Finding the right kinds of jobs for 17 year olds can be a challenge. This is particularly true if you are working around a school schedule where your hours of availability are extremely limited.
Nevertheless, there are jobs you can find to work around your schedule and pick up great experience at the same time. In this article we are first going to give you four things to think about before you start your job hunt. Secondly, we will then give you a list of potential jobs to explore.
FOUR THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU JOB HUNT
At this point, you’ve probably already thought about where or if you will go to college. Maybe even what you plan to pursue as a career.
Don’t think about this potential career path as something far off in the future. The quality job experience you earn today will pay dividends in several ways.
1. JOBS FOR QUALITY EXPERIENCE
Practical application of your studies will really help you add perspective to the “why” behind your college journey. If you walk into your professional education with no real life experience, it can be tough to connect the dots of how it relates to what you will be doing in the future.
Relevant experience will help set you apart from other applicants in school and in your future career. Many students don’t have much experience to list on a resume, particularly any experience that includes a “real” job with relevant experience.
If you can list an internship or employment with a local company in the same industry, it shows you are serious and puts you a step ahead of your competition.
2. HOW TO FIND A QUALITY JOB
Now that you are convinced that the right job for a 17 year old should revolve around quality experience, let’s talk about how to find one. According to experts on the matter, about 80% of jobs that are filled never get listed.
What this emphasizes is the importance of networking and “pounding the pavement.”
The first thing you need to come to grips with is that you may have to take less or (gasp!) no money. You have to believe that the real value isn’t in the wage you are earning now, but in the real world experience you are gaining that most others your age will not.
Trust me, this is invaluable. Perhaps you find a good internship in your field of interest and after a few months realize you really don’t enjoy it at all. While this may be disappointing, this is still invaluable!
You can now refocus your efforts and save thousands of dollars in tuition that you didn’t waste on a major that you would eventually hate! How else would you know this without experience?
On the other hand, maybe you love the work more than you anticipated. Besides the value of the experience we’ve talked about, you now gain confidence and a boost of energy as you prepare to educate yourself in the field. Motivation is key to momentum.
Once you get past the road block of what you are going to make, it is time to start networking. No matter how you feel about that word, you have to do some form of it. If not, you are missing those 80% of jobs we talked about earlier.
Who cares if the place is “hiring?” They may well need help with a project but don’t want the cost and hassle involved in sifting through a bunch of candidates, so they put it off. You have to go find them.
Pounding the pavement is literally about getting out of the house and walking into some places, seeing if you can help out. Again, you have some leverage because you aren’t concerned about pay. You can also send some emails or make phone calls If it is a business nearby, drop in and introduce yourself.
Maybe you are a web designer and you noticed that they have a crappy site, offer to build a new concept for them for free. If they are wondering why you would do that, tell them you are trying to pick up experience before you enter your college classes.
Could you imagine if they decide to use your design? They might give you some money for your trouble, but at least you would pick up other referrals when people ask them “who designed your web site?”
You would also pick up some great tangible experience for your resume, that will pay off in a big way down the road. Employers love people with initiative, so taking steps like this speaks volumes about you.
Web design is just one example. Think about what you can offer and how you can add value to others. Perhaps you like to bake, look for a bakery or catering service. Like tools? Why not work for a machinery shop or with a construction crew to learn more about the business?
Another great way to “pound the pavement” is using social networking. Reach out to friends and family who are working full-time and see if their employer needs any part-time or seasonal help.
Ideally this would be a business that interests you personally or lines up with your future career aspirations. You’ll typically have a better chance at picking up some ad-hoc work from a smaller company. A giant corporate bank will have a bunch of hoops for you to jump through, which may not be your thing.
Often a place with only a few employees will welcome help from an eager, talented 17 year old and be happy to “show you the ropes” as part of the deal.
