woman with dark hair holding a sign with black text on brown paper that says I need a job.

How To Get Your First Job At 16

The time has finally come. You’ve had your sweet 16 parties and life got real, you want a job. Your big dilemma is how to get your first job at 16.

Like most other teenagers you’re probably looking for a job to be able to purchase things without depending on your parents, to save up for college, perhaps purchase a car, and maybe to just experience the world of work for experience or to have fun. These are good reasons, along with the money earned with it.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy finding a job as a teenager. Lack of experience and qualifications makes it harder for teens to find jobs. 

Here are some things you need to know to help you get your first job.

Be Realistic When Looking for Your First Job

It’s critical to have reasonable expectations for your first job. After all, you’re just starting out in the workforce. Be realistic as to what jobs you should apply for based on your capability to execute the work, and your ability to learn new tasks.

Some jobs require experience so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a call back from every job you apply for.

What do I need to Get a Job at 16?

To get hired by most businesses or organizations, there are a few documents you may need such as:

1) Valid ID including a passport or driver’s license

2) Social security number which would be required in the US, and in Canada a social insurance number (SIN)

If you don’t have this, you may apply following the links for a social security card or a social insurance number

3) Work permit, sometimes signed by your parents, to demonstrate that you are permitted to work. There are different work restrictions depending on what age you are. If you apply prior to 16 years of age you may have more restrictions to follow

4) Criminal record check. Some jobs will require this and you’ll need to go to your local police station to get one completed, sometimes at your employer’s expense

Begin the Application Process for Your First Job at 16

First things first, write up a resume. You may not have any job experience or qualifications as yet so it may be difficult to write a resume.

However, you can still put together a great resume by listing your academic achievements, awards, GPA, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and anything else which may demonstrate your leadership skills or ability to work well with others.

If you don’t have any of the above, it may be time to consider getting more involved and expanding your experiences.

Searching for Jobs

Now that you’ve completed your resume, it’s time to start searching for jobs. You may find jobs by applying to job listings, attending job fairs, using your connections, and volunteering.

Consult a school guidance counselor, your parents, or other family members who can assist you with your job search. They can also assist you with your interview preparation and provide valuable insight into the working world’s realities.

Prepare a list of questions in advance so you can gather the information you need to find your first job.

You may also consider pursuing online jobs. There are many online and telecommuting jobs in today’s economy, and many are suitable for teenagers.

There are several internet sites that allow you to conduct freelance work if you have writing skills. Your age would not be a barrier as long as you are capable of writing well.

This is another wonderful alternative if you have any website design or other graphic design experience.

Teen Entrepreneurship

Another consideration may be volunteering or creating your own jobs. Instead of looking for work within a company, teens may consider becoming more entrepreneurial and creating a side hustle.

When you work for yourself, you have more flexibility in terms of how often and how long you work. Some of these types of jobs include babysitting, tutoring, teaching sports or dance classes, lawn care, or selling beauty products.

Online business is also a great opportunity for teens to get started with a low barrier to entry.

Preparation for Job Interviews

Once you’ve finally gotten a callback, you’ll need to prepare for an interview. Employers perform job interviews to determine if you are the right fit for the job.

Ensure that you are dressed professionally, and are prepared for the job interview. Check out these job interview questions and answers.

Even many adults find the interviewing process difficult, so it’s always a good idea to think about it and prepare beforehand. Ask your parents, adults, or working friends to help you prepare for your job interview.

An often forgotten yet very important factor is DON’T BE LATE!! First impressions mean a lot, make it a good one.

Don’t Give Up

You may not find a job right away, but it is important to keep trying. You should also follow up with potential employers after submitting an application. They will notice that you are persistent and you have the determination to find a job.

Looking for a job is just part of the process. You won’t get every job you apply for and you most likely won’t get a call back from a good percentage of them.

Don’t be discouraged and know that it comes with the territory, it’s happened to all of us.

Knowing how to get your first job at 16 isn’t something that just happens. Take the time to learn the steps, perfect your resume, and nail that interview. It will come eventually and you’ll be so happy you did it when you get that first paycheque.

By: Robert | November 7, 2021 |