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Best First Jobs: 75+ First-Time Job Ideas for Teens & College Students

We’ve all gotta start somewhere.

Whether you’re still in your mid-teens in high school or looking for your first job after finishing university, you’ve got hundreds of job title options in dozens of industries.

Because we know it can be challenging to come up with ideas for what your first job should be (not to mention landing that job), we’ve come up with this article to help make things easier. Use these to help come up with first-time job ideas or validate the ideas you already have.

Here are the best first jobs for teenagers, young adults, and students:

1. Food Service Jobs

If you’re on Google searching “jobs for teens near me,” many fast food chains and mid-scale restaurants are sure to come up, as the food service industry is where many of us get our start. I myself started out as a busboy, helping to clear tables and hoping for a cut of the servers’ tips at the end of the night.

From Starbucks to fine-dining restaurants, food service gigs make for great entry-level jobs for beginners. Here are a few of the most popular food industry jobs for people without experience:

  • Dishwasher
  • Bartender or barback
  • Waitress, waiter, or server
  • Busperson
  • Barista
  • Prep cook or line cook
  • Fast food worker
  • Ice cream shop employee
  • Restaurant cashier

Related Read: 7 Reasons to Research a Company Before & After Applying for a Job

2. Retail Jobs

Jobs in retail are another popular choice for those starting out. Whether at a large Costco anchor store at the downtown mall or as the solo worker at a local mom and pop shop, here are some great starter jobs for first-timers:

  • Sales associate
  • Customer service representative (CSR)
  • Cashier
  • Inventory associate
  • Stock clerk
  • Warehouse associate
  • Order picker

Related Read: 10 Cover Letter Tips & Tricks Sure to Score Job Interviews

3. Camp Jobs

Part-time jobs are great ways to earn some cash and get some real-world experience. The most popular part-time jobs for students and young professionals are those in the camp spectrum, such as summer camp, band camp, YMCA camp, or girl scouts camp.

Here are camp-related jobs perfect for first-time employment:

  • Camp counselor
  • Kitchen staff
  • Assistant camp director
  • Program staff
  • Site maintenance
  • Swim instructor

Related Read: 10+ Job Search Tips & Tricks to Up Your Chances of Landing an Interview

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4. Sitting Jobs

No, I don’t mean jobs where you work sitting down (though, you certainly could!). Rather, some of the best first jobs for high school students and those who only have a little spare time are nanny-type opportunities. These gigs let you focus on your school work while still allowing you to earn cash as a weekend job.

Sitting jobs for first timers include:

  • Babysitting
  • House sitting
  • Dog sitting & dog walking
  • Cat sitting
  • Au pair

However, many of the job posting websites (including our own Goodwall Opportunities) won’t show full job ads for these types of jobs, often due to the costs involved or the detail needed in the job description. So, rather than googling “places hiring teens near me,” try a local website, such as your town’s newspaper, or a community board. If all else fails, take a walk around your neighborhood!

Related Read: 55 Resume Tips, Hacks & Expert Advice to Help You Score a Job Interview

5. Information Technology (IT) Jobs

If you’re looking to have a fulfilling tech career, there’s no reason why your first job can’t already be part of your career path. There are many awesome entry-level jobs in IT out there perfect for college students, such as:

  • Graphic design
  • Content writing
  • Social media marketing
  • Webmaster
  • Junior technology associate
  • Junior data entry associate
  • Entry-level IT tech support
  • Online community manager

Ever wondered what the difference between a job and a career was? Have a look at our guide which explains the differences!

Related Read: Work From Home Jobs: 13 Best Remote & Online Jobs for 2020 & Beyond

6. Teaching & Tutoring Jobs

Just because you’re still in high school or university doesn’t mean you can’t impart your own knowledge onto others. If you have a particular knack for English, say, become an English tutor part-time! Here are some other ideas for teaching gigs for those without professional experience:

  • Math tutor
  • Online ESL teacher
  • Elementary tutor
  • Kindergarten tutor
  • Test preparation tutor
  • Summer camp counselor
  • After school program assistant
  • Sports coach
  • Homework helper
  • Daycare assistant
  • Assistant teacher
  • Substitute teacher

Related Read: What to Bring to an Interview? 10+ Things to Take for Your Big Meeting

7. Freelance Jobs

Need some cash and experience to put on your resume but don’t have the time for a steady job with all your classes and activities? Freelance gigs make perfect first jobs, as you can complete them at your own pace. This is the best kind of “BYOB”—be your own boss.  

