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Getting a Job as a Teen

If, like most teens, youíre looking for a little extra cash for the movies or the mall Ė or for something larger like a car or college Ė youíve probably thought about getting a job. Getting a job as a teen can be a great way to build up your resume and demonstrate your reliability and dependability to colleges and future employers. But before you embark on the glamorous lifestyle of hairnets and fast food, take the time to learn about the process of getting a job and decide whether or not itís right for you.

Before you start looking for a job, youíve got to find out if you can legally work as a teen. Every state has child labor laws which may limit the jobs you can do based on your age and the number of hours you can work during the school year or summer break. In most cases, youíll be required to fill out a student work permit in order to work as a teen. Check with your schools or local government offices for more information.

Youíve also got to consider whether or not you can handle a job on top of your regular commitments. Itís hard to work as a teen. When you get a job, youíre expected to show up for your shifts, whether youíve got a big exam the next day or a big date scheduled for the same night. Youíve got to go to work when you donít feel like it, and youíve got to keep up with your nightly homework on top of everything. Be realistic with yourself Ė if youíre already struggling to keep your grades up, a part-time job probably isnít best for you.

If youíre legally able to work, itís time to start looking for a job. If youíve got friends who are already working, ask them which employers are good to work for and which ones arenít. Search your local newspaper for part-time listings or walk into your favorite stores and ask if theyíre hiring. Itís best to apply for lots of jobs, including ones you want and ones youíd just be okay with, since you wonít get every job you apply for. Always look your best and be polite with everyone you talk to when youíre applying for jobs.

If an employer is interested in you, you may be called for an interview. Interviews can be scary, but you can do a little preparation ahead of time to be ready. Most employers will want to know what you think are your strengths and weaknesses, what interests you in the position and what kind of schedule youíll be able to keep. Never, ever lie to the interviewer, but be realistic with your answers. Remember, the goal of the interview is to find out if youíre a good match for the job.

If youíre offered a job, youíll probably also talk about your schedule and the amount of money youíll be paid. Youíll get an introduction to the business and be briefed on what your responsibilities will be. Pay close attention during your training and speak up if you have any questions. If thereís anything you feel uncomfortable with, let your manager know Ė you may be able to take on other tasks instead.

Check in with yourself regularly once you start working. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your manager and see if you can reduce your hours or change the nights that you work. However, youíve got to respect that your manager has his/her own needs in running the business and may not be able to accommodate you. If not, you may need to find another job. If your grades are slipping, itís time to seriously consider whether you should be working or not. You can always make a little extra money with odd jobs like babysitting and yard work that you can do on your own time.

And speaking of the extra money, why not put some of it into a savings account? Sure, spend a little on a new pair of jeans, but by setting a little aside for more important things, youíll be developing financial skills that will help you tremendously as an adult.

Submitted by:

Sarah Russell

This article was originally published by Sarah Russell on Smart Young Money - the internet's best source of money management resources for teens and young adults. To get more information on investing, using credit wisely, managing debt and more for young people, please visit http://www.smartyoungmoney.com.


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