Teenagers should keep in mind that they may be competing against more experienced people for job openings, as unemployed adults are also looking for work, Mr. Challenger said. So if you lack an employment history, emphasize other qualities: Flexibility is often an advantage for younger applicants, who may be able to accommodate a patchwork schedule that combines weekdays, evenings and weekends.
It’s also smart to do some basic online research about the company you’re applying to, Ms. Konkel of Indeed said.
Laura Francis, a career strategist in Oakland, Calif., who works with teenagers, advised doing “reconnaissance” of businesses you might be interested in to see what employees were wearing so you could dress accordingly.
Be aware that many shops and restaurants need to hire urgently right now. “This summer is different,” she said. “These places are hungry to hire.” So while you may be planning on simply checking out a location and dropping off an application, you may be asked questions on the spot.
“Be ready,” Ms. Francis said. Dress like you’re looking for a job, and have something to say about why you want to work there and what you can offer. And don’t be shy about following up if you don’t hear back right away.
“Don’t worry about being pesky,” she said. “You want it. Go get it.”
Do teenagers have taxes deducted from their paychecks?
If you are an employee of a company, your employer will generally withhold payroll taxes, like those for Social Security and Medicare, from your paycheck. “There’s no getting out of that,” said Rhonda Collins, the director of tax content and government relations for the National Association of Tax Professionals. (The I.R.S. allows an exception for children under 18 who work for their parents in a family business.)
Parents might want to talk with teenagers to explain why their first paychecks will probably be less than what they have calculated in their heads, said Cari Weston, the director of tax practice and ethics with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.