3. PERSONAL ENRICHMENT JOBS FOR 17 YEAR OLDS
Under the heading of jobs with quality experience, you may well find “personal enrichment” in these same types of positions. However, in this section we are going to focus on those of you who may not have any idea what you “want to be when you grow up” but are still looking for job opportunities that provide great personal growth.
If you like to travel, one thing you may want to consider as you get to the point of graduation is teaching English abroad. This goes by a few different abbreviations, such as TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language), and generally requires some form of certification. The good news is, this certification is very affordable and there are online programs available. Click here to check it out.
If you have the adventurous bug, you’ll likely love the idea of spending a year or so overseas and getting to see and try new and exciting things. Besides the fun you’ll have it can be a great resume builder. The ability to relate with another culture and the leadership qualities to control a classroom are attractive things to have in an employee.
While you likely won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity at age 17, it is something you can start working on after high school so start thinking about it now. If it is an area of interest, find an exchange student at school and offer to be a “conversation partner.” This simply means that you hang out and chat about whatever, and you would correct any mistakes they make in their grammar.
If traveling abroad isn’t your cup of tea, you can no doubt find enriching employment near you. Generally any work you can do which helps others or builds into them is something that will make you feel better about yourself and give you great experience working with people.
Some ideas include working for a local non-profit or charity, like the boys and girls club where you can pour into the lives of young people in your community. Some of this may be volunteer work, but they also have paid positions in some cases. Stopping by in person will be the quickest way to find out what is available.
4. JOBS FOR 17 YEAR OLDS THAT PAY WELL
Despite the fact that most 17 year olds have little to no experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t make decent money. Many times it is difficult to find something where you get paid for your time, and get paid at a high rate.
For instance, if you work in retail or fast food you’ll probably be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of minimum wage.
Basically we are paying you $9 per hour to be here for 8 hours, whether we are busy or if you only have 1 customer during that time. So that is $72 before taxes, which means you might net about $50 for that 8 hours of your time.
If that doesn’t sound like much money, that is because it isn’t.
If your objective is to make as much money as you can, you’ll likely want to look for job where you’ll be able to be paid on the value you can offer. This can often be a type of a service role, or maybe even in sales if you can find a job where you would be paid commission on the things you sell.
At 17, something in the service industry is more likely to be available. Find opportunities to add value and be rewarded accordingly.
JOB IDEA LIST FOR 17 YEAR OLDS
Here is a list of several 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.
1. FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY
There are three different options to look at when considering a job in the foodservice industry.
WAITER OR WAITRESS
In the foodservice industry, one of the best is waiting tables. 16 is usually old enough, given that you won’t be serving alcohol. Knowing that, think about the restaurants nearby that always seem to be busy.
One example is Cracker Barrel. This is a perfect place for a teenager to wait tables. It has a simple menu, is alcohol-free, and is generally busy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
As a waiter, typically you are paid a very low hourly wage. The real money you make comes from tips. This is why it is critical to start your job search by only considering places that are fairly busy during the hours you’d like to work. If you go work a dinner shift after school for 5 hours and only have 3 or 4 tables, you are probably making less than minimum wage. However, that same 5-hour shift at a busy local restaurant might net you $80 – $100 in cash as you walk out the door.
Attitude and initiative are important in just about anything you do. It is particularly important though if you are waiting tables. The other thing I like about this line of work for a teenager is that you can directly influence what you earn by your effort and your attitude.
While being busy is important, a bad waiter might make $15 from 5 tables. A good waiter would have made $40 from those same 5 tables. If you are friendly and willing to hustle, this is a job where you can do better than most people your age.
If you have a place in mind, stop by in person and tell them you’d like to work there. This is much more effective than dropping an application online or a phone call.
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 of 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 McDonald’s, 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 workforce.
The tasks that you will likely come across are taking customer’s orders, cleaning, preparing food 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.
2. CLOTHING RETAIL
In a clothing retail job, you won’t just be folding clothes. A huge part of this job is customer service. Helping customers find what they need and showing them their options.
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.
Think very broadly when you are considering what to advertise for your tutoring services. It can be anything from a school subject to an instrument.
