It is a bit of a challenge to find a job when you are young, as not all companies hire high school students. You are prepared, willing, and able to work, but where do you look for a job? Perhaps you are like many ambitious teenagers, that have already logged lots of hours babysitting, dog walking, petsitting, mowing lawns and doing general casual work around their neighborhood. Now you are ready to look for a “real” job. If you want your job search to go as smoothly as possible, there are a few things you should know.
Looking into companies that hire high school students as a matter of policy, is a good place to start. There are a lot of familiar establishments that you see in malls and shopping centers around the country, and getting a job at one of these companies can give you experience, as well as a job you may be able to keep for a few years while you navigate through college, vacations, and even different locations.
Many employers have a minimum age requirement of 16, but there are a few companies that hire younger workers. Check with your local business before you apply to find whether they will accept an application from someone your age.
To find job listings at these employers, search Google for the company name, then visit the Careers/Jobs section of the website to apply. You can also search Jobcase.com under Jobs and Companies using the company name and your location to generate a list of open positions. Many companies list, right in the job posting, the minimum age job applicants must be. You will be able to apply directly online to companies with open positions.
Another good site is indeed.com. You can also search Indeed using the company name and your location. A quick way to search Indeed for available positions is to search for the terms
16 year old or
16 years old and your location, for example. When you specify an age, it will generate a list of jobs with the age requirement listed in the job position.
Applying in-person is another option. Many of these employers accept walk-in applications, and you may even see a
We're Hiring sign on the door announcing that there are jobs available. When you apply, be prepared for an on-the-spot interview, and have all your contact information and work experience, if any, ready to provide to the employer.
Here’s a list of some of the top U.S. companies that hire youth workers along with the age requirements for being hired.
Companies That Hire Workers Under 18
American Eagle (16)
Auntie Anne's Pretzels (16)
Banana Republic (16)
Barnes & Noble (16)
Bed, Bath and Beyond (16)
Best Buy (16, 18 some positions)
BJ's Wholesale Club (16)
Burger King (15, 16 some positions)
Carl’s Jr. (16)
Chipotle Mexican Grill (16)
Chuck E. Cheese (16)
Claire’s / ICING (16)
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (16)
Dairy Queen (16)
Domino’s Pizza (16, 18 some positions)
Dunkin Donuts ((16, 18 some positions)
Gap Outlet (16)
Giant Eagle (16)
Jack in the Box (16)
Jamba Juice (16)
Jersey Mike's Subs (16)
KFC (16, 18 some positions)
Legal Seafood (16)
Old Navy (16)
Panera Bread (16)
Papa Ginos (16)
Papa Johns (16)
Piggly Wiggly (16)
Pizza Hut (16, 18 some positions)
Pot Belly Sandwich Shop (16)
Publix (14, 16 some positions)
Red Robin (16)
Six Flags (16)
Staples (16, 18 some positions)
Starbucks (16, most locations)
Taco Bell (16)
Target (16, 18 Distribution Centers)
The Fresh Market (16)
TJ Maxx (16)
Walmart (16, 18 some positions)
YMCA (15 - 16, 18 some positions, check your local Y)
- Tips for Landing a Job
Once you have found a job you want to apply for, you’ll want to be sure to read the job posting carefully, and make sure you follow the directions exactly. Fill out the application completely, and attach any additional documentation they require, such as a resume and/or cover letter, and possibly proof of eligibility for employment, like a copy of your working papers or driver’s license.
When you get called for an interview, make sure you are prepared, and present yourself as a responsible, mature and capable candidate. What you wear matters, as well as how you answer the interview questions you’ll be asked.
- Getting Working Papers
If you are under age eighteen, you will probably need to obtain working papers (officially called Employment / Age Certificates) in order to legally be able to work. Requirements vary by state. The best place to find out if you need working papers is your school guidance office. Get your certificate prior to starting to look for a job. It will make the process easier if you’re ready to get hired.
- Restrictions for Youth Employees
There are restrictions on the hours teenage employees can work. Limits include the number of hours per day, the times during the day when students can work, and the number of hours that can be worked each week when school is in session, and during the summer. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law determine the specifications on work for teenagers (14, 15, 16, and 17 years old) under what are known as Child Labor Law and youth employment statutes.
There are no hourly restrictions for ages 18 and older, although businesses that serve or sell alcohol and cigarettes may have different age requirements.
- Exceptions to Minimum Age Requirements
Keep in mind that age limitations may vary based on state and local laws, and on the job for which you are applying, so check the requirements before you apply.