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Good First Jobs for Teens

This list of good first jobs for teens was inspired by a comment on my article about teenagers finding work and making money. I started working when I was 12 years old (yes, babysitting). I saved my first $1,000 when I was 14 years old, and bought my first car (a 1982 Ford Mustang) when I was 16. Ah, the good old days!

Good First Jobs for TeenagersRead What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job, if you don’t know what career you should have. One of the first steps to finding a good job for teenagers is to start moving in the direction of your dream career. No idea what you want to be? No worries! This fun, rewarding guide draws on the time-tested principles of the career classic What Color Is Your Parachute? to help you discover your passions, skills, and potential college majors and dream jobs.

Why did I create this list of good first jobs for teens? Because on Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People, Elisa said, “I am 15 years old and am looking for a part time job but I really struggle with talking to strangers. Many of my friends are getting good first jobs as check-out-clerks or at retail outlets but I just can’t see myself doing that.”

This list of potential employers and places to work contains job search tips for teens, as well as hints for discovering the best career for your personality, interests, and lifestyle. I also included a list of internet search terms for summer youth employment and good first jobs for teens, to help you go further. If you have any questions about finding a good first job and you’re a teenager, please ask below.

Good First Jobs for Teens

Instead of duplicating a list of good first jobs for teens that you could find anywhere (i.e., on the internet or in job search resources), here I share the jobs that I had when I was a teenager. This will help open your mind and think outside the “teen job search” box.

I can’t possibly list all the good first jobs for teenagers here because I don’t know where in the world you are! So, I’m sharing ideas for finding summer youth employment that may help you figure out your own best first job.


This is a good first job for teens because you don’t need a social insurance or social security number. My niece was the only babysitter in her neighborhood, and she charged $20 an hour! I got paid $5 an hour, I think. Chances are you won’t earn $20 if you work as a teen babysitter in your city or town, but it’s a great way to get experience and references.

To find babysitting jobs, I posted signs in libraries, grocery store bulletin boards, laundromats, community centers, and malls. If you’re a good babysitter you won’t have to hunt for work because parents will talk about you. This one of the most popular first jobs for teens, and it can make good money.

Job Search Tip for Teens: Consider your personality when you’re looking for good jobs. If you’re extroverted, read Jobs for People Who Like to Party (Extroverts!).

A “Carney” Who Travels With a Carnival or Fair

Would you believe this was my first “real” job? It was also my most exciting job! I really wanted to put this job as number one on my list of good first jobs for teens, but it wasn’t the first job I ever had.

How did I get a job as a carnival worker, traveling from town to town and working on the kiddy rides? By babysitting! That’s why “babysitter” is number one on this list of good first jobs for teens. I’d posted my “Teen Babysitter for Hire” on the bulletin board of a nearby laundromat, and one of the carnival workers saw it while washing her clothes. She hired me to babysit her kids while she worked (she was a carney). When her carnival was leaving my town, she asked if I wanted to go with her and keep babysitting her kids. Yah!! So off I went, at 13 years old, traveling with the carnival. Got my first kiss there, too.

Job Search Tip for Teens: If your dream job includes adventure and overseas travel, read How to Find a Job in South Africa – Tips for Expats. I know you’re searching for “good first jobs for teens” right now – but you need to keep your future career in mind, as well!

Self-Employment for Teenagers Who Are Creative

This is my favorite first job for teens because it has the potential to be so creative, lucrative, and interesting. You don’t need to be an adult to create your own job (but you do need to be creative and clever). I’m self-employed: my blogs pay my mortgage and allow me to take overseas vacations every year. Blogging or online writing can be a good first job for teens who are shy and introverted.

Job Search Tip for Teens: What product or service can you offer? Maybe you’ve created your own caramel chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, or you knit sweaters. Maybe you developed your own iPhone app, or you’re awesome at organizing digital photos. Think about ways you can use your talents, gifts, and skills to serve other people. Then, charge them money for your product or service.

Mall Jobs

summer youth employment

Good First Jobs for Teens

Since every list of good first jobs for teens includes employment at a mall (eg, retail stores, restaurants, kiosks, etc), I hesitated to include “mall jobs” here. But, malls are really good places for teenagers to find work! I worked at an ice cream store in a mall when I was 16, and I hated my job. Can you see yourself working in a mall for 35 or more hours a week? If not, scratch mall jobs off your list of good first jobs.

Job Search Tip for Teens: Do you struggle to talk to strangers? Ask the adults you know and trust for ideas for good first jobs for you. It might be easier to start working for your uncle, teacher, or soccer coach. You’ll start meeting and talking to strangers slowly, which is the best way to overcome shyness in social situations.

Dog Walker – the most fun first job for teens who love dogs

This wasn’t one of my first jobs when I was a teen, but I am encouraging the teenagers I know to think about this. I have two dogs and I need help walking them when I have to be away from home all day long. I included this job on 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students, because you can earn quite a bit of money if you take the dogs on group walks.

Job Search Tip for Teens: When you’re searching for a good first job, remember that every job has the potential to lead to another, better job. So don’t be picky! Be open to ALL “summer youth employment” options, even the most boring jobs.

A List of Search Terms for Summer Youth Employment

I know this isn’t a complete list of good jobs for teens. I can’t possibly list all the possible sources of employment in your neighborhood, community, or city! So, I encourage you to use the following search terms to help you continue your job hunt.

The best way to search is to add your location to these terms. That way, you’ll get a more specialized and relevant list of good first jobs for teens.

Good First Jobs for Teens

Good First Jobs for Teens

  • Summer jobs for teens
  • Best jobs for teenagers
  • High school jobs
  • Easy jobs that pay well
  • Good first jobs for teens
  • Mall jobs
  • Odd jobs for teens
  • Student employment

What are your thoughts on these good first jobs for teens? Please comment below! I can’t offer advice on finding good first jobs for teens, but I’m happy to try to answer your questions. Feel free to ask and comment below!

If you have a job you hate, read How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared.

May you find a job that makes you happy, and start working towards the career of your dreams.


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