Get ready for your first job or career

Four young people sit at a table in an office with laptops With your first job, you’re beginning to understand the world of work and gaining valuable experience. You’ll probably remember it for a long time. First jobs establish a sense of responsibility and help you figure out your interests. And, of course, you’re earning money!

First Steps

To begin working, first you’ll need to get a few things in order.

Working papers
Teens (ages 14 to 17) need working papers to get a job. You can apply for working papers at your school.

Learn how to get working papers

ID cards
Most jobs require you to show some form of ID to apply. While your school ID may work, play it safe and apply for a free IDNYC.

Learn more about IDNYC and other ID options

Writing a resume is an important way to let employers know about your skills. When you’re just starting out your resume may be brief, but there are definitely details you can include. Think about your after-school activities, clubs, and personal projects—all great things to add to your resume.


Create your resume

Putting together a resume can be challenging, even if you’ve been working for years. There are resources to help you get it right.

  • Visit a local library branch—they often hold resume workshops.
  • Check out Career Zone for exploring careers and building your skills.

Prepare for your next interview, get help with your resume, and connect with employers

Choose the Right Kind of Work

Finding the right job depends on your skills and interests, how many hours you can work, and which benefits you need (credit for school, health insurance, etc.). Be sure to choose a job that’s right for you.

  • Part-time jobs – Part-time jobs allow you to work a few hours a week, earn money, and get professional experience to build your resume.
  • Full-time jobs – If you’re out of school, you may consider taking a full-time job. You’ll generally make more since you’re working more hours. Most full-time jobs offer benefits such as health insurance and savings options like 401(k) plans.
  • Internships – Internships are a great way to get professional experience. Some are even paid!
  • Volunteering – Volunteer positions are not paid, but you get valuable experience to add to your resume—and maybe class credit. Volunteer for a cause or an organization you’re passionate about!
  • Summer jobs – Summer jobs are a great way to spend your time away from school, gain some experience, and earn money.

Make sure to learn about your rights to minimum wage, overtime, sick leave, and more by checking out the Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Apply for work

  • Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP): Paid summer work for up to six weeks. If you’re between 14 and 24, you’re eligible.
  • Work, Learn & Grow Employment Program:  Career training and work opportunities for students ages 16 – 21 who recently participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program.
  • Advance & Earn: A program for youth to increase reading and math skills to take high school equivalency tests and get job training, certifications, and paid internships.
  • Ladders for Leaders: Paid summer internships for high school and college students ages 16 – 22 with previous work experience. If you qualify, you’ll be working at a top NYC corporation, non-profit, or government agency.
  • Learn & Earn (formerly the In-School Youth Program): Helps high school juniors and seniors graduate and prepare for jobs or college. Support includes academic assistance, career exploration, work readiness activities, and paid summer internships.
  • Train & Earn (formerly the Out-of-School Youth Program): Skills training in growing industries for 16- to 24-year-olds who aren’t working or in school. OSY also offers high school equivalency prep, career exploration, and counseling.
  • Jobs-Plus: If you’re a NYCHA resident, this employment program helps you get work and increase your earnings.
  • Internships with NYC Government: NYC’s internship programs introduce college students and recent grads to public service.
Learn more about how to apply for youth work programs

Job Training

Training can provide you with the education and experience you need to land a job or advance in your career. You can get training to work in careers such as:

  • food services
  • health care
  • construction
  • media and entertainment
  • tech

If you are 18 or over, you can access job training and start your career through the City. High school students and youth 17-21 can also gain career skills through Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at certain schools or at the School of Cooperative and Technical Education (Coop Tech).

Your Paycheck

When you get your first paycheck it might be less than you were expecting. Here’s why:

Deductions Paycheck deductions are not fun, but they’re a part of life. Deductions can include city, state, and federal taxes, health insurance (if you’re on your employer’s health care plan), Social Security and Medicaid taxes, and more. Some employers offer pre-tax benefits, such as money for your MetroCard—which is deducted from your paycheck if you choose that option.

You also need to understand your options for getting paid:

Direct deposit
Most jobs offer options on how you can be paid, usually by paper check or direct deposit. With direct deposit, your salary goes directly into your bank account. It’s a good way to save check cashing fees and avoid the extra step of having to deposit your check. Either way, be sure to review each pay stub to make sure no mistakes were made.

Open a savings account You can open your first savings account with NYC SafeStart at participating banks across all five boroughs. Program features include:

  • no overdraft fees
  • no monthly fees if you keep your account above the minimum required balance
  • minimum balance of $25 or less, in some cases
  • an ATM card for withdrawals
Learn more about NYC SafeStart accounts

Job training programs and resources from the City

Find services and resources that can help you prepare for and get a job.

WorkingNYC is New York City’s front door to programs that help you prepare for and find a job. Find the programs that are right for you, figure out if you’re eligible, and learn about the next steps to apply.