So, you are 15 years old and looking for a job? We have you covered! We will start with information about the legality of 15 year olds working in the US, then move on to talk about the kinds of jobs you should be looking for at this age and a list of jobs for you to consider.
At the end, we will also share tips to make sure you are prepared to nail the interview and land the job.
JOB LAWS FOR 15 YEAR OLDS
According to the U.S. Department of Labor:
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural employment is 14. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to:
- Non-school hours;
- 3 hours in a school day;
- 18 hours in a school week;
- 8 hours on a non-school day;
- 40 hours on a non-school week; and
- hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)
You shouldn’t get too overwhelmed by trying to understand all of the laws as it pertains to teenage employment. Your prospective employer already knows and understands these laws.
It is good to be informed though, so you will definitely want to keep this list of rules in mind as you are job hunting and then making your work schedule.
JOBS FOR 15 YEAR OLDS – THOUGHT PROCCESS
The first question you need to answer is why are you looking for a job. That sound simple enough, but do you really need the money or is it more about filling some time or maybe looking to build experience?
Depending on your answer to that question will determine the kind of jobs you should be open to. Here are two options for you to think about.
1. JOBS FOR MONEY
Since you have limited hours that you are allowed to work, you will want to get the most out of the time you have.
One option is starting your own business. People pay well for babysitting and lawn care services and you get paid in cash.
You might get paid $20 – $40 for mowing a neighbor’s lawn, which may take you less than an hour. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 per hour. To give you some perspective, $30 per hour would be doing well at almost any age, but particularly 15.
Or, working in a service field like a restaurant can also be a good business to go into. Depending on your state and the policy of the restaurant, you may not be able to get hired as a waiter or waitress at the age of 15.
However, you could start out busing tables or working behind the scenes. Some restaurants will do a tip share system, where other staff get a portion of the tips paid to them at the end of the night. Often this can lead to a better than average pay for someone your age.
Ultimately the best money in this field is made by the servers, so you would want to work your way into that job by the age of 16. This is done through hard work, and not complaining about the work you are tasked with upfront.
Don’t think that starting out as a dishwasher or waiter is always some temporary dead end job. The COO of IHOP started out as a waitress there when she was 16. It is a pretty cool story – check it out.
2. JOBS FOR EXPERIENCE
There isn’t always a clear delineation between jobs for 15 year olds which make good money, and those which provide good experience. Obviously, you can find the best of both worlds at times, but again depending on what your focus of finding a job is can determine the types of jobs you should consider.
Maybe at 15 all of your bills are paid for by mom and dad, and you don’t really need to work. However, you know that eventually you are going to get a “real” job and you are ready to start preparing for that.
While that may sound crazy, sometimes you can find an unpaid internship that is virtually priceless as far as the experience it affords you.
For instance, if you already have a strong inclination that you want to go into graphic design and you really enjoy that; go into the best graphic design place you can find and simply ask if you can help out.
That may sound oversimplified, but that is really where I would start. Tell them you are in school, you love learning about graphic design and you just want to learn whatever you can – “how can I help?”
Don’t be surprised if they let you do some job shadowing or give you some project work to take home. Maybe they’ll let you do a version of whatever logo or project they have going, and then provide feedback for you.
You may not realize it now, but this is extremely valuable.
EXPERIENCE HAS VALUE
Why is it so valuable? First, it looks great on your resume. Although it is a couple of years away, you may go to college or a technical school for graphic design.
By the time you are looking for permanent jobs, you’ll be able to list some real-world experience that many of your competitors won’t have.
Secondly, it is great for networking. This simply means you have an opportunity to make some great connections in the industry.
Impress this company with what you can offer and they may hire you straight out of school. If not them, they would be happy to write a recommendation for you or be a handy reference for a different position.
This is applicable to any industry. Look for people in the field you are interested in right now and find out how you can add value to what they do. In adding value for them or providing them some benefit, you’ll automatically get all the benefits discussed earlier.
This is truly a win-win and puts you way ahead of the game at 15.
JOB IDEAS FOR 15 YEAR OLDS
Here is a list of 7 job categories for you to look into. There are so many possibilities here, so you should be able to find one that you feel will be a great fit for you.
Sometimes you have to try several different jobs to get a feel for what you enjoy doing. Don’t be afraid to try more than one of the jobs listed below.
If transportation to a job is a challenge for you, then you can always go back and check out our list of jobs for 13 year olds. There were lots of suggestions in that article for jobs that could be in your neighborhood.
Being a lifeguard is an important job. You would be making sure everyone in the pool stays safe and potentially save someone’s life! A side benefit would be getting to work on your tan while keeping a watchful eye on the people in the pool.
The America Lifeguard Association has different requirements depending on what kind of lifeguard job you are planning to apply for. Getting your lifeguard certification isn’t usually a requirement, but would definitely give you more job opportunities.
You can contact your local Red Cross or The American Lifeguard Association to schedule your training.
SHALLOW WATER REQUIREMENTS
In order to be a lifeguard at a pool that is 5 feet or less, there are two tests you will have to pass.
The first one is being able to swim 50 yards without stopping. Secondly, you will also need to retrieve a 10 pound weight from the bottom of the pool.
