Can a 16 Year Old Work in Retail?

Can a 16 Year Old Work in Retail?

Teenagers who are looking for a job are often faced with a simple question: where can they work? Prior to beginning a job search, it is helpful for young people to know where exactly it is that they can be employed, so that they don’t waste time and energy looking for opportunities that are not available to them.

Spending time looking for jobs that they can’t be hired for will lead to frustration and discouragement. Many young people will be interested in jobs in retail and working in retail is a great way to gain experience. Let’s explore if retail work is an option for those who are age 16.

This blog post will cover:

  • The age at which teenagers can obtain a job in retail
  • How to find out whether you can work in retail at a particular store
  • The best ways to go about getting hired for a retail job

At What Age Can a Teenager Get a Job in Retail?

For youth under the age of 18, federal laws regulate the type of work that they can do. Each state then has its own labor laws and work permit requirements. To learn more about child labor laws for teens in the state where you live, click here. For information on work permit requirements in your state, click here.

Aside from the federal and state laws, each business or employer will have its own rules. There are many retail jobs available to teenagers once they reach the age of 16. As noted above, the labor laws of the state may require that the teenager obtain a work permit even if the business is willing to hire them at the age of 16.

How to find out whether you can Work in Retail at a Particular Store

For teenagers looking for a retail job, it’s not hard to find out whether an employer is open to hiring someone your age. There are a few things that you can do to get this information. First, you can call the place you are interested in working at. Inquire of the business the age that an applicant must be in order to obtain employment with them.

You may choose to go into the store in person to ask this question. Or you may visit the business’ website to get information on what age you have to be hired by them.

Retail stores that are willing to hire 16 year olds include:

  • Albertsons
  • Party City
  • Marshall’s
  • Plato’s Closet
  • Babies R Us
  • Toys R Us
  • Levis
  • K-Mart
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Walgreens
  • PetSmart
  • Sunflower Farmers Markets

There are many more retail stores that hire teens, you can see the full list here.

The Best Ways to go about Getting Hired for a Retail Job

You know you want a retail job and you have found a few retailers near you that are open to hiring 16 year-olds. Now what?

There are several ways you can approach applying for a job in a retail store. First, you can visit the store that you are interested in working at and ask for an application for employment. While some retailers may only accept online applications, many will have paper copies of applications at their physical location. Bring a copy of your resume with you and make sure to dress appropriately. There is no need to go overboard; a nice shirt and nice pants will be fine.

If you are able to obtain an application at the location itself, it is best to fill it out immediately if possible. Depending on the store, you can either complete it onsite or take it outside and find a place to sit down. Once the application is complete, take it back in to the store. Ask to speak with a manager if possible and make sure to get the name of someone to follow up with.

A lot of job searching is being in the right place at the right time. If a retail store is in need of someone and someone walks in and presents themselves well, the stand a good chance of being considered. Whether you are able to speak with the manager or not, ask when you should follow up on the application and who you should follow up with. For more information on applying for jobs in person, click here.

Should you not be able to complete a paper application, go ahead and apply online. Once you submit your application, wait a day or two and then contact the store either by phone or in person to follow up. You can ask to speak with a manager and confirm that they have received your application. This will require the manager to look for it, ensuring that it be found in a stack of other applications.

Once you know that they have received your application, ask if they have any questions about it.  Also ask what the next step is and when you should follow up. These efforts will tell you what process to follow and help you to stand out from the other applicants who simply submitted an application. For more information on applying for jobs online, click here.

Opportunities are available for 16 year olds looking to work in retail. If you are interested in a job in retail, you should seek out employers that are open to hiring minors. Also, it is important to be familiar with the child labor laws and work permit requirements for your state (click here for more information) so that you can be sure you have what you need to work.

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