Starting your first job is like stepping into uncharted territory. You may be unsure of how to behave or what’s expected of you. Here are tips for teen job etiquette. These tips will help you gain favor as you take this giant step forward.

1. Teen job etiquette tip #1: Be on time!

Teen job etiquette begins with accountability and punctuality. Arrive on time and be ready to work. By accepting this job, you have made a commitment to work at set times for a certain number of hours. Your responsibility is to keep your end of the bargain.

  • Always arrive on time
  • Never leave early without permission
  • Never skip work

Even one day late may result in dismissal.

be on time for work

2. Dress appropriately

Your working attire is important in how supervisors, coworkers, and customers view you.

  • Keep your uniform or work clothes clean and wrinkle-free
  • Hair should be neat and clean
  • Dress modestly and avoid offensive phrases and logos on clothing

When in doubt, refer to your employee handbook or ask your supervisor.

3. “Unplug” at work

As tempting as it is to check your smartphone while at work, don’t do it. Either mute it or turn it off, then leave it tucked in a drawer or personal bag until you’re on a break or ready to go home. Your employer is paying you to work and may reprimand you for wasting time. Smartphones and MP3 players are distracting and take employees off task.

no cell phone usage at work

  • Give full attention to your job responsibilities
  • Use smartphones only when on an official break (or in an emergency)
  • Keep negative comments about work off the internet

Remember, someone is paying you to do a job, not to socialize with friends.

4. Keep personal problems out of the workplace

Teens are social creatures, so you may feel the urge to talk about your problems with co-workers.  Conflicts happen but the workplace is not the place to rant and rave about personal troubles. If a conflict arises at work, deal with it privately and calmly.

  • Try resolving conflicts privately first without involving your boss
  • Leave positive impressions on supervisors, coworkers, and customers
  • Use constructive and respectful suggestions
  • Avoid being viewed as a troublemaker

You do not have to like everyone with whom you work; rather you need to work efficiently together.

5. Be considerate – important teen job etiquette tip!

You may interact with customers in some capacity on your job. Keep these customer-service tips in mind when you do:

  • Smile
  • Acknowledge customers right away. Don’t chat with a co-worker when a customer appears. Look at the customer and ask how you can help them.
  • Give your full attention to customers
  • Use a polite voice
  • Be patient

6. Practice self-motivation

Any new job provides opportunities to learn new skills. You may feel intimated at first, but don’t let that scare you. Most of us feel nervous when we face an unknown.

View this as a chance to learn employability skills for your future success:

  • Persevere through learning curves
  • Find what needs to be done and do it, don’t always wait for someone to give you direction
  • Remain on task
  • Complete all assigned tasks
  • Volunteer for projects
  • Adapt work style to employer’s preferences

Focus on additional skills you can learn

7. Learn from mistakes and accept constructive criticism

It’s okay to make mistakes. We all do when learning something new. The key is to remain positive and graciously accept input from others. Your pride may be bruised, but if you choose to learn from it, you are actually sharpening your brain power!

  • Take responsibility for errors and apologize
  • Ask for more information if you are unclear about directions
  • Discover what went wrong and figure a way to avoid repeating it

8. When it’s time to move on

You will leave your summer or part-time job at some point. You may pursue higher education or a job with more responsibilities. Avoid burning bridges with these tips:

  • Give at least two weeks’ notice
  • Speak with supervisor away from coworkers and customers
  • Thank employer for the opportunity
  • Stay in their good graces, they can serve as a positive reference in the future

If you get fired, that employer may still serve as a positive reference if you handle it well.

  • Control your emotions and frustrations
  • Inquire why you were let go
  • Ask what you could have done to remain at that job

9. Keep a work / life balance

You may experience stress with your new job responsibilities. Warning signs that you might have too much on your schedule include:

  • Neglecting schoolwork
  • Grades dropping
  • Working over 20 hours per week
  • Social life becoming chaotic or nonexistent
  • Being constantly tired or sluggish

Try alleviating the pressure by implementing a work/life balance. Talk with your parents about your concerns. Refer to your employee handbook for dealing with schedule conflicts.

Rawhide teaches at-risk youth workplace etiquette

Rawhide equips troubled youth with tools for success in their adult lives. Our work experience program is one way we prepare them for the future. Dedicated trainers and staff supervise students in a variety of ranch jobs. Funds from our amazing donors are vital to teaching our guys these lifelong abilities. You, too, can help at-risk youth cultivate job skills and workplace etiquette through a donation to Rawhide!