who know, you may end up starting your own business!

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Bhargavi’s Answer

Hello Katy, visit Texas State Labor Website. Then, figure out what you enjoy doing and what interests you. Talk to your Adults and Guidance Counsellors. Write your Resume. Ask your teachers and other adults for reference. Ask your family and friends for Job openings and also search online. Hope you find what you like!! All the best!!!

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