Essential job skills for teenagers & activities to learn them

Essential job skills for teenagers & activities to learn them

Seven in ten senior leaders say the current education system doesn't give students the life skills they need to succeed in the workplace. According to the survey's respondents, UK schools and universities do not sufficiently teach the much-needed soft skills like teamwork and leadership that young people need to succeed at work. The good news is these essential job skills are easily nurtured at home, no matter your teen's age. Here are 12 essential job skills to instil in your teens.


Related: Ways for teens to make money



12 Essential job skills for teenagers

  1. Leadership

  2. Communication

  3. Teamwork

  4. Problem solving

  5. Time management

  6. Attention to detail

  7. Adaptability

  8. Initiative

  9. Customer service

  10. The ability to take feedback

  11. Dependability

  12. Creative thinking



Leadership is the practice of exercising authority over yourself or others. It’s also the ability to influence others to achieve a common goal. Good leaders can motivate and inspire others and delegate tasks effectively. To help your teen build leadership skills, get them involved in team sports or volunteering. 


Expressing yourself clearly is an important skill for any job. Teens need to be able to communicate effectively with their co-workers, supervisors, and customers. They should be able to clearly and concisely express their ideas verbally and in writing. Try to expose your teen to different types of communication. This could involve watching debate shows, TV interviews, and TED talks on YouTube.



All jobs require teens to work effectively with others. To help your teen collaborate with their co-workers, share ideas, and solve problems together encourage them to join clubs at school, play team sports or volunteer.


Work-ready teens should be able to identify and solve problems and think critically to develop creative solutions. If you want your kids to be good problem solvers, you need to model problem-solving behaviour yourself. When you encounter a problem, talk to your kids about how you're going to solve it. Show them how you think through the problem and devise a solution.

Time management

Teens need to manage their time effectively to meet work deadlines and complete tasks on time. Good time management is quickly learnt by helping your child create a schedule for homework, activities and chores. This will help them see how much time they have available and how to plan their time accordingly. 

Related: Time management for kids

Attention to detail

Teens should already be aware of this in their school work but make sure they are able to pay attention to detail in everything that they do. This entails checking their work, and details of where they are going, and paying attention to the chores you give them. Attention to detail can also be fostered by playing video games and reading.


The ability to adapt to change is an essential skill in the workplace. Teens should be able to adjust to new situations and be open to learning new things. Expose kids to new experiences. The more experiences they have, the more adaptable they will be. So, get them to try new foods, experience new cultures, and meet different kinds of people. This will help them learn to cope with change and be open to new experiences.


Teens should be able to take the initiative and be proactive in their work. This means they need to be given opportunities to take the initiative in everyday life. Give them tasks like chores, activities to do independently, and decisions to make that help them learn that they are capable.

Customer service

Many jobs require teens to interact with customers. Help your teen by explaining what it is and why it's crucial. Then give kids opportunities to practise customer service. For example, talking to the cashier at the supermarket or a waiter at a restaurant. Doing this will help them learn how to interact with different people.

The ability to take feedback

Can your teen take constructive feedback? If not, it’s a skill to teach them that will stand them in good stead. Explain that feedback at work is not about attacking them personally. It is about helping them improve their performance and giving them examples of this in everyday life.


Teens need to be able to be relied upon to show up for work on time and complete their tasks. They should also be able to follow instructions and meet expectations. Nothing teaches this skill better than chores. Give your teens age-appropriate responsibilities that will help them develop their dependability skills.


Related: Teaching responsibility to a teenager


Creative thinking

School doesn’t always foster creative thinking, so it pays to teach your teen what creative thinking means. Help them build this by brainstorming ideas with them when they have a problem or a family issue that needs to be sorted. 


Activities to help teach your teen job skills

1. Interview practice role play

Roleplay is a great way to help your teen practice communication and interview skills. You can roleplay a customer service interview by pretending to be a customer having a problem with a product or service. Or be an interviewer and ask how they would handle a situation. Or you can roleplay by asking your teen about their career goals and what they are looking for in a job. Be sure to ask a selection of questions so your teen knows what to expect.


2. Go over digital etiquette

Teens are so used to talking to friends via text and WhatsApp that many need to be reminded about digital etiquette and the professional way to respond to messages and emails. Talk about how to respond to a manager (no emojis, slang or acronyms), what’s appropriate to say on work messaging systems like Slack and how punctuation and grammar are important in messages. 


3. Help them fill in applications

Applications may seem straightforward to us, but teens are often thrown by the terminology and questions being asked.  It can help to supervise them the first few times they fill out applications for job sites, or help them to apply for their provisional licence or a passport so they can see what’s involved,


4. Give them chores

Having a set of chores to do is a great way for your teen to develop their time management, organisation, and responsibility skills. Make sure to give them chores that are age-appropriate and that they can complete independently.


Related: Organisational skills for kids

5. Encourage them to volunteer

Volunteering is a great way for teens to gain experience in different fields, build all the above  job skills  and to learn how to work with others. 

6. Help them create a CV

Writing a CV  is a great way to help your teen learn how to market themselves and their skillset. Show them examples on LinkedIn and the free templates that are available online and help them craft one so they’re ready to apply for jobs.

7. Take them to career fairs

Career fairs are a great way for your teen to learn about different job opportunities and to meet potential employers. You can help them prepare for job fairs by brainstorming questions they can ask, and by researching the companies that will be there.

8. Help them find a mentor

A mentor can be a great resource for teens who are looking for career advice. Help your teen find a mentor by asking what work areas they are interested in and seeing how your friends, family, or co-workers can help..


How can GoHenry help?

A GoHenry account can accelerate a teen’s financial education in several ways. Firstly, a GoHenry teen prepaid debit card can help establish a link between work and money by letting kids get paid for tasks and chores directly within the app. It can also help them track their spend and budget, so they learn to live within their means. In addition, in-app Money Missions helps teens gain real-world skills through bite-sized videos and quizzes.




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Written by Anita Naik Published Oct 2, 2023 ● 6 min. read