Life Skills for Teens: Finding and Keeping a Job

Today's Workforce is Competitive, Give Your Teen an Edge With a Good Work Ethic

teen girl working in ice cream shop
Eternity in an Instant/Taxi/Getty Images

Finding and keeping a job is an important life skill for teenagers to learn. It will help them as they mature and move into their chosen career as adults and become invaluable for their future job prospects.

Parents can begin to instill important aspects needed in the workplace at an early age. Confidence, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and work with others are just a few of the things teens should learn.

These simple traits will help them succeed in the future and you will know that you have done your best to make that happen.

Why Are Jobs Skills Important for Teens?

In order to live independently, your teen will need to have a job. At a minimum, the job will need to make enough money to cover their living expenses. 

Today's happy young adult has a job that contributes to a high quality of life and not just monetarily!

When a young adult has a job that they enjoy doing, it leads to a happier day-to-day outlook. It also includes benefits such as a higher confidence level and fewer problems like stress-related illnesses. This makes it important for parents to work on skills that will help their teen find and keep a job they enjoy.

Young adults who are able to find and keep jobs that contribute to a high quality of life have three things in common:

  • They value the job they have.
  • They understand how education adds to the quality of their work.

Therefore, it is best if parents work on the skills your teen will need to be happy with the work they will be doing - no matter what field it is - instead of just working on the discipline it takes to get any job.

Here are the skills your teen will need to have in order to find and keep jobs that contribute to a high quality of life:

Problem-Solving Skills

When faced with a problem, there are people who ignore them, people who fall apart and then, there are people who look for and find solutions. A teen who learns to be the type who looks for solutions will be happier with their chosen career and place of employment.

An employee with good problem-solving skills is valuable to any company. They will be able to face the challenges presented to them and figure out the best way to tackle it. Often, a good problem solver becomes a leader and rises up the ranks of a company.

A Willingness to Learn

Learning is a life-long process that you should get your teen ready to do. While some teens think that they only have to learn until they graduate, then they can just 'do', the teens who enjoy learning tend to be the ones who enjoy their jobs.

As many parents have seen in their own careers, times change and you have to learn new skills in order to compete. Just a couple of decades ago, no one would have thought that computers would be as important as they are today. It took an entire generation by surprise and they needed to learn and adapt to the changing technology.

Today's teens need to be prepared for similar changes and learn to love learning!

Respectful Attitude Towards Others

This is a tough skill for teens to learn. Often they feel that those who deserve respect are those people they like and no one else.

They need to learn that although you may not like someone, that person still deserves your teen's respectful attitude. Your teen will come across many people in their life that they do not necessarily like, but that does not mean they should be disrespected in any way.

When a teen learns to have a respectful attitude towards all others, it becomes easier for them when they work with those who may have different values. Most adults learn to 'agree to disagree' and this is a valuable skill in today's diverse workforce.

Dedication and a Solid Work Ethic

Working is just that, getting a task completed. When a teen learns to see a job through until it is done (and done well), they build more confidence and are better able to handle the next task given to them.

This skill leads to positive outcomes in their workplace and at home. A boss is not going to accept a task that doesn't meet a deadline, incomplete or low-quality. Your teen will have more success in the workforce if this trait is instilled in them early.

Dependability and Punctuality

Dependability and punctuality are skills that are learned through trial and error with teenagers. All parents can recount both trials and errors in their teen's lives and may even cringe when they think about what 'might have happened'.

Smart parents are able to take those times and turn them into life-long lessons of dependability. Teens who learn to be dependable make their employers happy and get raises and promotions.

Positive Attitude

It is not possible to remain truly positive all of the time. If one learns to look for the positive when faced with adversity, instead of wallowing in the negative, one is more likely to find a way to be as positive as possible.

You can teach your teen to look for and strive to achieve positive outcomes. Then, when they are grown, they will use this skill to help them find and keep a job they enjoy.


When one believes in themselves, they are able to do what is asked of them. Subsequently, they gain more confidence and are able to do more. This is the reason that an employer looks for confidence in their employees. 

Continue Reading