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What young workers need to know when looking for work

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Finding a job can be stressful, especially for young workers. Knowing what to look for in an employer before job searching can be helpful. Take the time to learn about the workforce and the importance of safety and health in the workplace before applying. Having specific goals set prior to the search can increase your chances of finding a job that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Learn about the workplace

Working hours 

Young workers are more likely to hold parttime and temporary jobs than full-time jobs. This can be because of commitments to school, extra-curricular activities, time with family and friends, and time for schoolwork and studying. Some employers are more accommodating to these needs than others.

Different requirements apply to youth under the age of 18 for the hours that they can work and when. Consider the following information regarding age restrictions:

  • 14- and 15-year-old workers:
    • A maximum of 18 hours/week during the school year
    • A maximum of 40 hours/week outside of the school year
  • 16- and 17-year-old workers:
    • A maximum of 44 hours/week any time of year
  • 18+ year-old workers:
    • Any hours/week any time of year
  • For more information on child labor laws in Oregon, visit BOLI: Child labor law summaries and fact sheets.

Working wages

The United States has created a federal minimum wage for everyone that reflects inflation and the average cost of living. Each state can set their own minimum wage at or above the federal limit. Any employer can set their own wage if it meets their state’s minimum wage. For up-to-date information on Oregon’s minimum wage, go to BOLI: Oregon Minimum Wage.

Hourly workers are paid based on the hours that they work and often have less experience. Salaried workers are paid a set amount and often have more experience. Any employer will provide information about your specific pay upon arrival. For more information, contact your human resources team after accepting the job. These individuals can provide specific details about the pay for your position and any benefits that might apply.

Safety in the workplace

Young workers are far more likely to be injured on the job than older adults. It’s important to find an employer who takes safety and health seriously for all employees.

Employees' rights 

Worker rights

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Oregon has created a list of rights for all workers to ensure that this goal is met. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to report job hazards to Oregon OSHA
  • The right to participate in safety and health inspections with an Oregon OSHA inspector

The full list of these rights can be found at Oregon Occupational Safety and Health: Worker rights and responsibilities. Finding an employer who respects these rights can ensure that your risk of injury is reduced and allows you to work in a job where you feel comfortable and prepared for all tasks.

The integration of safety and health

A first job can be exciting, but also scary and stressful at times. Many aspects in your life can impact your ability to perform well on the job. Factors such as diet, sleep schedule, stress from school, relationships, and exercise can all impact work performance and increase your risk of injury. It’s in many workers’ interests to find an employer who considers this work and life intersect important.

Find a job


  • Before you start your search, answer these questions:
    • Why am I looking for a job?
    • How will having a job affect me (positively and negatively)?
  • Make a list of types of jobs you would want to work and types of jobs you may want to avoid.
  • Build a resume with the following information: school experience, extra-curricular activities, awards, leadership, soft skills, etc.
  • Ask for assistance from a parent/guardian, counselor, or teacher.

During the search

  • There are many great sources available for finding the perfect job. Here are a couple to get you starte
  • Taking your time is important while job searching. You should take frequent breaks and focus on positive selftalk to avoid excess stress and anxiety.


  • Once you’ve found possible jobs, ask yourself these questions:
    • Does the job align with your hourly goals?
    • If applicable, can the employer hire workers under the age of 18 to complete all necessary tasks? Can they accommodate school schedules, activities, etc.?
  • Do some research of the company and their website.
    • Do they have safety and health information available?
    • What reviews do they have from past employees and customers (these are just for a general idea)?

Applying for the job(s)

  • If a job feels like a good fit, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to apply for more than one job at a time.
  • Each company has its own application requirements. Confirm this through the company’s website and have all materials prepared and proofread before submission.

For more on this topic, visit our young workers page.