Your Teen's First Job

Part-time gigs for every type of teen.



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So, your teen wants a job? Before you panic about how part-time work might be a hassle before he gets a driver's license, or how it might interfere with homework, know that some jobs don’t involve as big a commitment as retail or serving. There are plenty of opportunities that could help him explore options before heading to college or the workforce, all while making some spending (or saving!) money.

FOR THE SPORTS LOVER

Depending on where you live and the time of year, becoming a golf caddy, referee or umpire after school or on weekends can be a fun gig. For some of these jobs, your teen can make in the $10- to $15-per-hour range. If she has what it takes, she can become a lifeguard or swim coach during the summer, or a ski instructor in the winter. Check with local pools, golf courses, ski resorts and rec centers for openings. If your teen is a student at a dance or martial arts school, she can ask the owner if an assistant is needed. If he loves being outdoors but doesn’t have a sport in mind, he can consider being acamp counselor. While there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility (your “baby” will be responsible for keeping other babies safe), there are comprehensive certifications he can get to prepare. Even better, counselor-in-training programs start as early as middle school, givinghim a leg up on a dream summer gig.

FOR THE ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR

We recently spotted a mom in a Facebook group promoting her daughter’s hair braiding services. Your daughter can use social media to showcase her talents, too. Teens can offer up skills from lawn mowing to house painting to snow shoveling to dog walking. If they want to sell products rather than services, they can even start an Etsy store or website selling items they’ve made. Think of all those kids out there who’ve made a bundle selling something as simple as bracelets, bath bombs or custom tees. If she needs inspo, she can find out if her school has a TREPS club for young entrepreneurs.

FOR THE SOCIAL MEDIA-SAVVY

She can turn her social media obsession into a marketing service. Try approaching a small business in your town that may want to build its Instagram, Facebook or Twitter presence. It’s a win-win, helping the business and bolstering her resume at the same time.

FOR THE BOOKWORM

He’s got straight A’s and time to spare? He can rack up extra cash for college by tutoring. He might start by asking a teacher, neighbor or the local library if someone needs help comprehending that seemingly impossible math homework. Better yet, he can visit or call local tutoring centers like Kumon to see if they need someone to assist little ones.

FOR THE DO-GOODER

While some teens might want to get a job for the spending money, volunteering can be just as valuable (both for experience and the resume boost). Helping at a nursing home, planting trees (check out Jersey Cares in Livingston), feeding the homeless at a local soup kitchen or even lending a hand at an animal shelter comes with great experience. There are even gigs at local libraries for tech-savvy teens, who can teach seniors how to use smartphones, computers and more. There's no better way to teach them how rewarding helping others can be.

GETTING STARTED

Your teen is protected by the Child Labor Law that keeps minors from working too many hours or in a dangerous environment. These laws vary by age, but determine how many hours they can work per day, how many consecutive days and more. Per the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, anyone under 18 must have an A300 Employment Certification, which is available on the Department of Labor website (lwd.dol.state.nj.us) or with the issuing officer of their local school district. In addition, they’ll also need to get a physical or doctor’s note, provide proof of age and authorization from a parent or guardian and designated school official. For specifics, head to the Department of Labor website.

Need resume help? Read these tips before he starts making his.

Ysolt Usigan is a writer and editor specializing in parenting and lifestyle. She lives in Bloomfield with her husband, daughter and two cats.

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