High school students and even middle school students are often eager to take their first steps toward adulthood by working part-time. If you are a teen who wants to work, understanding the youth employment situation can give you a better picture of what to expect. Knowledge of U.S. labor laws can help you figure out which types of jobs and work shifts you can apply for. Keep reading to find out about these topics and learn practical strategies for working while in school.
The job market is tough for teenagers right now.
Well, the job market is tough for everyone right now, but especially so for teenagers. Jobs for high school students and minors are especially hard to come by. As of August, the unemployment rate for teenagers was 24.5%. That’s the highest of any demographic group.
Basically, it means that about 1 out 4 teenagers who has been actively looking for a job has been unable to find one. So, expect to apply to a lot of jobs before getting your foot in the door!
U.S. labor laws restrict jobs for high school students and teens according to age.
The law limits the types of jobs high school students and middle school students can hold. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Youth Rules website provides examples of jobs teenagers from different age brackets can hold.
Jobs for Middle school students: 13 or younger
As a middle school student, you can’t do most types of work until you turn 14, but you can still start earning money. While walking dogs and mowing lawns might not sound exciting, this type of work will prepare you for bigger jobs later.
Examples of age-appropriate jobs from the Department of Labor:
- Delivering newspapers
- Acting/performing (movies, TV, theater, radio)
- Working for your family-owned business (owned or operated by your parents)
- Helping on a farm (you must have a parent’s permission)
Jobs for high school students or middle school students: at least 14
Now that you are finishing up middle school or starting high school, you can do many more types of work. However, you still can’t do any type of work considered hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Still, there are plenty of opportunities.
Examples of age-appropriate jobs from the Department of Labor:
- Office work
- Grocery or retail help
- Restaurant service
- Movie theater employment
- Baseball park positions
- Amusement park positions
- Gas station help
Jobs for high school students: 16 and up
Jobs for high school students open up a lot once you turn 16. You can now hold any job that isn’t considered hazardous. Rather than listing the many types of jobs you can hold, it’s easier to list the jobs you still can’t hold. Keep in mind that the Department of Labor makes some exceptions for apprenticeship opportunities in these hazardous jobs.
Examples of prohibited, hazardous jobs from the Department of Labor:
- Making or storing explosives
- Driving a vehicle or helping a driver
- Forestry services (fire fighting, fire prevention, timber management)
- Logging, sawmilling
- Operating power-driven machines (there are exceptions)
- Meat processing
- Making tile, brick and similar products
- Demolishing and shipbreaking
U.S. labor laws also restrict the kinds of hours teens can work according to age.
Just as the Department of Labor sets the standards for acceptable jobs for high school students and minors in general, they also specify the hours in which teenage employees can work. The following guidelines come from the Department of Labor’s Youth Rules website.
Working hours for middle school students: 13 or younger
Since the jobs that students your age are allowed to hold are positions that regular child labor laws don’t apply to anyway, there are few specific limits on working hours. These are usually part-time jobs, however, and you need a parent’s permission to hold them.
Working hours for teens: 14 to 15
At 14 or 15, you can now hold many potentially full-time jobs, so the Department of Labor gets more specific about the hours you can work.
Outside of normal school hours, you can work after 7 a.m. and until 7 p.m. During the summer, from June 1 to Labor Day, you can work until 9 p.m.
You are not allowed to work more than:
- 3 hours during a school day
- 18 hours during a school week
- 8 hours during a non-school day
- 40 hours during a non-school week
You can’t work during school hours, unless you take part in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program. Then, in addition to being able to work during school hours, you can also work up to 23 hours per week during a school week.
Working hours for high school students: 16 and up
Jobs for high school students 16 and up can involve any hours. You can now work during normal school hours, too.
Finally, if you want to work in high school or middle school, follow 5 pieces of common-sense advice:
1. Keep school your top priority.
Jobs, for high school students and students in general, should always take a back seat to school responsibilities. If your grades start slipping, you come back from work without enough time to study for tests, or you need to rush through your homework, it’s time to cut your hours or find a different job.
2. Start small.
Don’t sign up for lots of hours right away. Start slowly and figure out what you’re comfortable with first. It’s better than possibly disappointing your new boss or coworkers later.
3. Tackle the transportation issue early.
As a teenager, there’s a good chance you don’t have your own car yet. So, you will need to figure out a way to get to work on time. If your city’s public transportation system is decent, look up bus schedules online and plan a route to get to work. You don’t want to take the last bus that can get you there on time—you want to take the one before that. It’s better to be half an hour early than 5 minutes late.
