Top Ten First Jobs for High School Students

first jobsLooking for your first job? Perhaps you are seeking a summer job, want to save up for a car or college, hope to get a head start on your future career, or are just eager to gain some work experience to put on a resume. No matter your goal, first jobs are critical to becoming a responsible adult.

There are plenty of first jobs available for those just starting out in the workforce, especially if you are willing to take a minimum wage job. This will provide you with valuable work experience and positive references for future job applications.

When you’re just starting out and haven’t worked at a real job before, the best type of position to look for is one that doesn’t require prior experience. Then, whatever skills you learn in your first job will be transferable to any job you take on next.

If you haven’t had a job before, you may not know where to start looking. So, to make it a little easier on you, we decided to compile a list of the ten best first jobs you can get as a teenager.

Here is our list of best first jobs, in no particular order:

1. Fast Food Server

Fast food serving is a popular first job for high school students. Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burgers in particular are two great companies to work for. You will have the opportunity to grow as a team member, and if you have management skills there may even be a career for you in the fast food industry! Ice cream parlors, coffee shops, and pizzerias are also good places for teens to work.

2. Waiter/Waitress

Working as a waiter or waitress at a restaurant or diner requires a lot of energy, an outgoing personality, and good communication skills as you interact with customers in a fast-paced environment. You must be friendly and attentive if you want to get good tips.

3. Grocery Store Employee

A grocery store is an excellent place for teens to get a variety of experience. Cashiers and baggers hone their customer service skills while deli and bakery clerks balance both customer service and food prep skills. Stockers learn about the internal operations and inventory processes and can work to improve their efficiency in order to stand out.

4. Babysitter

If you like children, this would be a good job for you. Many babysitting gigs are informal arrangements with people you know. This informality makes them perfect for enterprising but busy high schoolers eager to earn some extra cash without committing to a steady part-time work schedule. Find the right parents and make a good impression, and those infrequent or irregular babysitting gigs might turn into a steady job – perhaps watching kids every day after school instead of a few hours every third Saturday night. A few ideas to make yourself stand out include: getting CPR certified, posting on apps like Nextdoor, and asking your current clients for referrals.

5. Landscaper

Many industrious teens start out mowing lawns, clearing brush, cutting weeds, trimming shrubs, and other yard work for their neighbors. Landscaping is hard work, but you get to be outdoors and there is a lot of variety in the job depending on the season – helping with spring planting, raking fall leaves, or shoveling snow. Like babysitting, lawn care offers boundless opportunity for enterprising high schoolers seeking a flexible, informal, decent-paying work arrangement that’s easy enough to scale by stringing together multiple gigs. Your success will require some degree of self-promotion, whether that’s flyering the neighborhood, posting on Nextdoor, handing out business cards, or asking for word-of-mouth referrals.

6. Tutor

The highest-paid tutors – those who earn $50 or more per hour – generally have college degrees. Still, smart high schoolers can make good money helping classmates and younger students with their homework by finding clients through apps like Nextdoor, and getting referrals as you establish your reputation. Math tutors especially are always in high demand, which is great if you are good at math.

7. Dog Walker / Pet Sitter / Ranch Hand

Like landscaping and babysitting, animal care services – dog walking, pet sitting, and related activities – is a flexible, scalable, often informal gig that’s great for entrepreneurial high schoolers. Because you almost certainly have pet owners in your extended social network, tapping that network might be all that’s needed to land a steady stream of part-time pet care work. Pet sitting is a great summer job, since people tend to go on vacations during the summer, leaving you to feed a neighbor’s cat or dog once per day while they’re away. If you live in a ranching area, you can help with a variety of chores ranging from cleaning stalls to feeding horses.

8. Car Wash Attendant

Car wash attendants are responsible for washing cars inside and out. Typical duties include applying soap solution, scraping loose dirt, cleaning tires, rinsing with a hose, drying, dusting and vacuuming, removing trash, cleaning seats, polishing, and carrying out all other daily duties that ensure effective operation of a car wash facility. The job requires delivering the best customer service to customers. If you like cars and don’t mind getting wet, this is the job for you.

9. Theater Usher or Ticket Taker

If you like attending movies, plays and concerts, you probably would like the job of greeting patrons, taking tickets, and ushering patrons to and from their seats. Cleaning up spilled popcorn, and helping people with special situations can be among the duties expected.

10. Golf Caddy

Many private golf courses and country clubs employ caddies who carry the clubs of golfers during a round of golf. Being a teen golf caddy is a good fit for the school year, since teens can caddy on weekends, and can caddy all week long when school is out for the summer. This is job is best for someone passionate about golf with knowledge of the game and familiar with the course layout, because in addition to carrying a player’s bag, caddies may assist the player with obtaining accurate yardage for shots and providing general course strategy. The more helpful you are, the better, as caddies are heavily reliant on tips.


Working at one of these first jobs is a fairly low-stakes way to acquire the sorts of basic skills you’ll need to succeed in career-track jobs: following instructions, efficiency, time management, teamwork, and customer service. First jobs can be challenging and fun at the same time. The most important thing is that you get out there and get started! And if you do ultimately decide to pursue a different career path, you’ll still have a head start on candidates without any real workplace experience.

Tell us about your first job! Leave a comment below…

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