A Guide on Jobs as a High School Student

By
Rylee Rhineberger, Edited by Arienne Hartsfield
Published on
October 3, 2022

Searching for a job in high school adds to the stress of being a full-time student. This article contains tips and advice that I have gained from my own personal experience as a working student on how to make your job search easier, as well as how to keep your job while still excelling in school as a student. Getting a job in high school can teach you many valuable lessons that you can continue to apply throughout your future endeavors and give you an idea of what to expect in the future.

Tips For Getting a Job in High School

Join Clubs 

Participation in clubs is something to include on your resume. Being a part of clubs displays that you are able to commit to extracurricular activities. Additionally, holding positions in clubs (ex: President or Secretary) can help display your leadership skills, as well as other desirable traits to your future employer. Many clubs available to join at school, if there is not one you are interested in, consider starting your own. 

Volunteer

Volunteering while in high school shows that you are involved in your community and, depending on what you do, can help you gain experience that may later relate to your job. Volunteering can build fundamental skills that an employer may be looking for, such as communication or the ability to work in a group setting. Volunteering in your community also allows you to make connections, and meeting new people within your community can open doors to potential jobs. 

Go In Person

Many jobs have transitioned into strictly virtual applications but for those that have not, they may prefer for potential employees to stop by in person to inquire about a job. This is viewed as the more traditional way but doing this can make you more memorable and help make a good first impression. This is not a required factor but it is highly suggested, especially if you are applying for a position where you will be expected to constantly work with customers. If you do go in person, do not go in with your friends or send a parent in for yourself.

Follow Up

After you apply for a job, whether in person or online, if you have not heard back after a while, it may be a good idea to follow up. You can follow up by stopping in and saying you had submitted an application and would like to follow up on the status of your application. If you have a manager’s email, you could also reach out via email to follow up as well. This will show you are still interested and can take initiative.  

Speak with Counselors, Teachers, or Friends

If you are struggling finding places that are hiring or that you would like to work at, reach out to a guidance counselor, a teacher, or even friends who may have a job themselves. Some places may not market online that they are looking to hire new employees. Speaking with friends who may already have a job may be beneficial because they can give you advice as well from their experience about how they got hired. 

Build Relationships With Your Teachers or Other Respected Adults

Potential employers may ask you for a list of references; you do not want to put down your family or your friends unless they work where it is you are applying. Building relationships with teachers or other adults in your life can ensure they will put in a good word for you. Your references may have a large role in whether you get the position or not.  You can later use these connections you have built with teachers again to write recommendation letters down the road, such as for college applications. 

Advice on Maintaining Your Job

Don’t Procrastinate School Work

If you allow yourself to fall behind in school, you will likely be overwhelmed once you try to catch up. I like to think about it as I may not know what will come up or I may not know when I work next, so I put a good amount of my freetime towards getting ahead in my classes. In addition, times that I feel highly motivated I typically will do more work because I do not know when motivation will strike again. Do not wait till the night before or the day of to do your work. 

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You will not be expected to know everything right away, even after you have gone through training it is still okay to ask questions. Some places may not have a good training program or not have one at all. The only way to learn and excel is to ask questions. By doing so, you are displaying your desire to be better and a willingness to learn. 

Avoid Calling Out Unless It Is Important

Do not call out of work at the last minute unless it is important. Some places will be more strict than others, personally as long as I can find someone to cover my shift, or trade with me it is okay. Yet, in some places you must communicate this directly with your manager, so be aware of the protocols and what will be expected of you. Typically as long as you plan ahead and communicate your availability with your boss, you should be fine. 

Call Ahead If You Will Be Late

If you are running behind leaving the house or have issues with transportation, whatever the case may be, call your manager or send them a text if you will be arriving late. It does not matter whether it is five minutes or an hour, it will always be better to communicate and let someone know. If you do not reach out, you will appear as a no show, which may cost you your job. 

Always Try to Stay Busy

Sometimes work may be slow or you may feel as if there is nothing to do, but my advice would be to always stay busy. You will never know when a manager, or even an owner may be watching. If you can not find anything to do, ask others if they need help or for ideas of things you may be able to do to stay productive. I always try to do things that may make the next person's shift easier or something that may be appreciated by the crew the following day. 

These are just tips that I have gained from my experience searching for a job and getting a job in high school. There are many more factors that will come into play while trying to get a job in high school, but overall it is important to remember to be yourself and maintain a positive attitude.

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