How to find a job after high school graduation

Last updated: June 24, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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How to find a job after high school graduation
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If you've finished high school, you may be ready to start work. A college degree isn't for everyone, and there are a lot of different reasons why you may want to get straight into the workforce.

There are several job opportunities available to high school graduates. By 2030, growth for jobs requiring a high school diploma or equivalent is set to rise by 5.1%. And growth for jobs without any formal education requirements will rise by 8.9%.

There are many different career paths you can take. Landing a role without experience can be competitive, but we're here to help.

Keep reading because we're about to give you our top tips for getting a job after high school. Plus, you'll find a list of some of the most popular job types.

Why do people look for work after high school?

High school graduates look for work for different reasons. For some, the cost of college and student loans isn't something they want to take on. College isn't always the right choice, and you might decide it's not for you.

Sometimes people need time to decide what direction to take. A gap year spent working and gaining life skills can help you set career goals. You may decide to keep working or go back for a college education in the future.

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You may have other commitments, such as caring for a family member. Or, you might want to get some work experience before joining the military.

Everyone learns differently. You could be better suited to an apprenticeship program, or you may want to jump straight in and start working your way up the career ladder.

Whatever your reason for starting work after high school, the secret to success is a strong resume and a good work ethic.

Tips for getting a job after high school

Want to get a job after high school? Here are our top tips to help you get hired.

Consider your skills

Before you start your job search, think about your skills. What are you good at? And, what do you enjoy doing?

This information will help you find the perfect position. For example, if you enjoy working with people, you could apply for a customer service job. Or, if you like using your hands, you could work in construction.

If you've never had a job before, you can focus on your skills in your job application. You could have gained transferable skills from school and extracurricular activities. These skills will be appealing to potential employers.

Interpersonal skills, good communication, teamwork, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, time management, and organization are all valuable career skills.

Ask for references

The people around you can help you with your job hunt.

If you have a reference, it can boost your job application. A reference should be from someone who can vouch for your skills and work ethic.

They can write you letters of recommendation, or they can speak to the hiring manager over the phone or via email.

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If you had a high school job, there might be a manager who could help. Alternatively, a teacher or coach could be a good choice. Make sure you ask permission before adding someone to your reference list.

The professionals in your life can also act as mentors. Career counselors, teachers, and friends can give you advice and support you with your career goals.

Do a short course

When you upskill, it can increase your chances of getting a job. You can take a short course online or in-person and add it to your resume.

Computer skills are always in demand, and this is one area you can focus on. For example, you can improve your typing skills or learn how to use Microsoft Office and Google Workspace.

And, there'll be other job-specific skills you can learn. If you want to work in logistics, you can get your heavy vehicle license. Or, if you want to work in construction, you could get a certification in concreting.

Depending on the job, a first-aid certificate may also be beneficial.

Write your resume

Next, it's time to put your resume together. If it's your first job, keep it short and sweet and stick to one page. Highlight your skills and focus on any accomplishments you had at school.

When you apply for a job, always read the job description carefully. When you know what the employer is looking for, you can make small changes to your application.

For example, if the hiring manager wants a team player, you can mention your time spent playing sports. Or, if they're looking for someone who's creative, you can talk about your achievements in art.

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Most resumes go through an ATS (applicant tracking system) program. This software ranks each resume, and if your resume meets the target score, it'll be seen by a real person. You can read our ATS-friendly resume tips here.

Prepare for an interview

To get the job, you'll usually need to go through an interview process. If you're a new job seeker, it can be daunting, but there are things you can do to prepare.

You can practice your answers before the big day. Ask a friend or family member to run through these common interview questions and answers.

Make sure you arrive on time and choose the perfect interview outfit. For most entry-level positions, business casual will be the right choice.

Not sure what to wear to your job interview? Check out these business casual examples.

What jobs can you get with a high school diploma?

There are several different job openings for people with a high school diploma. Here are some options to consider:

1. Server

Servers work in restaurants, cafes, bars, and other venues that serve food and drinks. They greet customers, take orders, and serve meals.

Servers set and clear tables, and make sure customers have a positive dining experience. It’s a fast-paced job and usually involves evening and weekend shifts.

To work in this role, you’ll need to be physically fit, with excellent customer service skills. You’ll get on-the-job training, and there can be opportunities for promotion.

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The average salary for a server is $23,740 per year or $11.42 per hour.

Browse server jobs on our job board

2. Customer service representative

Customer service representatives help customers over the phone, in-person, or online. They answer questions, take orders, and process payments. These workers can handle complaints and process refunds.