Otherwise, you’ll either have to take your bike, walk, or find a reliable carpool. Try using Google Map’s walking directions or bicycling directions to see how safe and how far the trip is. Joining a carpool with your coworkers can be a good option, but only if they’re dependable.
4. Stay organized.
Make sure you choose classes as early in the semester or year as possible and pick up your work schedule as early in the week as you can. Let your boss know about changes in your availability, such as final exams week, ahead of time. You may want to keep a planner, wall calendar, or to-do list app with your assignment due dates and work hours regularly updated.
5. Budget your study time.
Bring a few assignments, school books, or e-books with you to work. If your boss allows you to do homework or read during downtime, this can be a great opportunity to get caught up. You can also do an assignment while on the bus or listen to an e-book on your headphones while walking or riding your bike to work.
The bottom line on jobs for high school students…
Working can be a great experience for teens. However, tracking down jobs for high school students is hard in this economy, where even experienced workers are unemployed or facing lay-offs. You can improve your chances of being hired by knowing which positions the Department of Labor allows you to hold at your age and which shifts you can work. Once you are hired, following simple guidelines can help you get the most out of your new job and show the world how responsible young people can be.
Our website recently ran an article listing the 10 highest paying jobs for 2011, the first part of our two-part feature on highly profitable careers. Without further delay, here are jobs 11 through 20 on the list of highest paying jobs.
All figures are based on average salary estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2011.
A pediatrician is a doctor who treats babies, children, and teenagers. If you enjoy being around kids and think you can handle medical school, you can look forward to an annual salary of $165,720.
12. Dentist (specialty)
When we talk about specialty dentists, we’re excluding oral surgeons and orthodontists, since they are already covered in the top 10 highest paying jobs, as well as prosthodonists, who are a little bit lower on the list of highest paying jobs. There are plenty of other specialties to choose from, such as endodonics (the study of the tooth pulp), periodontology (the study of the gums), and pediatric dentistry, just to name a few.
With the exception of prosthodonists, who earn a little bit less, specialty dentists earn an average of $162,190 per year.
13. Dentist (general)
Just as specialty doctors usually make more than general practitioners, dental specialists tend to make more than regular dentists. But, you’re reading about the 20 highest paying jobs, so “less” still means $158,770 per year, making dental school a great investment.
A prosthodonist deals with the treatment of missing teeth. They work with dentures, bridges, and dental implants. One of the somewhat lower-paying dental specialties, prosthodontists still make a very respectable $139,620 per year.
This is the last unofficial, unpaid medical or dental school advertizement on the list of highest paying jobs, we promise!
Podiatrists are doctors who focus on the foot, ankle, and lower leg. As a podiatrist, you might not make quite as much as some of your fellow medical school graduates, but with an average yearly income of $133,410, we think you’ll survive!
As a lawyer, you’ll act as both an advocate and an adviser, trained in the ins and outs of the legal system.
Instead of medical school, you get to enjoy 3 years of law school, culminating in a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. This job will bring you an average salary of $129,440 per year.
17. Natural sciences manager
Unlike many of the other highest paying jobs, this one sounds a little more obscure.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, a natural sciences manager‘s job is to “plan, coordinate, and direct research, design, and production activities.”
These well-educated problem solvers “determine scientific and technical goals within broad outlines provided by top executives,” such as “improving manufacturing processes, advancing scientific research, or developing new products.”
If you have both excellent technical skills and people skills, you can enter a scientific specialty field and aspire to become a natural sciences manager. Your reward will be a fresh $129,320 in the bank each year.
18. Petroleum engineer
As a petroleum engineer, you will focus on the production of crude oil and natural gas. Get ready to figure out how to extract oil from some of the most hostile environments on the planet, including desert, deep sea, and arctic areas.
But, here’s a bonus: unlike many of the highest paying jobs, you have a chance of nabbing this one with just a Bachelor’s degree!
According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce “petroleum engineering is by far the highest-earning Bachelor’s degree major with median earnings of $120,000 and 75th percentile earnings of $189,000.”
The average yearly salary for petroleum engineers comes to $127,970.
19. Architectural and engineering manager
As is the case with the natural sciences manager position, the average person isn’t too familiar with this high-paying job.
According to O*NET OnLine, a website offering descriptions of various jobs, an architectural and engineering manager has to “plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.”
