How to get a job when you’re only 16


Like many sixteen year old kids around the world, reaching this landmark age means that you’re trusted enough to go out with your friends and have an independent social life.

The problem is you don’t have any money to do anything and therefore getting a part-time job that allows you to start earning is quite important.

Getting a Job As A Sixteen Year Old

Typically there are two steps that you need to overcome before you get your first job. Firstly, what you want to do and Secondly, overcoming the objections to finding a decent job.

Finding a job as a sixteen year old used to be very easy, however with the new rules and regulations surrounding employment mean that it’s getting harder. If you apply directly to jobs in your local recruitment agency, it’s likely you’re going to get rejected.

The Stereotypical View

Employers will have a stereotypical view of any sixteen year old that as an inexperienced child, you’ll probably get bored easily and cause their business more problems than the value that you can add.

There is also the issue of age restrictions across the world. Technically it’s legal for you to work, however the law will restrict the number of hours that you can work and in many countries, employers will need to get a specific work permit just to hire you.

While it is technically legal for a 16 year old to work in the US/UK and across Europe, the law restricts the number of hours/days that a teenager could work.

My Advice – Start Your Own Company

Below we have created a long list of potential jobs that you could easily apply to and start working, however my advice is to start your own something.

Showing entrepreneurial skills are highly attractive for future employers and they will take notice. By starting your own business, you’re showing a potential employer that you’ve got these skills, but also that you have the motivation and drive to succeed in business in the future.

If the business takes off, it could easily give you a career for the future, if not, it really doesn’t matter, it will have no effect on your future career. Remember, starting your own business does not have to be expensive and there are potential opportunities where people have started their own business with nothing.


If i was sixteen again the first thing I would do is start my own blog. There are many people across the world who’ve started their own blog and are now making a full time career from it.

Starting a blog not only teaches you about technology and the internet, but will also give you the opportunity to earn some money. This blog is designed as a career advice blog and therefore does not make lots of money, however there are examples across the internet of people earning enough off their blog to comfortably live on. Don’t believe me, check out the three blogs earning reports below.

Part Time Jobs

  • Baby Sitter – This is one of the most common teenage jobs across the world. It pays well and allows you to catch up with your homework, or creating your own blog, whilst at the same time earning some spending money.
  • Gardner – Mowing the lawn is probably the most boring thing that any man has to do and therefore it’s often outsourced to one of the local kids in your neighborhood. It’s regular work and not very taxing whilst allowing you to earn money for a few hours work.
  • Handy Man – There are lots of one-man business across your city and each will require some help with their lifting or moving.
  • Removal Man – Another basic job that does not require qualifications and will suit someone young.
  • Walking The Dog – I don’t have time to walk my dog every day and most of my neighborhood is the same. As a result I employ a dog walker to pick up my dog, take it for a walk and bring it back each day. This could easily be you.
  • Data Entry – Companies often require data entry specialist to enter data into their systems. If you’re looking for an office job, this is a great way to practice your office skills as it only requires simple computer or writing skills.
  • Restaurant Staff – It’s unlikely that you’re going to be employed in a bar due to the presence of alcohol, however this should not stop you from looking at a role in a restaurant.
  • Web Content Writer – the internet is booming and content needs to be written. If you have a flare for writing, it’s very easy to get paid to write articles on your computer from the safety of your own home.
  • Music Lessons – Do you have a flare for a specific instrument? Lots of kids are getting into music and with parents happy to hire junior teachers, becoming a music teacher could be a great opportunity. I have also heard of music lessons taking place online over skype meaning that you could teach music from the comfort of your own home.
  • Graphic Design – If not a flare for music, how about a flare for graphic design or Photoshop? I often hire children to design logos or alter pictures simply because my Photoshop skills are not great. Trust me; I am not the only person who does this.
  • Life-guarding – Typically a summer job for students, looking after swimmers in your local pool is a job designed for sixteen year-olds. You will have to get yourself a CPR certificate, however this is a one day course that is useful to do and something great to know for the future.

Follow Up

Have I missed any other jobs that you did as a teenager?

How to get a job when you're only 16

Bagging yourself a Saturday job will give you a bit of extra cash to put away for the future. But it can also give you useful skills and experience that you can put to good use in your career.

