The youth of today are the future of tomorrow. That being said, teens should be taking on many of the jobs nowadays. For some, this is easier said than done as getting the stereotypical teen job isn’t what it used to be.

With online employment websites, employers get to be more selective with who they hire. This fact alone makes it harder for teens to get jobs. Not only that, but employers are requiring more experience even for entry-level jobs. This can be frustrating for a full-time student looking for something to make money on the side, who has no other way of gaining experience before they actually need a full-time job. Applying for jobs can feel like a dead end when there is nothing that sets you apart from other candidates, but this does not stop students from finding odd jobs or creative ways to make some extra money.

Take Senior Sophie Danner, for example. Sophie has been looking for a job for quite some time and found that searching for standard jobs wasn’t going as well as she had hoped. So she took hobbies that she liked to do and turned them into an income for herself.

Sophie Danner
Sophie Danner turned something she loved to do (drawing) into a way to make money. Photo credit: Maleah Upah

Sophie is president of the art club at Olympia High School and enjoys drawing and painting. In place of a standard job, she does commissioned art. She has not given up searching for a regular job. “It is hard, though, because college students and adults have more open schedules and as of right now I can’t really compete with that,” Danner says.

While Sophie’s path is an interesting one, many students do prefer a more standard job. For another senior at Olympia High School, getting the job you want is all about networking. AJ Fontenot works at a Ford dealership detailing cars. He got his foot in the door because his mom was also working at the dealership. Before he had the chance to work at Ford, he was offered a job at a McDonalds that he visited often and was well known at. “People like to hire people they know, that’s why networking is so important,” Fontenot states.

AJ Fontenot
Senior AJ Fontenot at work detailing cars at a Ford dealership. Photo credit: Maleah Upah

However, having a more traditional job has proven to have its downfalls for AJ. He finds that he has to be more flexible with his schedule and learn to balance school and work. “One of the biggest struggles that teens face with getting a job is time management,” AJ says. “Trying to do school and work is difficult and it is hard to fit in other things.”

Junior at Olympia High School, Caleb Wertz, agrees that working a job and doing school can be too much to handle so he plans to find a job in the summer so he can choose to focus on school – a path many students take. Caleb does try to find ways to make money, much like Sophie, he relies on a talent to help him with an income. Caleb does freelance journalism on the side of his regular school schedule. He writes articles for online news outlets and gets paid for doing so. Caleb is also an editor for his school newspaper The Olympus, so writing is something he enjoys and is good at.

Teen Job Hunt Olympia
Junior Caleb Wertz working on his freelance journalism. Photo credit: Maleah Upah

“I plan on getting a job during spring break or summer so I can get more hours and don’t have to worry about school on top of it,” Caleb states. “I’m looking for a job in retail or anything that will hire me.” Until then he is happy making money his own way.

Even though finding a job can be difficult for kids in school, there are many ways to go – from traditional employment to finding your own way.

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