While regulations might vary from state to state, 16-year-olds are allowed by federal law to work any job that the Department of Labor deems appropriate for them. If you are 16 years old, you can typically find work in grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, fast food and retail.
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According to the Hire Teen article "Teen Jobs," you can get a job at a grocery store. Grocery stores hire 16-year-olds to bag groceries, which sometimes requires that you help customers out to their cars. They might hire you to work the cash register, which requires honesty because you are dealing with money and selling alcohol. You are most likely too young to work at the pharmacy; pharmacy techs are typically 18.
Restaurants might hire you to be a hostess, which means standing at the front and seating guests. Hostesses also take reservations and are in charge of the seating chart. You must be presentable and well spoken to impress guests with their first impression of the restaurant. You do not have the opportunity to be a waitress until you are 18, typically because waitresses serve beer and liquor with a liquor license, which requires a minimum age of 18. Although you cannot be a waitress, you might get a tip share from the waiters' tables for helping with their guests.
Coffee shops typically hire baristas or coffee makers who are 16 years old. Baristas are in charge of making intricate coffee drinks and knowing how to use coffee-making machinery. You would need to understand the difference between espressos and lattes, mochas and frappacinos. Coffee shops can be fast paced; be prepared to hustle.
Fast-food restaurants hire 16-year-olds to work at the front with customers and be in charge of the cash register. They also hire them to work with customers in the drive-through area.
Retail stores typically hire 16-year-olds to be sales associates. You might find a retail store that is hiring in the mall, although there are also several boutique clothing stores that might hire you. Your duties include encouraging customers to make purchases; you might work on commission.
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