Teen's Job Guide: Finding, Interviewing and Keeping a Job in 2018

Updated April 16, 2018

Boostapal Find Teen Jobs

If you're a teen and are searching for a summer or after-school job then you've come to the right place. We have assembled the most thorough and complete list of everything you will need to find, interview for and keep that after-school or summer job. 

teenager-jobs 16 year old work

Should I pay someone to help me find work?

Absolutely not. None of the job search websites listed below charge a fee to help you find a job.  Employers are sometimes charged a fee but you should never have to pay anyone to help locate a job for you. Be very cautious of anyone who asks you to put a credit card on file or pay any upfront fees (even if they promise to later return your money).

How do I use the job search websites? 

First, decide on the type of job search website you want to use. Are you looking for a teen friendly website search engine? Do you mind setting up a user profile? Do you want to be able to contact employers directly (instead of making contact through the website)? We outline all of those things, and more, about each job search website.

Once you navigate to the job search website you will want to select the area where you live (usually by zip code or city). If transportation is going to be a problem then you'll want to search as close to your home as possible.

Once you've established your geographic area, you may search by job or simply scan through all the jobs available in your area.

How do I decide what jobs to apply for?

Try to get an understanding about each job from the job description. Do you understand all of it? Ask yourself whether you have the skills the job requires.

Can I use this guide to find a great summer job?

Yes! But the summer job guide linked above is made specifically for getting and awesome summer job. Also, you can check out our list of 65 great summer jobs.

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How do I apply for a job?

In most cases you will submit either an application, resume and cover letter or sometimes just send an email. A simple one page resume is sufficient but also include references and any volunteer work you have performed. Be sure to ask the person before you list them as a reference. You can find resume templates here and cover letter templates here.

One of the most important factors employers look at is consistency with past jobs. Employers don't want to see that you've had a lot of jobs for short periods of time.

What should I do before my job interview?

Preparing for an interview will reduce your nervousness and also shows the interviewer you will be a conscientious worker. Below are some suggestions that will point you in the right direction.

  • Be sure you know the exact location for the interview. Print out a map and even make a practice run to the location to estimate the time it will take to get to the interview.
  • Google the company to learn as much as you can about what the business does. This will help you with asking questions about the company.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about yourself. For instance, the interviewer may ask about your interests, past experience and your academic history.
  • Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer.  You should ask questions about the company, customers of the company, requirements of the job and the current employees of the company.
  • Sit down with friends and family (or use a video recorder) to practice your interviewing techniques. Ask for constructive criticism about your interviewing style. Also, note your posture and body language during the test session.
  • Decide when you are available to start the job. Interviewers often ask when you are available to start your new job.
  • Decide before the interview your minimum pay requirements. 
  • You may be given a drug test or written test before the interview so be prepared.
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How can I stand out in an interview?

There may be many applicants for the job so you should do your best to stand out in your interview. Here's how:

  • Provide real examples of success at your current job, school or extracurricular activity.
  • A firm handshake is always preferred.
  • If you don't have any experience, be creative! Use school projects, extracurricular activities (drama, sports, etc.) or even hobbies. You can also list areas where you had experience in:
    • Teamwork.
    • Organization.
    • Problem solving
    • Persistence.
  • Smile.
  • Be willing to work odd hours and weekends.
  • Cover visible tattoos and remove body piercing jewelry, except for earrings, and be prepared for a "no visible tattoo policy."
  • Dress for success by dressing well for interviews:
    • Girls: A clean pressed skirt and blouse or top, with a small flat shoe — no flip-flops! Make sure your outfit is not too skimpy or too tight. No cleavage in any direction. Less is more in jewelry. No tank tops, exposed shoulders, cleavage or midriff.
    • Boys: Pressed khaki pants and a clean pressed shirt, if a coat and tie is not required for the job. If you are applying in a traditional office work environment, a shirt and tie and a blazer if you have one. Be sure to check your shoes. Never wear a t-shirt or jeans.
  • Have a seat only when someone offers you one. Also sit upright but try not to appear too stiff. Be formal in your greetings (i.e. "Hello, it's very nice meeting you.").
  • Research the company you are interviewing with. One of the most common questions you will hear is "Why do you want to work for ABC Company?" and "What do you know about ABC Company?" Show the interviewer that you understand the company inside and out. Here are some examples of what might be helpful to know about the company:
    • Its motto.
    • Its product and what makes them stand out.
    • Its competitors.
  • Prepare some questions in advance for the interview like:
    • What is your favorite part of working here?
    • What type of training is offered by this job?
    • What do you think is most important for someone to succeed at this job?
    • What is the most difficult part of this job?
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How should I handle the job interview?