Check out the article about jobs for 13 year olds to read about the 3 suggestions we have for advertising your business.
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.
5. COFFEE SHOP
A job that offers flexible hours are coffee shops, such as Starbucks. Starting out, you would begin as a Barista. As a Barista, you will be trained in how to make all of the drinks on the menu, as each drink has a specific recipe to follow. Having a friendly attitude and being detail oriented are a must since this is a very customer oriented job.
Once you show your aptitude for making quality drinks, positions like a shift leader or store manager would be your next step up the latter. Those positions would require management training and learning how to motivate your team. Take advantage of any time you can get management experience because this will look great on your resume.
6. GROCERY STORE
A local grocery store in your neighborhood would be a great place to start your search for your first job.
Many times you can get jobs stocking shelves, working the register or bagging groceries. At Kroger you usually have to start out collecting the carts in the parking lot, but if you do a great job with that then you can quickly move on to jobs inside the store.
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.
8. SEASONAL JOBS
Being a lifeguard is an important job. You will 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 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. If this is 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.
SKI OR SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTOR
Turning a hobby into a job is pretty easy to do. If you love to ski or snowboard, then becoming an instructor may be a natural step for you. If you enjoy teaching people and encouraging beginners, then a good place for you to start down the path of getting a job as an instructor is talking to the place you spend most of your time skiing or snowboarding. They can let you know what they require and if you need to be certified.
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.
Working at an ice cream parlor is a great summer job. You’ll be able to find part-time and full-time options during the summer.
Depending on how busy an ice cream parlor is that is open all year around, such as Baskin Robbins, they may keep on summer staff at reduced hours. This would work well if you were going back to school, but wanted to work a little bit throughout the school year.
9. LIBRARY ASSISTANT
Working at a library is a great way to build your customer service skills. Most libraries have assistant jobs or intern roles for students throughout the school year and especially during the summer.
The types of tasks you would have at a library would be shelving books, helping people find what they need, ordering books from other libraries, and straightening up the shelves. Customer service will be your main focus as you are working in the library, so during your interview, focusing on that quality will help you land the job.
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 for 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 17 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.
11. MOVIE THEATER
Working at a movie theater is a great job because evenings and weekends are the busiest times.
There are three main areas of the movie theater where you would be working. The first is at the ticket counter selling tickets. This job is pretty straight forward since you only have one product to sell. Movie tickets!
The second area you could work is in the concessions area. You would be running the cash register or making the food.
The third area is in the movie theater. The two options here are taking the tickets at the entrance or cleaning up the theater after a show.
12. START YOUR OWN BUSINESS
You may read this suggestion and think, “Wait a minute! I am 17 years old and I can be hired by a company, so why would I start my own business?” Well, there are some great reasons to look into this option!
Running your own business is a great way to make more money per hour than you would be working minimum wage at the jobs listed above.
Remember that your time has value. In fact, your time has a ton of value. Here is an example using lawn care.
If it takes you 30 minutes to mow your neighbor’s yard and he pays you $25, some quick math suggests that you were just paid $50 per hour. You’d probably have to work a full 8 hour shift at a fast food restaurant to come out with $50 because you would be paid minimum wage and be paying taxes as well.
Your neighbor isn’t necessarily paying you for your time, but rather for your value. Perhaps it hurts his back to do the lawn, or his work schedule doesn’t afford him many opportunities to take care of his own yard. To him, it is well worth $25 every week to not have to worry about the hassle of maintaining his landscaping.
In other words, your service has great value to him. He doesn’t care if it takes you 5 minutes or 5 hours, as long as it is done right he has decided that is worth $25 to him.
So whenever possible, seek out opportunities where you can be paid based on the value you provide. You can find a list of potential businesses you can start by reading the article about jobs for 13 year olds.
If you have any ideas to share as it relates to jobs for 17 year olds, please share below!Jobs For 17 Year Olds - What You Need To Know by Admin