Customer service representatives work in a range of industries, including retail, wholesale, banking, technology, and telecommunications.

To be successful, you’ll need excellent communication skills. You should be tech-savvy, with good problem-solving skills and time management. Most positions provide training, and you’ll need to learn about the products the business sells.

The average salary for a customer service representative is $35,830 per year or $17.23 per hour.

Browse customer service representative jobs on our job board.

3. Health aide

Health aides help clients with daily tasks. Their clients may be elderly or need disability support. Common duties include bathing and dressing clients, cleaning homes, shopping for groceries, and preparing meals.

Health aides may transport clients to appointments and help them stay involved in the community.

It’s a growing industry, and workers are in demand. Some jobs are entry-level, with training provided. Others might require a short certification course and first aid training.

To work as a health aide, you’ll need to be caring and compassionate. You should be patient and have excellent interpersonal skills.

The average salary for a health aide is $27,080 per year or $13.02 per hour.

Browse health aide jobs on our job board.

4. Police officer

Police officers protect and serve the community. They make sure people and property are safe, and they respond to emergencies.

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They collect evidence and write reports. Police officers may have to testify during court proceedings.

The minimum requirements can vary depending on where you live, and some positions do require a four-year college degree. But, there are entry-level positions available if you’re prepared to go through the police training academy.

To work as a police officer, you’ll need to be physically fit and empathetic. Police officers need excellent communication skills, driving skills, and leadership skills.

The average salary for a police officer is $67,290 per year or $32.35 per hour.

Browse police officer jobs on our job board.

5. Receptionist

Receptionists work in different office environments, including health, government, and education. They greet visitors, answer phones, and manage schedules.

Receptionists copy documents, open mail, send emails, and organize files. Sometimes they send invoices and pay bills.

Most jobs are entry-level, with training provided. However, employers will be looking for someone with computer skills and excellent communication skills.

You should have good time-management skills and enjoy working with people. It’s a role that requires multitasking, so you’ll need to be organized and efficient.

The average salary for a receptionist is $31,110 per year or $14.96 per hour.

Browse receptionist jobs on our job board.

6. Bartender

Bartenders work in restaurants, bars, hotels, cruise ships, and cafes. They mix both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and serve customers.

They process payments and work closely with other members of the team. Bartenders reorder stock and keep track of inventory. They need to keep the bar area clean and tidy and check identification to verify age.

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To work as a bartender, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. If you’re serving alcohol, you’ll need to be at least eighteen years old. Bartenders get training on the job, which usually lasts one or two weeks.

You should be comfortable working in a busy environment and have good listening skills. Bartenders need excellent customer service skills, manual dexterity, and decision-making skills.

You can expect to work late nights and weekends.

The average salary for a bartender is $24,960 per year or $12.00 per hour.

Browse bartender jobs on our job board.

7. Construction Laborer

Construction laborers work on building worksites, and they help skilled tradespeople do their jobs.

Duties include site preparation, unloading and transporting materials, and assembling temporary fencing. Construction laborers dig trenches, use tools, and follow plans. They work closely with bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and carpenters.

To get a job as a construction laborer, you’ll need to be physically fit and hard-working. It’s a demanding job that requires heavy lifting and working at heights.

Plus, most of your time will be spent outdoors in different weather conditions.

You can expect training and supervision from more experienced workers. You’ll need basic math skills and mechanical skills.

The average salary for a construction laborer is $37,080 per year, or $17.83 per hour. There are opportunities for promotion or an apprenticeship.

Browse construction laborer jobs on our job board.

When you’re ready to start your job search, we have you covered. You can visit our job board to find job listings in your area.

You can search by job type or company name. And, if you want to work from home, you can select “remote work only.”

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Finding a job after high school

If you’ve graduated from high school, you may be ready to work. There are entry-level positions available with training on the job.

To find the right fit, consider your skills. Think about what you’re good at and what you’ve learned at school.

To boost your application, you can ask for references from teachers, coaches, or previous employers. You can even take a short course to help your resume stand out.

Keep your resume to one page, and focus on your skills and achievements. And prepare for your interview before the day.

What jobs can you get with a high school diploma? A few suggestions include servers, health aides, police officers, receptionists, bartenders, and construction laborers. These jobs all have the potential for promotion.

Ready to get started? Take a look at our job board. Or, you can visit our resource center for more articles like this one.

1 Comment


Dana Gastert
Bullet point

nice post