Best Summer Jobs for Teens and Tips for Finding Them

teen scoping ice creamSummer jobs can have awesome benefits for teens, not the least of which is keeping them occupied! But sometimes teens aren’t sure what kind of job to look for or how to find it.

Most summer jobs for teens fall into one of two basic categories: entrepreneurial, where teens develop their own business, and traditional, where teens are hired by someone else. Each one has its merits; it just depends on what your teen is looking for.

Here are some of the best summer jobs for teens in each category, and some tips on finding them.


The key to running a successful entrepreneurial venture is identifying a skill your teen has that others are willing to pay for. An entrepreneurial job will teach your teen skills in marketing, price setting, client retention and schedule management. Here are some suggestions, ranging from the conventional to the creative:

  • Babysitting
  • Yard work
  • Washing/vacuuming cars (people love having you detail the inside!)
  • Holding clinics to teach kids a favorite sport
  • Creating websites for small or home-based businesses
  • Running errands
  • Scanning and organizing old photos

Creative marketing is what will turn these jobs into lucrative opportunities. Here are some great ways your teen can market the service:

  • Develop a creative name. (How about “An Inside Job” for car vacuuming?)
  • Do a job or two for free for friends to build credibility and testimonials
  • Spread the word, using everything from word-of-mouth, to flyers on mailboxes to social media (a good word on a parent’s Facebook can do wonders!)
  • Always, always do their best on each job. Each client is a referral!


A traditional job can be the perfect way to ease your child into the real-life working world. They’ll master punctuality, learn new skills, get experience in customer relations and work as part of a team. Top traditional summer jobs include:

  • Camp counselor
  • Server at a restaurant or coffee shop
  • Retail personnel at the mall
  • Office worker
  • Pool/golf course attendant

Ironically, finding these traditional jobs can sometimes be even more difficult than entrepreneurial jobs! Many small business owners just don’t have the capacity to hire teen workers, and competition can be fierce. Here’s how to get the inside edge:

  • Apply in person. It’s too easy to just send out tons of resumes, so business owners and managers are often impressed when a teen literally “goes the extra mile” and applies in person. That offers your teen the chance to showcase her personality and professionalism.
  • Remember it’s a game of numbers. If they only apply at the places with “help wanted” signs, the possibilities might look bleak. Instead, turn in an application at every place where they are remotely interested in.
  • Create a professional email address and phone message. Yep, most employers still make phone calls or send emails, so make sure that your teen is ready to receive messages professionally.
  • Check messages and respond promptly. If someone is sizing up a candidate as a potential hire, a quick response can be key for showing a responsible attitude.
  • Spread the word. Just as with entrepreneurial jobs, be sure to spread the word that your teen is looking. A referral from another adult can be just the ticket to get their foot in the door.

Your teen might find that sometimes the hardest part of a summer job is finding it in the first place. But with perseverance and creativity, it won’t be long until your teen is setting the alarm and joining you in the world of “coffee and commute.”



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