A few ideas for freelance 1st jobs include:

  • Photography
  • Web design
  • Programming
  • Writing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Virtual assistance
  • Translation / interpretation
  • Uber driver / Lyft driver

Related Read: 25+ Studying & Working From Home Tips for Productivity and Success

8. Creative Jobs

If creativity runs through your veins, there’s no reason why you can’t get a creative job as your first paid employment. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Designing visuals, presentations, or illustrations
  • Floral designer
  • Blogger
  • Copywriter
  • Photography
  • Social media specialist
  • Makeup artist

Oh, and if you’re more of a late-riser, creative gigs such as these can often easily accommodate being night shift jobs, as well, particularly if you’re freelancing.

Ready to start looking for the best first jobs for you? We’ve got the full guide on all the top job search sites right this way.

Related Read: How to Get a Job With No Experience (Whether In the Industry or at All)

9. Hospitality Jobs

One of the most common industries for entry-level job seekers after food service and retail is the hospitality sector. Take a look at these examples:

  • Hotel receptionist
  • Front desk attendant
  • Bellhop or porter
  • Cruise ship attendant
  • Event planning associate
  • Housekeeping
  • Valet or parking attendant
  • Host or hostess

If you have the urge to explore the world, hospitality gigs make for some great first jobs. Find a company that offers an employee discount on travel (e.g., Hilton Hotels), save up a bit from each paycheck, and prepare for an amazing adventure at an agreeable price!

Related Read: How to Choose a Career: The Complete Guide to Picking One You’ll Love

10. Internships Jobs

What better way to get your foot in the door and step onto your career path than by starting your first job as an intern? There are internships in almost every field you can imagine, but here are several ideas for you:

  • Financial intern
  • Web development intern
  • Summer internships
  • Undergraduate co-op program
  • IT internship
  • Program assistant
  • Cybersecurity analyst apprenticeship

Need some help finding an internship? You can easily apply for an internship through Goodwall in just a few short steps!

Related Read: 15+ Best Internship Websites for Finding Programs Near You (or Abroad!)

11. Jobs in Other Services & Industries

We gave you a few ideas for some key industries and first-time job types, but there’s way more that that to choose from! Here are just a few more:

  • Newspaper delivery
  • Amusement park employee
  • Car wash attendant
  • Food delivery (Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.)
  • Farm worker
  • Club attendant / golf caddy
  • Pool or beach lifeguard

When you’re all ready to apply to your first job, make sure your web profile is up to date!

Related Read: 10 Niche Social Media Sites & Vertical Networks to Join

Top 20 Most Common First-Time Jobs

Not sold on the jobs for first-timers we’ve suggested above?

Well, it turns out, many of those good first jobs above make the top 20 list of most common first-time jobs around the world.

The Facebook data science team analyzed thousands of English-language posts which used the hashtags #firstsevenjobs or #first7jobs. Then, they took the information and created a ranking of the most common jobs for beginners. 

Here are the 20 most common first-time jobs:

  1. babysitter
  2. cashier
  3. lab assistant
  4. newspaper delivery
  5. teacher
  6. camp counselor
  7. retail
  8. dishwasher
  9. receptionist
  10. manager
  11. waiter/server
  12. hostess
  13. intern
  14. McDonald’s – one of the most popular places for teens to work!
  15. student
  16. barista
  17. store clerk
  18. pizza delivery
  19. lifeguard
  20. research assistant

Some interesting data in there, right? 

By the way, if you’re interested, you should definitely check out that article. The Facebook team performed the same analysis for posts in other languages, and the results were interesting, including strawberry picking as #5 for Finnish speakers and pulling white hair for speakers of Vietnamese!


Are you ready to search for your first job? You don’t have to leave this site! At Goodwall, we’ve got over 5 million jobs and internship opportunities just waiting to be filled. Simply log in and start your search.

Then, prepare for your first interview!

How’d you find this article? We hope it helped you come up with ideas as to what would make a good first-time job for you. Got any questions, comments, or first job ideas we missed on our list? Let us know in the conversation area below, and thanks for reading!

Sours: https://www.goodwall.io/blog/best-first-jobs/

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Find Entry Level Jobs Near You with Handshake

Wondering why your Google search for “jobs near me” isn’t giving the results you’d expect?

It’s probably because you’re running a query for just about every business now hiring! You can find thousands of local entry-level jobs based on your location this way, but you’ll likely have trouble filtering the ones you qualify for — or the ones you’re really looking for. 

Enter Handshake, the online platform that’s partnered with many college career services centers to help you find what’s best near you. 

When running the search for your next job, try filtering by:

Full-time, part-time, internship, or on-campus

When starting your search on Handshake, you’ll notice these four options right below the “search” and “location” fields. This gives you endless opportunities to search by job title, employer, or keywords near you. 

