Most businesses are not allowed to hire kids under 16 years old. However, there are still lots of ways to find jobs for teens under 16 if you are creative and resourceful. Here are some tips to get you started on your job search.
Find family owned businesses
Because of labor laws, many family owned businesses are allowed to hire teenagers that are at least 14 years old. Finding a list of these companies is somewhat difficult. We would recommend that you check with local or city government to help you find a list. Better yet, ask around school to find out where any other kids are working. For example, we know that some small grocery stores and fast food restaurants, such as Dairy Queen (at least in our area) hire 14 year olds.
Find businesses that hire kids under 16
Besides family owned businesses, there are many other places to find jobs for teens under 16. Some of these industries include restaurants, hotels, fast food and supermarkets. In addition, there are thousands of businesses that would be willing to hire teens “off the books” for small or temporary jobs. Often, if you know any of the local small business owners you can ask them if they need any seasonal or part time help. Many businesses are sympathetic to young workers and because of the relatively low cost of labor, are willing to help.
Find work on craigslist
Hundreds of people are looking for help on craigslist. Most jobs pay in cash and are one or two day jobs. Types of work include landscaping, moving, debris removal, clearing wood and lawncare. In addition to these jobs, there are thousands of small odd jobs that you can find. Another way to find work on craigslist is to post your services so that other can find you. Create a detailed description of all the types of things that you can do so that when someone searches for terms like odd job, clean gutters, paint shed, etc, that you come up in their search result.
Start your own summer business
Instead or looking for work, make work come to you. If you have skills such as lawnmowing, painting, dog walking, mailbox painting, or pet sitting, you can start your own business. Make a bunch of signs that advertise what you can do and place them around your neighborhood. Make sure you refer to your age so that people know you are a young adult. They would much rather pay you for mowing their lawn than hire a professional that gets paid four times as much. Plus, neighbors enjoy helping other neighbors. Use your parents to network and find more jobs. Also, run a classified ad in any free local newspapers and online through craigslist. You can also post your services on job boards, at local schools, churches and public bulletin boards.
You can start babysitting at a pretty young age. The best way to find work is to take a babysitting class and get a certification. Then, put the word out that you are available to babysit. Let your neighbors know and post on any job boards at school or church. Many schools offer lists of local sitters that they give to parents who are looking for babysitters. Pay varies depending on your location, but in our area babysitters make between $5 and $10 per hour.
If you are a hard worker and can handle some manual labor, ask some local farmers if they need temporary help during harvest. Also, target different kids of farms that have harvests at different times of the years. For example, strawberries in the spring, raspberries in summer, blueberries and apples in the fall, and christmas tress in the winter. Also, farmers often hire temporary help for chores such as detasseling corn, picking weeds, bailing hay and sometimes need someone to do some simple chores while they are away from home. Check with your local FFA organization to help you find this kind of work.
Find an under the table job
Many of the jobs we’ve discussed are under the table, as in, they pay you in cash. These types of jobs include most of the craigslist, farm jobs, babysitting and your own business jobs.
Find work online
You’re young but you are also probably more online savvy than people older than you. There are lots of jobs that can be found and completed online. You may need your parents help to set up an account that you can get paid through, as you may need to be 18 to have a paypal account. One example of this would be writing articles about teen related products. For example, if you like video games you could write reviews and articles about the games and then sell your articles to website publishers. You could even start your own blog or website, but you’d need your parents help to set up hosting and to get an adsense account. There are lots of popular bloggers under 18, and you can offer a younger perspective to potential readers.
It’s not really a job, but it is a way to make some money. Sell your unused toys, video games and other stuff online, using craigslist or ebay. When you get good at it, offer to sell stuff for your parents in return for a portion of the sales. Get really good and you can start selling stuff for other friends and family that aren’t very good at online stuff.
In summary, finding a job when you’re under 16 can be frustrating, but if you’re open to some less glamorous jobs, then it isn’t that hard. Be creative and resourceful and you can get a big leg up on all the other kids looking for jobs.