While there aren’t many retail stores that hire employees under 18, there are some major chains that hire teenagers. From clothing stores to food service locations, stores like Forever 21, Gap, JCPenney, Kroger, Panera Bread, and more hire teens to work in-store. Some clothing stores also hire models for their brand, primarily through modeling agencies like Future Faces NYC and Next Model Management.
Labor Laws for Minors
When looking for a job as a teenager, keep in mind that most states typically require minors to obtain a work permit with the help of a legal parent/guardian. The Department of Labor lists the states that require minors to have a work permit and/or an age certificate. Also, most stores only have a few slots open for younger employees — partially because minors can only work limited hours — while other stores only hire teens as seasonal employees.
Note: Retail jobs for minors typically pay minimum wage. The current minimum hourly wage as set by the Department of Labor is $7.25. However, employers may pay employees under age 20 a minimum hourly wage of $4.25 for the first 90 days of employment or until the employee reaches age 20, whichever comes first.
You can use the table below for a quick comparison of the stores that hire teenagers and the minimum age for employment. Click any store or scroll for more details.
Below, we list the retail establishments that hire minors — most set the hiring age at 16, but some hire teens as young as 14. We’ve categorized the list below by store type: clothing and department stores, grocery and convenience stores, and food service stores. Jobs for teenagers at retail stores typically include things like cashier, bagger, stockroom associate, sales floor team member, and customer service associate.
Clothing and Department Stores
Note: Aeropostale works with a modeling agency to find teen models.
American Eagle Outfitters
- Minimum age requirement: 17 at most stores, but varies based on state laws
- Find available jobs at Finish Line’s “Join Our Team” page
Note: Forever 21 works with modeling agencies to hire models of all ages, including kids and teens.
Note: Gap uses modeling agencies to hire models of all ages, including babies, toddlers, kids, and teens.
Note: GUESS partners with modeling agencies to hire models, including kids and babies.
Note: H&M uses international modeling agencies to hire models of all ages.
Note: You can apply to model for Hot Topic online; models need to be at least 16 years old.
Note: Justice does not directly hire models; it relies on modeling and talent agencies that represent young people.
Note: Kohl’s does not directly hire models, but it partners with agencies to hire models ages 12 to 16.
Note: Old Navy uses modeling agencies to hire models of all ages.
Note: Ralph Lauren partners with international agencies to hire models of all ages, including teens, kids, toddlers, and babies.
Note: The company does not hire its own models, but rue21 does have casting calls for male, female, and plus-sized models who are at least 16 years old.
Note: The company does not directly hire models, but it has casting calls for models of all ages.
Note: Tommy Hilfiger partners with modeling agencies to hire models of all ages, including teens, children, toddlers, and babies.
Note: Zumiez partners with agencies to hire children and teens as models.
Grocery and Convenience Stores
BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Minimum age requirement: 14
- Must apply in person
Stop & Shop
- Minimum age requirement: 16; 15 at some locations
- Find available jobs at Stop & Shop Job Express
Tips for Landing a Retail Job as a Teen
- Put together a resume. Even if the application doesn’t ask for one, it might be a good idea to write one. A resume will help you make a good impression, and you’ll be able to use it as a starting point as you gain more work experience. Consider looking at a tutorial the first time you put together a resume.
- Practice filling out a job application. You’ll want to make sure that your job application is filled out completely and accurately. If it’s your first time applying for a job, it never hurts to practice filling out a few job applications until you feel satisfied with your answers. Before turning your application in, be sure there aren’t any grammatical or spelling errors.
- Make sure you have the proper paperwork. Most states require minors to obtain a work permit and/or an age certificate. As noted above, the U.S. Department of Labor lists which states require minors to have a work permit and/or an age certificate.
- Gather references. A retail job will typically ask you to provide two to four references. You’ll want your references to come from people who know you well but aren’t your parents or immediate family. Teachers, coaches, mentors, or any other adult in your life for whom you’ve done some odd jobs are the best people to ask.
- Practice your interview skills. If you can, get your parents or another adult to help you with a mock interview. Practice answering interview questions until you feel confident enough to go through with the real thing.
- Dress the part. The way you look during an interview is just as important as how well you answer the interviewer’s questions. You don’t have to wear formal attire, but you should look clean and put together. The interview may be the one time you’ll want to ask your parents for help picking out an outfit.
- Follow up on your application. Unless a company explicitly tells you not to ask about your application after you submit it, you should follow up on the status of your application. Be sure to wait at least a week before doing a follow-up to avoid being perceived as annoying. You’ll also want to follow up after interviews after you land one.
- Be prepared for rejection. Unfortunately, rejections are a normal part of the job-hunting process. Keep in mind that you’re likely not the only one going after the job, and there are times when someone else is simply a better match for the position.
- Accept the job offer and work hard. If you stick with it, you should get at least one job offer. After you’ve made sure you actually want the job, you can accept the offer and make a plan to be the best worker you can be. Do your best to commit to the job after you’ve accepted it, as this will now become a part of your resume.
Modeling Agencies That Hire Kids and Teens
Since several of the companies that hire teenagers only use modeling agencies to hire models, if you’re looking for a modeling gig, you may want to contact one of the following top modeling agencies that represent teens, children, and babies:
- Elite Model Management (This agency only accepts submissions from females ages 14 to 19.)
- Future Faces NYC (This agency specifically represents kids and teens.)
- Next Model Management
- Model Scouts (This is a model management and scouting company that helps people land jobs with the top modeling agencies.)
- ALDO corporate customer service (888) 818-2536
- American Eagle corporate customer service (888) 232-4535
- Banana Republic corporate customer service (888) 277-8953
- Charlotte Russe corporate customer service (888) 211-7271
- Famous Footwear customer service (888) 869-1053
- Finish Line customer service (888) 777-3949
- Forever 21 corporate customer service (888) 494-3837
- Gap corporate customer service (800) 427-7895
- GUESS corporate customer service (888) 444-8377
- JCPenney corporate customer service (800) 322-1189
- Justice corporate customer service (866) 246-5822
- Kmart corporate customer service (866) 562-7848
- Kohl’s corporate customer service (262) 703-7000
- Levi’s corporate customer service (800) 872-5384
- Marshalls corporate customer service (888) 627-7425
- Old Navy corporate customer service (800) 653-6289
- Pacsun corporate customer service (877) 372-2786
- Ralph Lauren corporate customer service (888) 475-7674
- TJX corporate customer service (800) 926-6299
- Tommy Hilfiger corporate customer service (888) 866-6948
- Zumiez corporate customer service (877) 828-6929
- Food Lion corporate customer service (800) 210-9569
- Harveys corporate customer service (844) 745-0463
- Hy-Vee corporate customer service (800) 772-4098
- King Soopers corporate customer service (800) 576-4377
- Kroger corporate customer service (800) 576-4377
- Safeway corporate customer service (877) 258-2799
- Stop & Shop corporate customer service (800) 767-7772
- Walgreens corporate customer service (800) 925-4733
- Winn-Dixie corporate customer service (866) 946-6349