Job type

In addition to the usual career buckets listed above, you can filter jobs even further to get really specific. Some examples include experiential learning, volunteering, and fellowships. You can also separate these types by paid roles, work study, and whether they’re hosting interviews on campus. The last option is particularly useful when exploring local opportunities affiliated with your college.

Employer preferences

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of job you can get based on your major, starting school year, graduation date, and GPA, this is where you can explore those options. Don’t let your niche major and high GPA go to waste! Odds are, someone out there will need your specific set of skills during summer grad season.

Work authorization

Looking for a sponsor? Don’t have your US work visa? You can make the most of your F-1 status by only looking at employers who are currently hiring international students.


From farming, ranching, and fishing to management consulting, Handshake has a comprehensive list of industries to search from. Pick as many or as few as you’d like and we’ll match your search to those industries.

Job function

You can filter by the general tasks you will commit to in your career. This is where you choose the attributes closest to the job description/title you have in mind.


Filtering by major is very different from filtering by preferred major under the employer preferences section. If you want to see the full potential of your degree, this is where you can plug your major in. You’d be surprised at how many employers in the finance business are looking for anthropology majors (something many students don’t expect). Your major doesn’t have to determine your career — this is the place that proves it.


Lastly, if you’re set on working at your local startup or a downtown investment bank, this is where you can hone your search. We recommend entering as many employers as possible, at least for your original search, to better understand the job environment based on your filters of preference.

And that’s how you can optimize your search beyond just the basic “jobs near me” on Handshake. Feel free to mix and match as many filter options as possible for a personalized search that will help you quickly find the right job!

Sours: https://joinhandshake.com/blog/students/find-entry-level-jobs-near-you-with-handshake/
8 Best Entry Level Jobs That Pay Well

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'Entry-level' jobs used to be the way for new graduates to enter the workforce. But many are now requiring prior experience.


As anyone who’s graduated from university or applied for their first job in recent years can attest to, something new – and alarming – has happened to entry-level jobs: they’ve disappeared.

A recent analysis of close to 4 million jobs posted on LinkedIn since late 2017 showed that 35% of postings for “entry-level” positions asked for years of prior relevant work experience. That requirement was even more common in certain industries. More than 60% of listings for entry-level software and IT Services jobs, for instance, required three or more years of experience. In short, it seems entry-level jobs aren’t for people just entering the workforce at all. 

And while that first job is harder than ever to get, it’s also more important than ever, says Alan Seals, an associate professor of economics at Auburn University, US. It may be the bottom-most rung on the employment ladder, but a worker’s first position sets the tone for their career.

“The most important time in your career is the first three years,” he says. “The quality of your first employer really matters. So, how do you get that first job?”

The simple answer is workers need something more than motivation or a college degree to enter the workforce now, whether it’s lots of internships, or the connections to get around a complex application process without an algorithm weeding them out. But not everybody has access to those advantages, and the result is that workers are being left behind.

The rise of the internship

An ever-growing internship market means more young people are fleshing out their resumes before they even leave university, says Seals, who notes many students are now getting their first internship after first year.

“Internships are now the entry level,” he says. “Most of the students in college are doing or trying to do internships, and now it’s increasingly common to do more than one.”

Seales says this fact impacts the entry-level job market on multiple fronts. First, companies can save money by using interns to do that work without having to pay junior employees; the more interns a company has, the fewer entry-level jobs it’s likely to open.

Second, because applicants with one or more internships on their resume aren’t tough to come by, those who don’t have internship experience are left out in the cold. That can happen to students who can’t afford an unpaid or low-paid internship, or those who have trouble securing one. 

“In some cases, you need to have had an internship to get an internship. It’s also tough if you’re an ethnic minority,” says Seals. A February 2020 study he co-authored showed that employers are “less likely to respond to [intern] applicants with Black-sounding names” and much more likely to hire those who’ve had internships before. 

Add to that the fact that the vast majority of internship opportunities are geographically located near major cities, meaning those who don’t already live there or can’t relocate are out of luck.

“This is a problem – in the United States, the internships are on the coasts,” says Seals. “Those are the most expensive places in the country to live. If you’re in college in a region with no internships, now you need to not only get an internship, but find a way to afford moving there for a summer. If you have no knowledge of how the system works or how to gain access to these elite levels and places, you’re left behind.”

The automated office

It’s not only internships that have replaced the entry level job. Many of them have been eliminated over recent decades as tools and technologies are introduced to do the same work – without the paycheck.