Here we’ll look at why it can really pay to get a part-time Saturday job, and some ideas for getting started.

First of all, check out this video:

The benefits of a Saturday job

Back in the day it was really common to have a Saturday job. But since the 90s there’s been a massive drop in the number of 16 and 17-year-olds working and studying.

As long it doesn’t get in the way of your studies, a part-time job can be a really good idea – not only will you earn some money but you’ll also get valuable experience of the working world.

According to a report by The UK Commission for Employment and Skills, young people who combine work with full-time education are more likely to do better and earn more in later life. The report found that they:

  • Are up to 6% less likely to be out of education, employment or training five years later.
  • Earn between 12% and 15% more.
  • Get better degrees.
  • Are more likely to get a graduate job.

Of course, it’s really important that you find a good balance between work and study so that your school work isn’t affected. And also make sure that you swot up on your employment rights as a secondary school student.

15 Saturday job ideas

If you’re struggling to think of what you might want to do, we’ve put together a list of perfect Saturday jobs for 16 year olds:

1. Babysitting

It’s an oldie but a classic – teenagers have been babysitting for generations. And it can fit in well around your schoolwork as it’s mostly done at weekends.

2. Dog walking or cat feeding

If you love animals (and have some experience in looking after them) this could be a great little business in your local area for people who need someone to care for their pet while they’re away. People often prefer to leave their four-legged friends at home in familiar surroundings rather than put them in a cattery or kennel. If you find this one’s really for you, check out our article on working with animals.

3. Making something to sell

If you’re a bit crafty or creative, why not put your skills to good use and make something like cards or jewellry? You could sell them on eBay and Etsy – or even at a local craft market. You’ll learn how to market your creations and boost your entrepreneurial know-how.

4. Tutor younger students

If you’re really good at a particular subject at school, use your talents to help younger children who need a bit of help.

5. Write a blog

Love writing? Have a lot to say? You could launch your own blog. If it becomes popular, you could make money by allowing advertising on your site. A word of caution though – let your parents know what you’re doing beforehand. For inspiration, check out The Huffington Post.

6. Theme parks

Definitely one for thrill-seekers – theme parks often need more staff at weekends and during the holidays when they get more visitors. They may well have age restrictions so contact your local one to find out more.

7. Working in a cafe, bar or restaurant

Lots of cafes and restaurants need extra staff during busy periods, which might coincide with when you’re free.

Pop into your local ones and see if they’re hiring. Have a look at our CV tips so you can look really professional.

8. Deliver newspapers

Another old-school Saturday job but one but if you’re an early riser and you don’t cower in fear under the duvet when your alarm goes off, this can fit in well around school hours.

9. Stable-hand or horse groom

It’s not for the faint-hearted – it’s very physical work and we won’t lie, you’ll spend a lot of time. picking up poo. But if you love horses, it could well be your idea of the perfect Saturday job!

10. Gardening

Get some fresh air and a bit of exercise by weeding, mowing lawns and doing other gardening tasks in your local neighbourhood.

11. Hair salon junior

You’ve seen them – the Saturday staff sweeping the floors and massaging heads. If you’re interested in a career in hair and beauty, this could be a great Saturday gig. And hey, you might even get a free haircut.

12. Washing cars

It’s recommended that you wash your car every week but the chances of finding someone who actually does that is about as high as you winning the lottery and not needing a job anyway. So grab a sponge and a bucket and start offering to take the responsibility off your neighbours’ hands – one of the best Saturday job ideas there is!

13. Office work

Businesses that are busy at the weekend (like estate agents) are a great source of Saturday jobs for 16 year olds. They often need an extra pair of hands to answer phones, take messages and arrange appointments while everyone else is busy.

14. Handing out flyers

See if any companies need someone to hand out flyers in their local area.

15. Web design

Small businesses that want a great website but don’t have the money to spend might be impressed by your digital skills. Spend some time learning how to use WordPress and you won’t even need to learn how to code. Or you could also do a free coding course on a site like Codeacademy given that coding is an increasingly sought-after skill.

What age can I start working?

You can get a part-time paid job from the age of 13 (or younger if you work in TV, theatre or modelling but you need a licence for this).