Some pools don’t require that you are certified in First Aid and CPR, but having this training would go a long way in helping you get a job at a pool.
DEEP WATER REQUIREMENTS
In order to be a lifeguard at a pool or beach that is over 5 feet deep, there are two tests you will have to pass.
The first one is being able to swim 300 yards without stopping. Secondly, you will also need to retrieve a 10 pound weight from the bottom of the pool.
Some pools and beaches don’t require that you are certified in First Aid and CPR, but having this training would definitely help you in finding a job as a lifeguard.
If you enjoy teaching, then being a tutor would be a great option for you to look into. There are two ways that you can look for tutoring jobs.
Through enroll.com you are able to tutor anyone who is under 18 years old. It is free to sign up and all you will need is either a FaceBook account or a Google+ account.
Once you sign up, set your schedule so that students looking for a tutor know when you are available. The tutoring is done through a webcam with audio, so your computer will need that capability.
Students can rate their tutors, so make sure that the subjects you are planning to tutor students on are ones that you are very knowledgeable about.
If tutoring online isn’t for you, then start asking around at school or friends and family to see if anyone is looking for a tutor in your area of expertise.
Check out the article about jobs for 13 year olds to read about the 3 suggestions we have for advertising your business.
3. FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY
There are two different options to look at when considering a job in the foodservice industry.
As the dishwasher in a restaurant, you are the lowest person on the totem pole, but it is a good place to start when you don’t have much work experience.
The main goal with this job is getting a fast turnaround time with the dishes. Everyone in the restaurant depends on you to work quickly and efficiently.
Some key things to remember when you are working in this area are, prioritizing what dishes are washed next according to what is used the most, changing the water frequently to prevent clogs and keeping your work area organized.
During the slower times of the day, there may be opportunities for you to help do other things around the kitchen. Mopping and sweeping floors and taking out the garbage are not glamours jobs, but will show that you are a hard worker and will get you a promotion much faster.
Fast food jobs, such as McDonalds, are usually very flexible with schedules. They typically have lots of work shifts to choose from since teenagers make up a large portion of their work force.
The tasks that you will likely come across are taking customer’s orders, cleaning, and stocking the self-serve station.
This type of job is where you can learn good customer service skills. Not everyone is happy when they have to wait for their fries or they get upset when they didn’t get exactly what they ordered.
Learning how to best handle disgruntled customers is a skill that will serve you well in any job you would pursue next.
4. ARTISTIC JOBS
If you are artsy and love making crafts or designing logos, then you should check out these two options for selling your work.
If you love making crafts and selling them, then you should check out Etsy. Since you are under 18 years old, you will need a parent or guardian to manage your account, but you can make the crafts and reap the profits!
It only costs 20 cents to list your item on Etsy, so the cost to get started is extremely low.
To get started, follow these 7 steps to build a thriving Etsy business!
If you have a creative bent, then Fiverr may be just the place for you to find a gig. There is a huge range of opportunities from graphic design to writing blog posts to video creation.
The list is huge on this site and could be a great place to showcase your talents. All this can be done from your computer! All you need to do is set up an account, decide what category to start in and then create your offer.
You will want to make sure that whatever you decide to offer, you can deliver on. People can review you on this site and some bad reviews could keep potential clients away. Definitely, make sure that your first jobs are fantastic work and then ask your happy customers to leave a review, so that potential clients know they can trust your work.
There are so many different jobs to pick from when it comes to sports.
Most sporting events have a concession stand and when you aren’t busy serving customers you get to watch some of the game!
You will be spending most of your time serving customers or making food. Some concession stands only serve prepackaged foods, so there would be no food preparation if you worked at one of those.
Since sports are all year around, you can find this type of job anytime.
Soccer, football, and basketball are all sports that need referees. The age requirements on this vary, so you will have to check with your local league. Once you verify that you are eligible for the job, then brush up on your knowledge of all the rules of the sport you are interested in refereeing.
You will have to have thick skin for this job. Many times overly excited parents will disagree with a call that you make, so you will need to make sure you know your rules and stick to them.
Check with your local baseball league to see if you would be eligible to be an umpire. The age requirements vary, but many hire 15 year olds.
You can also register Little League as an umpire and instantly get connected with your local Little League through the national organization. This would be a great place to start as you explore the job opportunities as an umpire.
An assistant coach position isn’t always a paid position, but it could be a great way to get experience in coaching. This job would give you an inside view of what goes into a coaching job and you would be able to learn from the head coach.
If you already play a sport, then you may want to look for an Assistant Coach job in that same sport, but for a younger group. Since you would already be familiar with the rules and how to play, then you would be more likely to be considered for the job.
The job of a golf caddie is to carry the golf bag and hand the clubs to the golfer as needed. You will need to learn the name of each club and have a general idea of what part of the course it is used on. This will help you anticipate which club will be needed next.
As you get more experience, you will also be able to start making recommendations to the golfer on which club you recommend.
Do you have a green thumb? If you enjoy working with plants, then there are three jobs that you should look into.
Your local park is the busiest during the summer months, so they are usually looking for some help.