Basically, as an architectural and engineering manager, you will use your technical knowledge to help organizations achieve their goals while leading other architects, engineers, and general employees.
Just like for the natural sciences manager position, you must have both exceptional technical skills and interpersonal skills for this job. You will usually need an advanced education and extensive experience as an architect or engineer. If you make it, you can expect an average annual salary of $125,900.
20. Computer and systems information manager
Is it any wonder that another of the 20 highest paying jobs is a position requiring both outstanding technical and personal skills? It’s a very profitable combination!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, a computer and systems information manager has to “plan, coordinate, and direct research on the computer-related activities of firms.” They use their knowledge to help companies determine and implement technology goals. Computer and systems information managers oversee technical aspects of a company, like software development, Internet activities, and network security.
Like the natural sciences manager and architectural and engineering manager, the computer and information systems manager is usually a professional with an advanced education and plenty of experience. That’s why this is a career that can bring you $123,280 each year.
And that wraps up the 20 highest paying jobs for 2011. As you can see, medical and dental professionals still dominate the top of the list, but there are plenty of other highly skilled positions to choose from, including one that generally only requires a Bachelor’s degree.
So, if you’ve been wondering whether a college diploma is a good investment, we hope that reading over our list of the 20 highest paying jobs has cleared that up for you!
Need a break from job hunting? Spend a few minutes reading funny resume mistakes! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to take excerpts from anyone we’ve worked with. These funny resume mistakes were found online and the people responsible for them have remained anonymous. While they provide a great giggle, they also highlight the importance of proofreading your resume and not being too honest in how you present yourself.
Funny Resume Mistakes, Act I: Typos
If you don’t find the errors on your resume, hiring managers will. These funny resume typos sure demonstrate that fact! They come courtesy of the University of Kent’s informative yet funny career services site.
- i am a prefectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.
- Proven ability to track down and correct erors.
- Lurnt Word Perfect computor and spreadsheet pogroms.
- Develop an annual operating expense fudget.
- In my 3rd year of BA houners English.
Funny Resume Mistakes, Act II: Incorrect Word Selection
Spell check may have been able to catch the above errors, but the errors below are technically not misspellings. The job seekers responsible for the funny resume mistakes you’re about to read used the right words in the wrong ways. When you see them, you’ll understand why it’s important to ask a human to look over your resume.
These quotes also come from the University of Kent’s career services page:
- Received a plague for salesman of the year
- My role included typing in details of accounts, customer liaison and money-laundering duties.
- I was a prefect and pier mentor
- Extra Circular Activities
- At secondary school I was a prefix
- In my spare time I enjoy hiding my horse
- Dear Madman (instead of Madam)
- My hobbits include
- Oversight of an entire department
- Restaurant skills: Severing customers
- I’m an accurate and rabid typist
- Abilty to meet deadlines while maintaining my composer
- I have a degree in orgasmic chemistry.
- Instrumental in ruining an entire operation for a chain operator
- Suspected to graduate early next year
- (For a PR job) I have a long term interest in pubic relations
- As indicted, I have over 5 years of analysing investments.
- I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience
- i am a conscious individual with good attention to detail
Funny Resume Mistakes, Act III: Excessive Honesty
The following funny resume mistakes and cover letter snafus aren’t typos, but they are great examples of TMI —too much information. An important rule in resume writing and cover letter writing is you should never say anything negative about yourself or a previous employer, even if you think you can do it in a humorous way. This includes information the average person would perceive as negative. These folks just didn’t get it.
The following examples come from Things People Said, a funny quote website.
- Graduated in the top 66% of my class.
- Married, eight children. Prefer frequent travel.
- Reason for leaving last job: Pushed aside so the vice president’s girlfriend could steal my job.
- Previous experience: Self-employed — a fiasco.
- Work history: Bum. Abandoned belongings and led nomadic lifestyle.
- Reason for leaving last job: The owner gave new meaning to the word ‘paranoia.’ I prefer to elaborate privately.
- My ruthlessness terrorized the competition and can sometimes offend.
- I am quick at typing, about 25 words per minute.
- Special Skills: Speak English.
- Exposure to German for two years, but many words are inappropriate for business.
- Please disregard the attached resume — it is terribly out of date.
- It’s best for employers that I not work with people.
- Insufficient writing skills, thought processes have slowed down some. If I am not one of the best, I will look for another opportunity.
- I am relatively intelligent, obedient, and as loyal as a puppy.
- I need just enough money to have pizza every night.
- I’ll need $30K to start, full medical, three weeks vacation, stock options and ideally a European sedan.