Once you start the interview process follow these tips and you'll be sure to stand out over the other candidates.

  • Use the restroom before the interview. There's no telling how long the interview may last.
  • Always arrive at least 10 minutes before the interview.
  • Make eye contact with everyone you encounter at the company; from the receptionist to the CEO. Also, be sure to be equally friendly to everyone. Many times the person you least expect will have a great deal of input into hiring decisions.
  • Shake hands with the person/people you are interviewing with.
  • Have a seat only when someone offers you one. Also sit upright but try not to appear too stiff.
  • Be formal in your greetings (i.e. "Hello, it's very nice meeting you.").
  • Keep appropriate distances between yourself and the person you are meeting.
  • Be sure to smile and nod your head at times so you appear interested.
  • Speak confidently.
  • Try to avoid "uh" and "um" when you answer questions.
  • You may use your hands at times but don't become too animated.
  • When multiple people are interviewing you, try to maintain equal eye contact with everyone in the room.
  • If you have been offered a beverage during the interview, limit consumption to sips.
  • When interviewing, never bring your own beverage or chew gum.
  • Go to interviews alone. Don't bring parents or friends.
  • If you brought your cell phone to the interview, turn it off.
  • Be conscious of your voice volume level. Speak in conversational tones.
  • Always appear to be very interested in the conversation.
  • Ask questions but don't interrogate. Your interviewer expects questions. It indicates interest in the job.
  • Don't watch the clock or your watch during the interview. It will show that you don't want to be there.
  • There may be a camera in the room. If you are left alone, be sure to be on your best behavior.
  • Always be professional even if it seems to be a very casual environment.
  • Let the employer know when you can start the job.
  • Never flirt with anyone during the process.

What should I do after the interview is over?

After the interview is over, take these extra steps to stand out among the other candidates.

  • Shake hands with everyone and thank them for their time.
  • If the job doesn't interest you, let the interviewer know the reasons why. They may be able to work around any problems that you have.
  • If the job sounds great, let the interviewer know it. It will show you're interested and motivated.
  • If the interviewer doesn't give a time frame for their decision making process, always ask if it would be ok to follow up with them in the near future.
  • Write a thank you email when you get home from the interview. The email should include:
    • Whether you are interested in taking the job.
    • Thanking them for their time in interviewing you.
    • Thanking anyone else who was helpful during the interviewing process.
  • Evaluate how you think you did on the interview. Make notes about improvements you could make for future interviews.
  • Feel free to follow up with your interviewer at a later date (as long as the interviewer gave you the ok).
  • An example email:


September 19, 2017

Mr. Adam Burk
Human Resources Director
Magestic Supplies
125 East 5th Avenue
Westfield, NJ 07208

Dear Mr. Burk,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me today. It was very interesting and informative to hear about Magestic Supplies. Meeting with you today reaffirmed my interest in working for your Company. I look forward to hearing from you.


Linda Miller

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Email, phone and internet etiquette.

Check your emails daily. You have to be able to communicate the way hiring managers communicate. If it's hard to track you down or get in touch with you then employers won't go out of their way to do so. So, you have to show you are eager and interested in getting the job. When writing emails:

  • Use the subject line.
  • Use full sentences, correct grammar, full spelling of words and also punctuation.
  • Use a professional email address (not a slang email address).

Be sure to check your voicemail and respond quickly. Be sure the voicemail is professional (no music or comedy)

Please realize that employers use the internet to screen applicants. So be sure to Google yourself. Also check your Facebook, Twitter, etc. and be sure it is professional (don't post things on Facebook you wouldn't want an employer to see).

