High school students seek jobs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they want extra money to make a large purchase, such as a vehicle that gives more freedom to get to school and activities. Maybe they want to save money for college or would like to have the ability to purchase clothing or other items. They might want to gain practical career experience to accommodate future goals. Those students wishing to combine school with an outside job are most successful if they carefully plan their schedules.
Making a Plan
Students under age 18 must obtain their parents' permission to have a job, be at least the minimum age required in their state to work, and in some states, get the required work permit. Successful students who also have jobs follow a working plan for their weekly schedules to ensure they can accomplish school assignments and other responsibilities. Balance of work and school is important to succeed in both areas and working hours should allow for adequate study time.
The Job Search
A job search can be performed in the following ways. Having a contact within a business might give an advantage over someone else who has applied for a position. Sometimes family and friends know someone else who may be looking to hire. Nowadays, many companies and organizations advertise open positions online, particularly seasonal or entry-level positions. Online job boards update regularly and are helpful sources of information. Direct calls to businesses or in-person visits can be made to inquire if jobs are available.
The Job Application
Most companies require applicants to complete a detailed application that requests information such as previous job or character references, contact information, social security number and any previous job experience. Keeping detailed records of job experience, even volunteer work, is helpful in building a professional foundation. Jobs and contacts during this time are important and will help in future jobs. Volunteer work and internships can enhance a professional background from an early age.
Whether you work a few extra hours during a holiday season or seek a supplementary job throughout high school and college, you are expected to arrive on time and work to the best of your ability. Employers depend on their employees, just as high school teachers expect their students to perform well and complete their assignments. Having a job in high school is an adult responsibility in terms of the expectations of professionalism and hard work.
Alison Lake has been a journalist and editor since 2001, working with numerous newspapers and magazines. She has served on the world news desk of the "Washington Post" and contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy Online, Al Jazeera English and GlobalPost.