The first one is working at a nursery. Your parents may even know about one near you if they have flower beds or gardens. You would be working in either a greenhouse or outside and would be taking care of a variety of plants.
Nurseries usually have a variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, and greenery. The types of tasks you would be doing at this job are planting, watering, pruning and moving plants in and out of the greenhouse.
Depending on where you are located, there may be a farm nearby that could use some help. Tasks on a farm could be picking vegetables, planting, or caring for animals.
These types of jobs aren’t always advertised, so you will want to ask family and friends if they know of anyone looking for help on their farm. Or, stop in and ask the farm owner if they are hiring. You will definitely want to start asking around before springtime, since spring through fall is the busiest time and is when they would likely be hiring.
7. SEASONAL JOBS
There are all kinds of jobs that are available depending on the season and where you live. The opportunities are endless, but here are a few to think about.
Summer will be your biggest opportunity for working lots of hours and amusement parks are a great place to start building your resume. You would be doing any number of things, such as ticket sales, assisting with rides, cleaning the grounds, and serving food.
Sometimes parks use other companies as vendors in their parks, so if the amusement park near you doesn’t have any openings right now, then you should check out other opportunities available for jobs with the park’s vendors.
If working with kids and roasting marshmallows over a campfire sound fun to you, then you will want to check out camp counselor jobs near you. Your local YMCA would be a good place to start.
There are many organizations in most cities that offer summer camps, so doing a quick google search should bring up lots of options for you to choose from.
A camp counselor is in charge of planning and leading activities with their group of kids. Since this would be your first year being a camp counselor, then you would likely be paired with a more experienced counselor so that you can learn from them.
Having lots of energy and a love for teaching kids is a must for this job. If you think that maybe teaching is something you would be interested in as a profession when you get older, then this could be a great opportunity for you to see how much you enjoy being in a teaching role.
CHRISTMAS TREE LOT
During the Christmas season, a favorite holiday tradition for many people is picking out a Christmas tree and decorating it. You can find lots that sell pre-cut trees or ones where you cut your own tree down.
These businesses are normally open in the evening and weekends, which is perfect for working around your school schedule.
INTERVIEWING FOR A JOB AT 15
Depending on the path you take to finding that first job at age 15, you may have to get past the hurdle of the job interview.
If you are mowing grass, you probably won’t get a formal interview by the homeowner. However, if you go to work at a restaurant, you undoubtedly will have an interview.
Here are some tips to ace the interview process.
1. BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS
Use “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” until the interviewer says to call them something else. You would be surprised how many people your age miss this step and make a terrible first impression.
Using your manners will help you stand out from the crowd.
2. DRESS WELL
When in doubt, wear a shirt and tie for guys or a nice, modest dress for ladies. Again, many 15 year olds won’t do this and it will help you make a good first impression.
If the place you are going to work is casual, perhaps you could get by with khaki pants and a button-up shirt.
Even if you overdress, this will almost never be seen as a negative thing as the person knows that you care about the job opportunity and take it seriously. That sends a great message.
3. KNOW ABOUT THE JOB
Take 10 minutes and Google the company if it isn’t a place you already know well. Find out what they do, and ideally what your job will entail.
This will help you ask educated questions when the time comes and again show that you took time to prepare.
4. ASK QUESTIONS
It is expected that you ask questions, even if deep down you feel like you don’t have any. Here are some good samples of what you could be asking.
Remember that you are interviewing them as well, so try to find out if this sounds like a place where you would enjoy working and get some benefits out of it as well.
You don’t want to come right out and say “do I get paid vacation?” or “how much are you going to pay me?” in your first interview. Those things will come up later, but find out about the company and the job you are applying for.
Ask your mom or dad to do a practice interview with you. It is likely that they have been in your shoes, so they can do a test interview with you at home.
While that might sound horribly awkward, you’ll be surprised how much that helps your mind get in the right mode before the interview. If there is something you struggle to articulate, it is better to figure that out beforehand so you can work on it.
6. FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE
“But I am 15 years old! I don’t have any experience.” It doesn’t have to be job experience. The person interviewing you understands you are only 15 as well, so they aren’t expecting you to have a job history.
However, they will want to know about situations where you were a part of a team and accomplished a goal. So think ahead of time of experience you’ve had a school, church, and other groups and what lessons you’ve learned that might be beneficial for getting a job. This could be charity work you’ve done, fundraisers, sports teams, missions trips, etc.
As long as you practice and are prepared, you can just relax and be yourself in the interview process. Here is a short video that helps you with a question that you will inevitably hear at your interview: “Tell me about yourself.”
FINAL THOUGHTS ON JOBS FOR 15 YEAR OLDS
Job hunting can be tough, but know that with persistence, you will find one! It may take trying a few different jobs to find one that you really enjoy, but that is part of the fun of exploring this new phase of your life.
Each job will give you new experiences and will help you with future interviews and build your skill set.
If you’re curious, you can check out the list of jobs you will be eligible for next year when you are 16 years old.
I hope this guide has been helpful in your job search. Feel free to comment your own experiences and suggestions below about finding jobs for 15 year olds!Jobs For 15 Year Olds - What You Need To Know by Admin