19 Great Jobs for Teenagers: How to Gently Nudge Your Teen into the Workforce

Spotify subscriptions, new cool kicks, hanging out with mates at the skatepark and wants money for junk food every other day? Are you tempted to send your teenager out into the coal mines to give them a reality check of how expensive they are? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Jobs for teenagers and teenage employment are about empowering THEM (as well as relieving your own wallet a bit).

If you have a teenager with a strong sense of entitlement, setting them out to work is often a wake-up call to knock that on the head and check their privilege ever so slightly. Kids soon learn the value of a hard-earned dollar and ditch an ‘easy come, easy go’ attitude.

Will every teenager want to work? Of course not. Especially if someone else is providing for their every want and need. In my experience (having been through the teenager ringer three times) an incentive (or carrot dangle) too good to resist, can help twist the arm to look for a job and before you know it, cover letters are being written.

jobs for teenagers
Teenagers can help fund their own lifestyle and be empowered along the way! Source: Canva

Carrot dangles teenagers will want a bite of

For my family, our beginner carrot dangle has always been mobile phones. We refused to buy them for our kids, so if they wanted a phone, they had to buy it themselves and blind Freddy knows tech is expensive. But as expected, FOMO and being the “ONLY KIDS IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL” not to have a phone, it didn’t take long before employment gained and a phone was ordered. #HOORAY

Other incentives to whet a teen’s employment appetite include buying their own brand-name clothes, cool sneakers, concert tickets, saving for a car, gaming gadgets and accessories… they desire SO MUCH STUFF. You just need to know their currency.

Is getting a job too much to ask of a teenager?

The short answer is heck no. Of course, working out the balance between school, sporting or social commitments is important, and that’s why we don’t send kids out into the coal mine from sun up to sun down, they instead have a casual or part-time job to suit teenagers flexibility.

Earning and valuing their own money aside, the benefits of a teenager holding down a part-time or casual job are brilliant for their personal growth. Working gives teens a sense of responsibility and independence, plus boosts their confidence and self-esteem. It also gives them skills in time management, respecting others and working within a team – all of which are super important for their future.

Teenagers being like… WHAT MONEY? via GIPHY

OK, so what jobs for teenagers are out there…

Depending on where you live, jobs for teenagers will vary but they’re generally plentiful if you look. Sometimes work will be advertised and sometimes your teen might have to ask if there’s anything available or even advertise themselves and their skills! Keep your eye out in the local paper, shop windows, employment websites and even Facebook for available work and jobs for teenagers.

Here are 19 awesome jobs for teenagers starting out:

1. Babysitting: babysitting for friends or family is a great little money earner, particularly in school holidays.

2. Children’s face painting: advertise face painting skills for children’s parties!

3. Lawn mowing: a letter drop for lawn mowing services is a great start-up opportunity.

4. Waitressing: waiting on and clearing tables can be a great money spinner.

5. Kitchen hand: there will ALWAYS be dishes to be done!

6. Fast food hospitality: KFC, McDonald’s and other chains constantly recruit and train new staff.

7. Retail store customer service/sales: a dream for any teen that loves to shop.

8. Car washing: an excellent opportunity if your town doesn’t have an automatic car wash!

9. Dog walking: many, many people are too time-poor to exercise their dogs, set your rate and let people know!

10. Supermarket jobs: regardless of being on a checkout or stocking shelves, working at a local supermarket is fantastic for working on people skills

jobs for teenagers
Supermarket and deli jobs are awesome jobs for teenagers and for improving people skills! Source: Bigstock

11. Service station attendant: know your pump numbers and you’re good to go!

12. Cleaning: cleaning crews are often looking for extra help. If you’re particular about detail, this could be PERFECT.

13. Lifeguarding: excellent money can be earned from lifeguarding. Check your local pool for what certificates are required!

14. Sports umpiring: Brilliant employment opportunity for sporty teens, ask your local clubs if they’re hiring.

15. Pet sitting: ready and able to look after someone else’s pet while they’re away?

16. Farm hand: country teens can find work within their communities, lending a hand on local farms. From shearing to harvesting, there’s always work to be done.

17. Tutoring: if your teen excels in a subject, helping out younger kids with tutoring can be brilliantly beneficial.

18. Trade labourer (helping out tradies!): if your teen is interested in learning a trade, a great place to start is as a labourer. It could involve getting materials ready, cleaning up or being a general assistant for the job – it’s all valuable experience.

19. Fruit picking: seasonal work but plentiful – many hands make light work!

jobs for teenagers
Fruit picking is one of the many jobs for teenagers available for those who are willing to work hard! Source: Bigstock

Jobs for teenagers: other things to think about

Location: If your teen doesn’t drive a car, they have to be able to get to and from work safely. So that’s something you both need to consider, especially if Mum’s taxi is going to be doing the commute.

Work hours: How many hours and how many days a week will your teen be working? All work and no play is no fun, so try to make that work/life/school balance work. Also, sleep is important too and night positions might free up the daylight hours but also mean your teen AND a parent are generally up later too.

The law around jobs for teenagers

In Australia, teenage employment laws may differ between states and territories. While in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Northern Territory don’t have a minimum age for most types of part-time or casual work, there is often a minimum age set by individual companies or industries.

In Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, kids have to have turned 13 years old to start casual or part-time work.

It’s important as a parent that you are familiar with your state’s exceptions and restrictions on teen employment as this has an effect on the number of shifts and hours children can work, supervision required, pay rates and more.

What will my teenager need when applying for jobs?

  • A tax file number (TFN). It’s free to apply for at the ATO and is a number that stays with your teen for life. This number acts as an identification for superannuation and tax purposes.
  • A short and to-the-point cover letter to the employer showing you have a positive attitude and why you are keen to work for them is great, it doesn’t need to be long, just a paragraph or two.
  • A one-page resume to list your personal details (age and contact information), schooling, previous working experiences as well as any volunteering you’ve done. If you’ve won awards at school or for activities out of school, list those too, they can show that you clearly excel in a subject, can work within a team or learn quickly.
  • Referees. Having one or two people who aren’t family who can vouch for your teenager’s character is awesome. Previous employers, local business people or teachers are all brilliant referee candidates (be sure to seek permission from them first).
  • Social media awareness. It’s super important for teenagers to realise an employer is likely going to search for their name on social media platforms and what they see is going to add to their first impression of them. If Facebook and Instagram profiles need cleaning up, best get on to it pronto.
jobs for teenagers
Help your teenager navigate around what they need to do to find their first job. Source: Canva

Finally, the value of volunteering

A huge hurdle for teens getting a job they want can be that they have no previous work experience, in that field or otherwise. Your teen volunteering their time in exchange for experience for a short period of time can go a long way. Volunteering shows initiative to future employers and that trial run sometimes turns into a job opportunity. If nothing else, your teenager has had a taste of the job and now has someone who can provide a character reference. WINNING!

Is your teenager keen to work? Do they have a job for teenagers specifically? We’d love to hear, drop your comment below.

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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