I got the job! Now what?

Great, you got the job. Here are some tips for handling your new job.

  • Be as friendly and outgoing as possible. A positive attitude is critical.
  • Review employee manuals and follow the guidelines carefully.
  • Be early for work.
  • Do more than your share of work.
  • Be polite and respectful to co-workers and the public.
  • Show your employer that you are motivated to work.
  • Be responsible and dependable.
  • Always act maturely.
  • Don't have conversations with co-workers when customers are present.
  • Always be enthusiastic, eager and open to learning new things.

I've looked everywhere but can't seem to find a job! What should I do?

If you can't seem to find a job after searching, fear not, here are some other options for you. These options will help you in the future with finding work, getting into college and finding that ultimate career.

  • Unpaid internships can give you experience in areas outside the typical part-time job.
  • Attending summer school can get you ahead of the competition once you start applying to college. If you're in college then it will decrease your regular session workload or allow you to graduate early.
  • Volunteer. Not only is it a great experience to volunteer, it is also a great way to build up your resume experience.
  • Make hand crafts like pens and chopping blocks. You can sell your item on Ebay, Etsy or the local farmer's market.
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The Job Search Websites

Below are a list of the most popular job search websites. Also, keep in mind that you can get job leads from local resources such as:

  • High school websites;
  • College and University websites;
  • Local libraries;
  • Local classified ads;
  • Friends' and family's employers;
  • Search Google using the terms "job fair" and the name of your town or city.

Groovejob is the most teen friendly job search engine we've found. Teenagers are not required to set up a profile and may search geographic areas with ease. Teens will also be taken directly to the employer's website to inquire about the job.

  • Teen friendly? Cool
  • Search geographic regions? Cool
  • No registration required? Cool
  • Is it exclusive to teens and students? Frown
  • No profile required? Cool
  • Able to contact employers directly? Cool
  • Job listing across the United States? Cool
Cool Works

Cool works is better suited for teens looking for jobs outside their area or for distant summer jobs. Teens cannot search specific geographic regions.

  • Teen friendly? Cool
  • Search geographic regions? Frown
  • No registration required? Cool
  • Is it exclusive to teens and students? Frown
  • No profile required? Cool
  • Able to contact employers directly? Cool
  • Job listing across the United States? Cool

There are three different sections where teenagers may find jobs on Craigslist. First, teens may search the Jobs category. Second, teens can search the Gigs section where they will find jobs such as hanging door flyers, mowing lawns, etcetera. Lastly, teens can post their resume in the Resume section.

  • Teen friendly? Frown
  • Search geographic regions? Cool
  • No registration required? Cool
  • Is it exclusive to teens and students? Frown
  • No profile required? Cool
  • Able to contact employers directly? Cool
  • Job listing across the United States? Cool
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Barefoot Student

Teenagers can search for jobs but not limit by geographic region. Membership is required to set up a profile or contact employers through the website. Employers must pay a fee to make contact with teens via their online profile. Teenagers cannot contact employers directly.

  • Teen friendly? Cool
  • Search geographic regions? Frown
  • No registration required? Frown
  • Is it exclusive to teens and students? Cool
  • No profile required? Frown
  • Able to contact employers directly? Frown
  • Job listing across the United States? Cool

Snagajob is better suited for full time job seekers rather than teens. It’s not very teen friendly. It also requires members to setup a profile. All inquiries are sent through Snagajob and then submitted to employers. Teens cannot send direct inquiries to employers.

  • Teen friendly? Frown
  • Search geographic regions? Cool
  • No registration required? Frown
  • Is it exclusive to teens and students? Frown
  • No profile required? Frown
  • Able to contact employers directly? Frown
  • Job listing across the United States? Cool pulls most of its teen job leads from (which is an adult job search website). So, when a teen searches the SummerJobs website and clicks on a job, she is taken to the website. Since the website effectively uses the data from an adult job search website, we cannot recommend this as a teen friendly site.

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  3. Place your cursor in the exact place within your web page where you would like the banner to appear. Then, paste the link code. Pasting can be accomplished either through the right-click menu, or by pressing Ctrl-V on your keyboard.
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