It's hard to even get a foot in the door as an inexperienced candidate – but those who are able to get in the door are often shut out by firms (Credit: Getty Images)

“A lot of what would have been classified as entry-level 30 years ago has gone away because of automation,” says Scott Dettman, CEO of Avenica, a US-based career-matchmaking service for new graduates. “Think about things like product research, scheduling or ordering office supplies. Creating presentations – there used to be whole teams that did that. Now we have Microsoft PowerPoint.” Work that once fell to a group of early-career employees can be done by one person, in a fraction of the time. “It’s a huge optimisation increase – we can do a lot more with a lot less,” says Dettman. “But it’s also taken a lot of those roles that were more administrative in nature.”

What’s left at the “entry level”, then, are often jobs that require more interpersonal communication, higher-level responsibilities or consumer-facing roles, which many companies are reluctant to trust to a newly-minted graduate.

“The roles that exist now are in customer service, claims management, project management, those kinds of things,” says Dettman. “But there’s a different level of rigour to that work, and some industry knowledge that goes into those things. Increasingly, people have gotten almost skittish hiring right out of school. I’ll talk to executives who are like, ‘we’re happy to hire entry-level people… as long as they have two years of experience’.’” 

The job application and hiring system has also been automated, which only makes things more difficult for entry-level workers who may be a good fit for a role, but who lack the right resume buzzwords.

“There are major problems with the hiring processes,” says Dettman. “We’ve made it so that applicants will hit ‘easy apply’ and apply for 200 jobs in an hour. It’s flooding these talent acquisition teams with so many applicants that they’re basically forced to rely on algorithms to weed out candidates. So, they start to look for key terms, key skills, key identifiers.”

Right off the bat, this puts people with fewer or no internships, or a degree in a less-related major or from a less-reputable school, at a disadvantage. Plus, there’s only a slim chance the average college graduate’s resume will include all the skills and experience required by a given job.

“Employers are unhappy with the level of talent they’re getting in the entry-level space,” says Dettman. “So, instead of trying to take corrective action, they’ve increased experience requirements. In the last five years, we’ve seen a 20% increase in the number of skills required on job listings.”

The flawed system

All of this adds up to an incredibly tough entry-level job market. And the inability to land a solid role in a worker’s desired field right out of college can impact their careers in a major way, for a long time.

“The data and the statistics definitely bear it out; 43% of college graduates don’t have a college-level job in their first job after school,” says Dettman. “The same study suggested that about two-thirds of those people are underemployed for the next five years.”

The wage gap between people working a college-level job and those who end up in a role that doesn’t make use of their degree is about 22%, adds Dettman. “That’s well over $100,000 in lost earnings in the first decade of employment.”

Companies are often looking for skills and internships that many first-year graduates simply don't have (Credit: Getty Images)

This perpetuates economic inequality, as it disproportionately affects people who didn’t – or couldn’t afford to – have internships. It also, ironically, can keep people who had to work a minimum wage or service job while in school from getting a position related to their major once they graduate. 

“Being from the lower class can be an obstacle,” says Seals. “We found that having a job on campus, in food service or whatever, seems to harm you. I think it signals class, which is part of the reason we’ve got inequality issues and a lot of people are shut out from entry-level employment.” 

Finding a workaround

It’s a deeply flawed system, says Seals, but until it changes, there are ways to work around it.

“If you get out of college, can’t get a job in your field right away, and go work at a restaurant or at Starbucks or something, do not put that on your resume,” says Seals. His research suggests listing a service or retail job can be detrimental when applying for other work. 

When it comes to “hacking the algorithm” of an automated job search system, Dettman says sometimes the best way to get through is to go around.

“Find people who do that job today, and engage them,” he says. “Every company will interview people who are referred by internal employees, especially if those people do similar jobs. The best way to break in is to go around the automated pipeline. Ask if they can put your resume in front of a hiring manager, who will likely then actually review it.”

There’s reason to be optimistic that, in the aftermath of the pandemic, the system is undergoing a shift. Jobs replaced by PowerPoint aren’t coming back, but the increasing ubiquity of remote work means more access to internships and a hiring pool expanding outside major metropolises. And the pandemic has – and continues to – shake up requirements and pay for entry-level jobs as well as how many of them actually exist. So, there are more changes to come.

Still, says Dettman, keeping vast swaths of qualified workers from becoming under-employed will require a bigger paradigm shift. That may mean moving away from one-size-fits-all systems for sorting job applicants, reevaluating what skills a job really requires and broadening the definition of relevant experience.  

“I’m not anti-algorithm,” he says, “but when we have poorly-written job descriptions and resumes that don’t tell the whole story, we have incomplete data.” Better hiring practices, he suggests, might focus on an individual’s accomplishments, characteristics and potential, rather than just the number of years of prior experience or technical skills on their resume.

“Rebuilding entry-level jobs and getting people hired means getting away from the resume and changing the conversation to: who is this person really?”

Sours: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210916-why-inexperienced-workers-cant-get-entry-level-jobs
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