You can't find a job without experience, yet you also can't get any experience without a job. It's a broken system that sets first time job seekers up for failure. While there are a million articles out there from experts offering advice, I often find the best tips comes from real people. Here are a few stories that I have selected from Reddit that are sure to help you get started:
[crazynekosama] I got my first job while I was a senior in high school. I basically just went to the area of my city where all the fast food joints are located and handed out resumes and filled out applications. Got a call back and interview for one of them and was hired.
Tell everyone you know that you're looking for a job. A lot of the time it's still who you know so maybe you're friend's mom or your neighbour or a cousin, etc. knows someone who is hiring and they can put in a good word for you. That goes along way. Go in person to places and just ask if they're hiring and if you can give them your resume for consideration. A lot of job openings don't even reach the posting stage so don't just wait for postings to come up on online sites and the like.
[drunkensummerkites] My advice is to look on craigslist and apply to ANYTHING you would be remotely okay with doing. You can always turn down a job offer if you find out you would totally hate the job after an interview. Make sure your resume is nice. Include schooling, extra curricular, and volunteer work if possible. Lots of places with online applications still prefer you to go in to the store to hand in the application or show your face. Make sure to ask for the hiring manager.
My first job was at McDonald's, and it was actually kind of fun. Yes, the customers suck, and yes, the job isn't the best, but I met lots of cool people and made friends with almost all my coworkers. Don't be afraid of fast food jobs. Also, If you go in to stores to inquire about jobs, dress nice. They will notice. Personally, I have always been lucky when finding a job. All three jobs I worked I got calls back within a week. Even though retail and fast food suck, it is easier to find a job once you have a job, so even if you take a shitty job, just remember it isnt forever!
[Sooverwhelmed49] Retail tends to hire people with no experience and it can be marketed as good
customer service experience when you look for other jobs. See if your local supermarket is hiring
[Tumeric98] When I was in high school I got a part time job by just walking the whole mall and asking to speak with a manager for applications. When I was in college full time I asked my professors to work in their labs and talked to the career center to find local tutoring jobs to do.
[No_regrats] I graduated at 17 and finding a job at that age is uncommon and near impossible for the average teen as that age in my country. My first job was after my first year of university. I wanted to spend a summer working abroad as an au pair. I registered on every free site I could find and applied extensively. I got a first job in Ireland, bought plane tickets and everything only to get dumped by the mother/employer a week before my starting date. I then started to reapply. One family showed interest, which allowed me to have access to their contact information. My mother advised that I called rather than keep exchanging emails. I did, we got along great and I got the job. Calling totally short-circuited the process. Had I not called, she would have gone through the applications and chosen the most appealing one but because I called, I was a real person and we got along so she just picked me.
I highly recommend spontaneous applications (I.e. applying to places that do not have a position advertised) rather than only answering to ads
[gypsyblue] It took me a long time to find my first job... I was 17 and had good grades with a lot of volunteer experience, but I was unlucky enough to graduate in 2009 - the first graduating class after the financial crisis hit. The job market for inexperienced teenagers was really abysmal that summer.
It was really stressful to send out dozens of applications and never get a single reply. After a few months, I finally got a job by asking a friend of mine who worked at the local movie theatre if she could recommend me to her managers. She brought me in and they hired me pretty much on the spot.
General advice: Be patient and persistent. It's tough to get your foot in the door, especially if you don't have a strong support network, but it will get easier. Ask the working people in your life, including your friends, about opportunities at their workplace. Contact your teachers or other respected adults in the community that know you and ask if you can list them as references.
[Girlindaytona] Go into business. If you live up north, shovel snow. If you live down south, do lawn work. Go door to door. Ask for odd jobs. Ask for payment in cash and save as much as you can. In time, you'll build up a clientele and have enough to buy a modest car, now you have experience and a way of extending your range. When you have extended your range, you have many more options.
If you have your own story to share or questions about the approaches that were taken, ask them in the comments below. Good luck and don't give up hope!