My Teen Won’t Get A Job

Trying to encourage your older teen to get a job? We’re here to help!

You’ve helped them create a CV, you’ve shown them countless potential job openings, and you’ve even offered to help write the all-important cover letter but to no avail. It feels like your teen has little to no interest whatsoever in finding employment and you’re beginning to wonder if they’ll ever take the next step towards adulthood by getting a job.

Let’s stop for a second and take a breather. Maybe it’s time to change tactics and focus on a more positive approach…


It’s hard to get excited about work, right? Especially for a teenager. Talk up the positive aspects of having a job to increase your teenager’s motivation – mention all the things they could buy if they had their own money (holidays with mates, tickets for gigs, the trainers they’ve been coveting for months…) and talk about the independence having a job will give them. Basically, get them excited or, at the very least, interested. Sow the seed and watch it grow.


You might think your teen’s reluctance to get a job is simply laziness but it’s likely there’s a lot more to it. Ask your teen about their employment concerns and talk it over. They might be worried that having a job will give them less time to see friends or stress about juggling a job with schoolwork. They could be scared to ‘put themselves out there’ or terrified of interviewing. Once you understand what’s causing their trepidation, you can work on finding solutions and suggest possible workarounds.


Talk to your teen about the kind of work they might want to do to identify the right job. An individual who has confidence issues, for example, may be happier working in a background role such as a kitchen assistant, rather than a front-of-house position like a cashier or server. Talk about different roles and what’s likely to be expected from each one to help your teen find the most appealing options to apply for.


Help your teen look for a job. You can create accounts for your teenager on the major online recruitment sites such as Indeed and Monster. Keep an eye on local newspapers and Facebook pages for potential openings and encourage your teen to approach local businesses to ask if they are hiring. They can do this face-to-face or by email if they prefer. Be your teen’s job search partner and let them know that you’re right by their side, every step of the way.


Encourage your teen to fill out the applications by themselves but be on hand to help with anything they get stuck on. Learning how to fill in applications to showcase your skills and talents is an important part of growing up. Point them in the direction of information they might need, such as their National Insurance number, but don’t do it for them.


Try setting daily or weekly targets to encourage your teen to apply for jobs. You could set an application goal, e.g., 20 jobs applied for every week. Goals give your teenager a structure and something to work towards to keep them motivated and on-track.


Be realistic with your teen about their job search. Try to steer them towards appropriate jobs for their age and skillset. Be honest about the competition your teen is likely to face within the jobseeker market and discuss the very real possibility of being passed over for a more experienced/mature/confident candidate. It’s important to be honest to prepare your teenager for this scenario but you can still be positive by pointing out that everyone must start somewhere and that they too will be this experienced/mature/confident candidate one day.


Don’t knock your teen if they’re unsuccessful with an application. It’s easy to get dispirited after a job knock-back – your teen needs your positive support to get back in the saddle.  Give deserved kudos for their attempts and focus on moving onwards and upwards.

Looking for more advice on how to connect with your teen? Click here!


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