- I realize that my total lack of appropriate experience may concern those considering me for employment.
- I’ll starve without a job but don’t feel you have to give me one.
- AT ONE POINT IN TIME DURING [John Doe's] 28 YEARS ON THIS PLANET, HE WAS IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT; WHICH PUT A FEW YEARS THERAPY, SOME ‘ROLLERCOASTER’ EMOTIONAL SOUL JOURNEYS, AND A WICKED JOB RESUME, WHICH MOST EMPLOYERS WOULD FROWN UPON, AROUND HIS PRESENT IDENTITY… TEN YEARS ‘IN THE RUNNING’. HOWEVER, GIVEN THE PRESENT CASH FLOW, VIA. THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, CONSISTENCY, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY, HAVE BEEN REALIZED AND TOUCHED UPON OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. ALL IN ALL, MY RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IS GROWING NEAR END IN RESPONSE TO MY ACCUMULATED WORK HISTORY. HENCE, I SEE URGENCY, CLOSURE, SOME FEAR, STRONG DESIRE, AND MATURITY ALL WOVEN INTO THIS EXPRESSION OF ME, THE EMPLOYEE TO YOU, THE EMPLOYER.
Yes, funny resume mistakes are definitely entertaining, but also serve as an important warning to job hunters. Always spell check your resume before sending it out, but don’t stop there. Spell check will not catch certain issues, such as words used in an incorrect and possibly hilarious way. Make sure a human looks over your resume, too. A trustworthy human should also be able to warn you if you’re being inappropriately honest in your resume or cover letter.
Of course, you want your resume to be memorable and attract attention from hiring managers, but not like this!
While plenty of resume advice is offered to adult professionals, learning how to boost your high school resume can be more challenging for the job seeking high school student.
As our blog recently reported, finding jobs for high school students isn’t easy. As of August 2011, the unemployment rate for teens was 24.5%—the highest all the U.S. demographic groups. Mix this together with a global economic slowdown and you’ll see why teens have it tough in the job market.
That’s why we’re offering 5 resume tips for secondary school students in this article. Keep reading to learn how you can boost your high school resume while improving your college application, too.
1. Take 4 years of a foreign language.
Many colleges have made 3 years of foreign language study mandatory, but it really will benefit you to take all the foreign language classes you can handle. Even at the high school level, knowledge of a foreign language can give you an edge over other applicants, especially if you speak a language that’s in high demand in the business world today.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the most popular languages internationally are Chinese, Spanish, English, and Arabic. We’re assuming you already speak English, so dive into one of the others to boost your high school resume.
2. Participate in extracurricular activities.
Taking part in extracurricular activities shows that you are motivated, well-rounded, and open to teamwork. These are skills that interest virtually all employers. Plus, you’ll be able to make new friends and network with classmates.
Extracurricular activities can be an especially effective way to boost your high school resume if you have a leadership position. So, once you learn the ins and outs, see if you can run for officer positions.
3. Keep your grades up.
Yes, it’s generally true that your high school grades won’t matter anymore after you finish your first semester of college. But, right now, your high school GPA is one of the best tools you have to showcase your motivation, diligence, and sense of responsibility to employers.
After all, why should an employer believe you will work hard at your job if you don’t work hard at school?
So, boost your high school resume by earning a GPA you will be proud to discuss at an interview, not to mention on your college application.
4. Ask teachers—or even your principal—to provide you with references.
OK, this isn’t technically a way to boost your high school resume, since you are not supposed to list references on your resume. However, you may be asked to provide references during an interview or while filling out an application, so they are important to have. This is especially true for high school students, who typically don’t have much experience yet.
High school teachers and principals make good references, since they tend to be established professionals. So, if you had a class you excelled in, or even just enjoyed a lot, ask your teacher if you can use them as a reference. It might take more effort to get close to your high school principal, but it’s usually possible. You might volunteer as an office aide for a semester or look for other opportunities to talk to your principal.
When someone agrees to be your reference, be sure to get their full name, title, e-mail address, office address, and phone number. They are doing you a big favor, so remember to thank them. A handwritten thank you note is always a great touch.
5. Volunteer in your community.
Volunteering provides you with valuable work experience and demonstrates your commitment to the community. Plus, colleges love applicants with volunteer experience.
Remember that landing a volunteer position isn’t always easy, however. As with jobs, some organizations make you pass an application process before being accepted, so it helps to have a great resume and up-to-date references.
