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Working after school can be more than just a way for teenagers to have a little extra spending money or assist their families. With a little planning, you can find a job that also gives you skills that carry on to your career later in life. It can even help you decide if it’s the right career path for you. On college applications, you’ll be able to show that you have real world experience that can give you a boost over similar students. Here are some ways to connect your career interests with common jobs for high school students.


If you’re planning on a career in the business word, it’s easy to get a head start. Working in retail, especially at department stores, is a great way to start learning before you are even done with high school. As a cashier at a store, you are representing the brand when interacting with customers. Attempting to meet your daily sales goals will give you real life experience with promoting and selling. You’ll also learn how to communicate efficiently with your coworkers and customers. These interpersonal skills are useful not just in the business world, but in many areas of life, too.

Maybe someday you’ll end up working for the corporate team of the same organization because you have understanding of both sides of the industry. If you already know what type of industry you are interested in, select a store that matches your interests. Interested in cosmetics? Work at a makeup store or the cosmetics department of a major retailer. Is fashion more your thing? Work at a clothing store. There are many options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something that peaks your interest.


So you know you’re interested in being a teacher, but you don’t know what age range of young people you would enjoy working with the most. You may love playing with your niece when your sister comes to visit, but when interacting with other people’s children, that feeling may change.

Try to get at least some experience with children from outside of your family. You might feel more comfortable watching older children if they are not related to you. These types of jobs are usually easy to find by word of mouth, and it always helps to get certified in things like CPR. Watching a child learn, play, and grow will give you first hand experience and put some money in your wallet. Babysitting is a way for you to find out if working with children is truly a good fit for you.


When high schoolers think of food industry jobs, most would first think of getting a job at a fast food restaurant. If a career in the culinary field is what you want to explore, look for a job at a restaurant with a more sit down atmosphere. Although you may not be given a job working directly with the food, you’ll get experience with working in an environment where much skill is required when preparing the dishes.

Search for a smaller, locally owned restaurant that may be more willing to higher a young person with less experience. When delivering orders to the kitchen, you’ll learn technical cooking terms, and when you’re answering guests questions and requests for recommendations, you’ll see how different dishes are composed and which dishes compliment each other.


If you’ve dreamt of being a veterinarian since you were a little kid, see if there are any jobs for teenagers at your local animal shelter or animal control. Those places may only be able to offer volunteering positions, so, if that’s the case, contact a local animal hospital or animal grooming place.

Offer to help them set up a new website, put advertisements up around town, or be their receptionist as a way to get your foot in the door. Even if you don’t get to work directly with any animals, hearing about their conditions and learning about a variety of pets and species will give you unique knowledge.

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the author

Cara Claflin is a senior who attends a public school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though she plans to stay in Minnesota, attending college in a state that doesn’t have snowstorms in May is starting to sound appealing. She hopes to double major in journalism and marketing. Cara loves helping high school students make the most of all the resources available to them. At school, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and takes part in a leadership group. When she has some free time, she enjoys dancing, listening to music, reading, and watching music and dance competition reality shows.

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