However, there are restrictions on where, when and how many hours you can work. Have a look at the restrictions for working if you’re under 16 here.

Once you reach official school leaving age most of these restrictions no longer apply and you can work full-time and earn a minimum wage.

If you have any Saturday job ideas or advice for 16 year olds looking for a Saturday job, why not share in the comments section below?

How to get a job when you're only 16

When you’re in high school and haven’t worked much or at all, it can be hard to find a job. In fact, teenagers have a really high unemployment rate.

There are a few reasons why finding work as a teenager can be challenging:

  • Experience: If you’re looking for your first job, you may not be able to easily show you have the necessary skills and experience.
  • Hours: Sometimes employers need candidates who can work late nights or during school hours, which may not be doable for students.
  • Personal qualities: Interviewers may feel concerned that teenagers lack responsibility, maturity, and other key personal qualities needed to perform in the role.

But don’t get discouraged by these factors. If you are a high school student looking for a job, there are plenty of things you can do to overcome those obstacles, get your application noticed, and get yourself hired.

Consider a Variety of Job Options

Don’t limit yourself to certain types of jobs. This is a tough market for young job seekers, and you may not be able to find a job doing what you really want to do. If you need a paycheck, keep an open mind when it comes to what you’ll do to earn that paycheck.

Seasonal jobs, like camp counselor roles or retail hiring around the winter holidays, are often particularly open to hire teens.

If you were initially interested in a job working in retail, for example, consider roles in food services as well. You can also look for office-focused jobs.

The more flexibility you have, the more opportunities you’ll be able to apply for. Plus, even if the job wasn’t your first choice, it may turn out to be better than you expected.

Check Out Companies That Hire Young People

There are some companies that traditionally hire younger workers. Here’s information on the types of first jobs that students often work at, and the companies that hire 16 year-olds.

Consider Volunteering

Even though you won’t get a paycheck, volunteering is a great way to add valuable work experience to your resume, which will help you find a paid position in the future. Check with your high school guidance office and with local non-profit organizations for volunteer opportunities.

Check the Rules for Teen Job Seekers

Depending on how old you are, there are only certain jobs you can do and hours you can work. Check the Child Labor Law (you count as a child if you’re under 18 when it comes to working) regulations to see how they apply to you. The minimum age you can work at paid non-agricultural employment is 14.  

In order to work legally in some states, workers under eighteen may need to obtain working papers, which are officially called “Employment/Age Certificates.” If your location requires them, you’ll need to show them to an employer when you’re hired.

Write a Resume

Even though it may not be required by employers, a resume can help you stand out from the competition. Even though you may not have much information to include, a resume shows that you’re serious about your job search.

Make sure to include extracurricular activities and volunteer work on your resume.

Start Your Job Hunt Close to Home

One good way to get experience when you are a high school student is to start by working for friends and neighbors. Babysitting, mowing lawns, landscaping, yard work, shoveling snow, and pet sitting all can be included on your resume. In addition, the people you work for will be able to give you a reference when you apply for other jobs.

Advertise Your Job Search

The most important thing you can do is advertise the fact that you’re looking for a job. You never know who might be looking for their next employee.

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Many jobs aren’t advertised, and you may be able to get a good job lead from a friend or family member.

TIP: The more people you tell, the better your chances are of finding a job.

Check With the Guidance Office

Your high school guidance office staff should be able to help you with job listings and jobsearch advice. There may be a bulletin board with job postings, a notebook with listings, and/or an online job board. They might also have internship opportunities, which may (or may not) be paid, but will give you valuable experience.

Job Search Online and In Person

Check websites that list local job openings. You can use the job search engines like to search by keyword part-time and your location to find job listings in your city or town. Check your local Chamber of Commerce website (Google your city/town name and Chamber of Commerce to find it) to see if they list jobs. There are lots of sources of employment opportunities, both for part-time during the school year and for great summer jobs.

Also, try stopping in at local businesses, and check to see if they are hiring. In some cases, the business may put a sign in the window. If there isn’t one, check with the manager anyway. Your motivation and self-assurance will impress the manager and could land you an interview.

Apply for Lots of Jobs

Job searching is a numbers game. Apply for as many jobs as possible. The more applications you have in, the better your chances are of securing an interview.

