Best First Jobs: 65+ First-Time Job Ideas for Teens & College Students

Looking for your first employment? Our article gives you all the best first jobs for high school students, college attendees, and more to get you going.

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

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. Here are a few of the most popular food industry jobs for people without experience:

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

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, here are some great starter jobs for first-timers:

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

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

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 include:

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

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 IT jobs 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

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

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
  • Sports coach
  • Homework helper

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 employment include:

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

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

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.

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

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
  • Cybersecurity analyst apprenticeship

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!

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 them make the top 20 list of most common first-time jobs. 

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
  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 jobs we missed on our list? Let us know in the conversation area below, and thanks for reading!

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Christian Eilers
Written By Christian Eilers
Christian Eilers is a writer and expert on the topics of education, entrepreneurship, career advice, travel, and culture. At Goodwall, he covers topics including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career development, climate action, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Warsaw, Poland. At his desk, you're sure to find Pickwick, his Devon Rex cat, either attacking his fingers as he types or the monitor as the mouse pointer moves around.

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