What Your High Schooler Should Look for in a Part Time Job

Young woman working in grocery store
Emma Tunbridge/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

As your kids get older, it is important to teach them the value of working to earn money. Some parents make the mistake of always handing their kids money, which is a disservice if the kids never learn how to work.

High school is a great age to start working at a part time job because they can get some extra spending money for school activities and start saving for college. Here are a few things that your high schooler should consider when they are looking for a part time job:

How Flexible is Their Work Schedule?

One of the biggest concerns about starting a job in high school is if the work will interfere with study time or school activities. High school should be the student’s top priority, and the job shouldn’t interfere with their ability to maintain their grades and participate in their extracurricular activities.

Some jobs offer flexible options, such as shift trades, that can be done with other employees who work for the company. There are some part-time jobs that are flexible enough to let students take a week or two off when they are studying for exams or working on a big project. Ask about scheduling and what should be expected on an ongoing basis.

Skill Set for Future Career Growth

Many high school students work in retail or the food industry, where they learn skills such as customer service and money management. These jobs are a great place to start, but they should also look for opportunities that will help them develop specific skills that will help them to launch their career after high school.

For example, a woodworking shop assistant can be a great way to leverage into a career working as a carpenter or woodworker. Or, a part-time office job can teach skills that are needed for a career in business or management. Even basic skills can offer the stepping stone that is needed to get a better job, which can lead down the pathway to a successful career.

Additionally, these types of jobs allow the student to learn more about the industries they are interested in, so they can determine if they want to pursue that career path. Sometimes, a student might begin working a part-time job in high school, only to discover that they don’t want to spend their career in that industry. The part-time job gave them enough insight into the industry so they can change their focus and start striving for something else.

Environmental Factors

Friends and coworkers play a big role in shaping the values of your child, and high school students need to be selective about the work that they choose and the environment where they will be spending their working hours. It is important to look for a job with good employee culture and a positive environment, instead of something that might lead them down a different path.

Summer Jobs vs. School Year Jobs

Some companies hire high school students, and they adjust the work schedule depending on the time of year. One of the best arrangements for a high school student is a company that will allow them to work part-time during the school year, and then increase their hours during the summer.

Having a summer job is a great way to save for college, save for a down payment on their first car, or build a savings account that can be used during the school year.

Find out which companies in the area are willing to hire high school students, and what the options are for employment during the summer and during the school year.