Keep applying for jobs, rather than waiting to hear back from one before you try for another position.

Be prepared to complete a job application. Bring all the information you need when you’re applying for jobs online, and have the details handy when you’re filling out online job applications. For most jobs, what you’ll need:

  • Contact information (address and phone number)
  • Educational background
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Skills related to the job
  • Availability (days and hours)
  • Previous jobs and employer contact information (if you have work experience)
  • Salary history (if you have work experience)
  • References (typically three)

Spend as much time as you can applying, and follow up by calling or emailing to check on your application. It will show that you’re actively job searching and interested in the position.

Dress Appropriately

When you are applying inperson for jobs and interviewing, dress appropriately. Use the “Grandma Rule” (if your grandmother would like your interview outfit, then you are dressed properly).

Make Sure Your Social Media Is Presentable

Potential employers may search your name online and on social media sites. Make sure they won’t find anything that would make them reconsider hiring you.

Be Flexible

Be as flexible as possible when it comes to your availability. The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to get a job offer. Also, know when you’re available for work. Bring a list of the hours you can work with you when you apply in person or go to an interview.

You never forget your first.

I still remember my very first phone interview with laser-vivid clarity. I was sitting at my parents’ kitchen table, fingers twirling through an actual phone cord (how retro!), trying to persuade a woman I’d never met that I was The One To Hire.

The gig was a paid internship at a prestigious public broadcasting company and—even though I’d never worked in radio before—I knew I had the goods. Well, mostly.

As I responded to each question she threw my way, my heart was beating like a caffeinated hummingbird. The frightened animal portion of my brain was looping three words: “Please-hire-me-please-hire-me-please-hire-me.”

Meanwhile, another portion of my brain was looping 11 different words: “I’m really awesome. I think. No, I am. Wait, am I?”

Somehow, despite my hummingbird heartbeat, I was able to convey that I had a “body of work” to bring to the table—English tutor! Student journalist! Published humor columnist! Able to recite Garrison Keillor quotations on command!

I got the job—and it kick-started my entire career as a writer.

That first interview—and all of the please-hire-me conversations since then—have taught me a thing or two about how to build up your reputation (not to mention personal confidence) when you’re “just starting out,” either in your career, or in a new industry or position.

If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming interview or conversation with a client and you’re doubting that you’ve got what it takes, here are three points to hold in your heart.

1. Unless You Were (Literally) Born Yesterday, You Are Not “Just Starting Out”

Nobody is “just starting out.” Not really. Even if you’re transitioning into a completely new industry, you already have what artists and writers call a “body of work”—your job history, and just as importantly, your off-the-record hobbies.

Want to work in marketing? All those flyers and newsletters you created for your improv comedy theater troupe count as experience.

Want to be the fundraising director at a nonprofit? Gathering signatures door-to-door for local governmental petitions helped give you the persuasive communication chops you need.

Want to arrange artful store displays and work in retail merchandising? All that “unofficial” interior design you’ve done for friends and family—while obsessively recapping every room on Instagram? That counts, too.

Just because you weren’t on a company’s payroll while building your body of work doesn’t make it any less real, impressive, or important. So, the next time you doubt yourself, practice saying the following sentence:

“Even though I’ve never been paid to do ________________ before, I already know that I rock at it, because I’ve successfully done ________________ in the past.”

2. Don’t Worry About Being a “Master.” Just Prove That You’re Curious and Studious

Jobs are like people—they’re dynamic. They grow and evolve.

As such, most employers don’t expect you to know absolutely everything about your industry. What they do expect—and seek out—is a willingness to keep learning and growing as your industry changes.

If you feel like there’s a gap in your training or skills, make up for it with gumption and drive. Show potential employers that you’re masterful learner—even if you’re not a “master of your craft.”

In your next interview, give this sentence a shot:

“I’m certainly not the world’s foremost expert on ________________ (yet!), but I’m constantly growing and refining my craft.

Just recently, I did ________________ , which helped me get so much better at ________________ .

And next? I’m going to be trying ________________ . There’s always more to learn!”

3. It’s OK to Be Honest About Not Knowing “What You Want to Be When You Grow Up”

In life, and especially in interviews, we feel a lot of pressure to not “not know” anything.

