how to launch your teenager into the working world


When I was a teenager, and if I wanted something, I had to save to buy it; and that meant getting my first job after school so I could save for my very own car!

Fast forward and now it is time for my teenage children to find their first part-time job. Having your own job develops self-confidence, independence, maturity, communication skills and more importantly resilience and responsibility.  Of course, the add on for our children is they have their own money to spend or save.

OK guys have mum or dad just said to you…. “It’s time for you to get your first job.”

Where do I start? Read On….

Looking for your first job can be overwhelming. If you have managed to mooch of your parents up to now, it is time to get off the couch and start searching.

1. Get your CV sorted

Putting together a resume is great practice and will have you thinking about the skills you have or may want to learn. One page is sufficient for someone in high school or fresh out of University. Jot down your school grades, hobbies, extracurricular activities, any volunteer work, or any skills you have gained. If you are struggling to find adequate experience for your CV then it may be worth clocking up some voluntary experience. Volunteer work stands out as much as a proper job, it shows dedication, commitment and you are open to learning new jobs.

2. Experience

What do you want to get out of this?  Start looking at sites that cater to people who are new to the job market. Retail and Service Industry jobs are the most likely to hire people with little experience and you will get the training.

3. Attitude

Be open and enthusiastic about your job, chances are it won’t be your dream job, you will need to compromise. If you are open and willing to do anything, within reason of course, this is how you will build up your experience.

4. Location

If you do not have your own means of transport such car or bike licence, then you need to consider how you are going to get to and from work. Ideally you need to find a job that you can get to easily and stress free. Catching several busses to work will be costly and the novelty of travelling will wear off quick and it will become a drag.

5. Work Schedule

If you are still in school, apply for a role that fits in with your life. Apply for roles that you know you are available for; skipping class to go to work is not an option so look for a position that will enable you to balance both.

6. What Next?

Your resume is set, and you are ready to apply for jobs. You can apply online or you can drop it around to local businesses who may be hiring or may hire in the future. The resume enables a local business to keep it on file and refer back to when they are searching.

7. What else can I do?

Have you done a First Aid course?

While this is not mandatory when job hunting it is a great skill to have and may set you apart from your competitors. If you are considering a baby-sitting role as an example; as a parent, I would hire the person with a first aid certificate if given the choice; have a look at doing a first aid course as you will be better prepared in a crisis.

Have you completed your RSA & RSG

If you are over 18 you may want to consider completing your Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Service of Gambling. Accredited training facilities are available that offer a fun and informative one day RSA and RCG course that will provide you with the knowledge and skills to obtain a NSW competency certificate.

The RSA and RCG course is required for people working in an environment where alcohol is sold / served or gambling facilities are available, including:

  • Gaming attendants
  • All staff working an a bar
  • Drive through bottle shops
  • Licensees, managers
  • Event staff
  • Restaurant, cafe and pop up bars

8. So, it is time to look for a job. What stores are at your local shops?

Not only is it local but most likely convenient to get to and from.  Below is a list of some ideas to get you started:

Cafes & Restaurants

Chances are you have a local café / take away food shop and or restaurant. Some of the roles available could be.

  • Waitressing / Waiting.
  • Dishwasher
  • Customer Service/ Till operator / Order taker
  • Barista
  • Cleaning
  • Food prep

Grocery Store

Whether it is an IGA or a large chain the jobs at a supermarket can be varied and you will earn valuable skills such as handling money and customer service skills.

  • Shelf stacker
  • Customer service
  • Check out operator.
  • Deli worker
  • Fruit and veg section.

Retail stores

If you love fashion, then why not work in a clothes store; you will have a new appreciation of customer service and you will learn many skills on how to handle people. Jobs are not limited to clothes stores; check out the local chemist, homeware store or hardware. Your tasks could include:

  • Customer service
  • Stocktake
  • Cleaning and tidying store.
  • Sales Assistant

Fast food chains

These positions always look great on your resume and are perfect for someone just starting out. Full training is generally provided and there are always opportunities for advancement.

Check out your local McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jacks, Subway etc


Reception / Front desk / Office Assistant

This role could involve answering the phones, photocopying, making tea or coffee, filing, booking appointments. Check out the local gym, doctor’s surgery, real estate office, or hotel.

Babysitting – if you love kids and love to play games then this could be the perfect job. Put up a flyer in your area, ask family and friends, have a look at local Facebook groups; enquire at the local childcare they may know families who are looking for a local babysitter.

Tutoring – are you excelling in a subject, are you amazing at explaining something? Then helping someone else learn could be the answer. Put up a flyer in your area or school, ask your teacher if they have suggestions, have a look at local Facebook groups.

Food delivery Driver

You will need your own licence & car and be available to work nights and weekends however your local restaurants such as Chinese, Pizza and Thai are a good place to start. Food delivery Apps such as Deliveroo and uber eats could also be an avenue to explore but you will need to be above 18 years old.

Catering Staff

If you like to mingle then a catering job could be a great match. It is generally weekend work; it can be ad hoc but you will get a variety of experience and meet lots of different people. You could be involved in setting up, food prep, waiting, serving, cleaning, pack down. You will learn a range of skills and enjoy the variety of each job.

Lawn Mowing / Garden maintenance / Car washing.

These jobs are perfect for the long summer holidays you could ask your neighbours, or even a local landscaping company. If you enjoy working outdoors, then this is the perfect job for you.

Dog walker / Washing cars /House cleaning/ Pet sitter /Yard work.

Do you fancy yourself as a bit of an entrepreneur, then why not start your own business offering your services to the time poor. You can start off by asking people in your neighbourhood, family friends.

There are so many ‘first jobs’ out there. Some other options could include newspaper delivery, the local cinema, bowling alley, RSL club, Pub, florist, the bakery, and the local juice bar. The options are endless.

Having your first job is an important step as a teenager; it is the foundation for future success, you learn money management skills and it can help you decide what career path you may take when you do finish school. As a bonus to the extra money you are making; your part-time after school job may mean store discounts, free meals, or discounts on gym classes. The trick is to pick a job you like doing and will enjoy it.

Here are some links to check out before you start:

The minimum work age is different for each state and territory and for roles.

You will need a tax file number to work:—instructions/

If you are looking for advice on getting your first job, please contact the experienced team at Optimal Recruitment on 02 8416 4181 for a confidential discussion.