Besides being a way to boost your high school resume, volunteering is also a serious responsibility, just like having a paid job. That why the College Board recommends asking yourself these questions before deciding to volunteer with an organization:
- How much time do I have to commit?
- Do I want an ongoing regularly scheduled assignment, a short-term assignment or a one-time assignment?
- Am I willing to participate in a training course?
- What talents or skills can I offer?
- What would I most like to learn by volunteering?
- What don’t I want to do as a volunteer?
- Do I want to work alone or with a group?
- With what kind of people do I want to work — both in terms of who is receiving my services and who my coworkers might be?
Keeping the above questions in mind and setting realistic expectations for yourself can make volunteering a more rewarding experience.
The bottom line on how to boost your high school resume…
Learning how to boost your high school resume basically comes down to making yourself attractive to employers without having a lot of work experience. Foreign language skills, extracurricular activities, good grades, quality references, and volunteer experiences really do matter at the entry level and beyond.
Remember, a hiring manager’s top priority isn’t to add up how many years you’ve worked. They want to determine whether you can do the job and are worth the risk of hiring. If you can make them answer “yes” to both questions, you have a good chance of getting your foot in the door.
Have you been thinking about changing to a more profitable career? Or, are you curious to see what the other half makes? Either way, you’ll enjoy reading our list of the top 20 highest paying jobs.
These highest paying job figures are based on median wages reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2011. Oh, and not to ruin the surprise, but most of them involve going to medical school.
If you can thrive in medical school and don’t mind the thought of cutting someone’s body open, this can be a very profitable career choice for you. The increased demand for surgeons is driven both by the aging population and the increased desire for cosmetic surgery. The average salary for a surgeon is $225,390 per year.
Anesthesiologists give patients medical care before, during, and after surgery. They deliver or supervise the delivery of anesthesia to their patients. After you finally get out of medical school and get on your feet, you will have a median wage of $220,100 to look forward to.
3. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
The days of having teeth pulled at the local dentist are fading away. Now, specialized oral surgeons are preferred for work like removing teeth, installing implants, and other types of dental surgery. Your payoff for making it through dental school and a long residency program will be in the range of $214,120 annually.
Almost every woman sees an OBGYN at some point in her life, making this a job that will always be in demand. The prospect of making $210,340 should help you through those intense late-night medical school study sessions.
Now that even adults are wearing braces to improve their teeth, it’s no wonder that orthodontists are in demand. An orthodontist can treat both improper bites and guide the development of the face. Dental school will be your path to making $200,290 per year.
6. Internist (general)
An internist handles the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses in adults. A general internist needs to be able to help patients with a variety of health problems, such as multi-diseased patients. Expect to study a variety of medical topics at school —and, of course, don’t forget about the $189,480 salary.
7. Physicians and surgeons, all other
There are medical specialists for just about everything today. If people suffer from it, you can study it in medical school, then make $180,870 a year trying to treat it.
8. Family and general practitioner
This may be one of the lowest-paying positions for a doctor, but at $173,860 a year, you don’t exactly have to live thrifty.
9. Chief Executives
Finally, a very high-paying job that doesn’t require years of medical or dental school! A CEO’s job is to lead an organization, typically while reporting to a board of directors.
As college dropout billionaire Bill Gates showed, you don’t need an education to make huge sums of money as a CEO. That being said, an education sure helps.
According to the magazine U.S. News and World Report, 481 out of Fortune 500’s CEOs have a college degree. So, to help you earn that $173,350 average CEO salary tomorrow, educate yourself today.
And we are back to the medical specialists. If you like helping people in need and you like making money, you’ll enjoy this $167,610 job.
Not to be confused with a psychologist, a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. Unlike most other mental health care providers, they can prescribe psychiatric medications, order laboratory tests, conduct physicals, and order brain imaging scans.
As you can see, an education pays off! If you truly enjoy the work, going to medical school or dental school is a great investment. You will enjoy not only high pay, but the security of knowing that your position is in demand.
In fact, even a Bachelor’s degree in a health-related field is the best choice for students who want to find employment after graduation. A recent report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that workers with a degree in a health-related field were the most likely to be employed after graduation—98% were!
The great thing about health fields is that you can always move up. As a licensed practical nurse, you could find an employer to fund your education so you can become a registered nurse. Later, if you decide to, you can continue on through medical school.
So, if you have been thinking of making a career change, now you know what’s profitable. It’s up to you, of course, to decide whether any of these jobs would make you happy.