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  How to Find a Job (during High School)

How to Find a Job (during High School)

You're in high school and want some extra spending cash for weekends at the mall and that new prom date. What do you do? You get an after-school job. Usually high school jobs are only "after school" or "summer jobs." Employers know that you must go to school every day until at least 4 o'clock. They also know your exact level of education and prospective skills. Consequently, your job options are rather limited.

Typical high school jobs include:

  • Restaurant/fast food work (host, wait staff, bus boy/girl)
  • Cashier work (grocery, convenient stores)
  • Bag boy/girl (grocery stores)
  • Movie theater staff
  • Ushers in theaters
  • Retails stores — sales clerks (clothing stores)
  • Babysitting
  • Lawn mower
  • Camp Counselors (summer)

Some of these jobs seem easier than others. Some are easier to "get" and even others more desirable. Most of your work in high school will give you minimum wage, although some places might give you more. Minimum wage as of January 1, 2004 ranges from state to state, with $8.50 the highest, $2.65 the lowest, and $5.15 the most common. It may or may not seem like a lot to you now, but if you add up the 15-20 hours you will be spending working after school or on the weekends, it will be sufficient cash for you to spend as you like. Now you won't have to hassle your parents if you want to go out to the mall or see another movie with your friends.

Once you decide that you want to find a job in high school, you should follow the following steps:

  1. Be at least 16 years of age
  2. Convince your parents that you will maintain your grades while you work
  3. Go around to several stores you like and ask if they are hiring. If so, they will give you an application. Fill out all applications and return them. Make sure you write legibly (type, if possible).
  4. Every time you go to the store/restaurant, dress appropriately. No jeans.
  5. Request an interview in person or over the phone. Ask politely, of course.
  6. In an interview, be honest. They all know you are high school students and will have very little job experience. They just want to know you will be punctual and loyal.

If you want to work "on your own," then follow these steps. The jobs in this category consist of Babysitting, Lawn Mowing, etc.:

  1. Make a printed flier with your name, address, email, phone number
  2. Visit the appropriate local areas
  3. Ask if you can post a flier
  4. Post your flier in schools, parents' workplaces, list serves, and church/synagogue newsletters, local beach clubs

With these jobs, you will need to make personal contact and build a client base. While it may be difficult at first, you can make substantially more money than working as a checkout clerk at a restaurant or store.

When applying for jobs, here are some final tips and reminders:

  • Dress appropriately
  • Speak correctly and politely (little slang, no profanity)
  • Print your applications legibly
  • Ask friends/teachers if they can be your references
  • Be honest about your experience, availability, and age
  • Call to follow-up on your application

While these jobs may seem silly at times, it is where you must begin in the working world. Not everybody finds a job in high school. So, when you are ready for that college job, you will be a step ahead of many people who chose not to work in high school. Now, you have a resume to create that includes work/employment experience. And remember, no matter how frustrating and demeaning, these early jobs are the best and most formative jobs you can have. They will build your elementary job skills and will be invaluable in the future.