But if you’re beginning your first career—or making a transition—you might be in a place where you have more questions than answers.

So, if you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for—or, you’re making a brave leap into a brand-new field—then say so. Just give your lack-of-total-clarity an uplifting twist.

“To be perfectly honest? I know that I’m amazing at ________________ .

And I’ve learned from experience that I don’t want ________________ .

Beyond that, I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me—but I do know that this position will point me in the direction that I want to go.”

Now, go forth with confidence. You are awesome. And you’ve got this.

Want More? C heck out Alexandra’s collection of positivity-fueled email scripts and her brand-new book, 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome.

How to get a job when you're only 16

You’re just a regular person. You go to work, you pay your taxes, you steal someone’s HBOGo password to watch Game of Thrones (and then feel irate when it doesn’t work). But you have a secret. Something that marks you. Something that separates you from nearly everyone you know. No, it’s not that thing that happened in the parking lot behind the Costco that one time in high school, it’s that you don’t have a driver’s license.

But actually, not driving is becoming increasingly common (15.3 percent of Americans aged 18-39 get by without a license these days). Still, plenty of driving folks be judging us, for no good reason.

So whether you’ve tried driving and realized that it wasn’t for you, or just grew up in a big city and never bothered to learn, here are some things only we people sparing the air can understand:

When you tell people you don’t drive, this is how they react

Despite the aforementioned rise in non-drivers, many people still find the basic facts of your life to be a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a bus schedule. How do you get to work? Do you not have a license because you’re you not allowed to get a license? Smoke puffs out of their ears, and like tiny, over-heated robots, they struggle to make sense of your world.


Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a public transit hub. Maybe you got traumatized by a car accident during driver’s ed and just never got it back together. Either way, the open road is better off without you on it.

YOU KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND Just Fine, Thankyouverymuch

You’re a biker, or a skateboarder, or that jerk who’s always knocking people over on the sidewalk with your Razor scooter. Whatever form of forward motion you’ve chosen to employ, you’re good at using it to get you where you need to go.


No, I did not think that I needed a passport to drink in an Irish bar; this is just the only form of I.D. that I have. Yes, that joke was very funny and I have not ever heard it before! Truly, sir, you are an original king of comedy.


$4? $15? Both of those prices sound both too high and too low at the same time!


But chances are, you’re a better traveller than they are. You’ve Amtrak’d and Peter Pan-ed it with the best of ’em, and have successfully negotiated the subways in multiple countries where you didn’t speak the language, because you speak the international language of mass transit.


Wait, was “concerned” the word that I was looking for? I think it was “disappointed.” People seem awfully disappointed that you can’t drive. Everyone — from your mom to some guy on line behind you at the bakery — has an opinion about what’s wrong with your weird, non-driving ass.


You’re just a person who can’t drive, OK? And you’re not afraid to be different.


Who would leave you behind when you’re so good at making mixes, packing delicious non-perishable snacks, and holding your pee for seven hours straight?


Have another cookie or 40 — you earned them!


Instead of stressing about a traffic jam, you use your commute to read books, knit scarves, listen to podcasts, rub your underpants-clad genitals all over the railings of a subway — anything! The sky (and/or the tolerance of your fellow passengers) is the limit!


By the time your friends realize that the lunch date they agreed to actually means that they’re driving you to a doctor’s appointment three counties away, it is already far, far too late.


If you take the bus to the other bus to the commuter rail, and all of them arrive exactly on time, then you should be able to almost definitely make your flight, right?


So you only have to stay sober through excruciating social situations if you want to!


Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. We’ll tell everyone you’re making a social statement, and, like, totally could drive if you felt like it.

Conquer your job search. Advice, tools, and resources enabling you to land a job you love.

How far in advance should you apply for a job?

There are many times in life where we may be anticipating a job search but not necessarily ready to dive into one right away for logistical reasons. Here are just a few things that may stand in the way of starting a new job today:

  • You haven’t graduated from school yet
  • You’re waiting to relocate
  • You’re waiting to collect on a bonus before you leave your company
  • You’re waiting to hit a certain milestone (or finish a project) before you leave your company

When you have a date you need to stick to, the job search can get a little more complicated because you don’t want to jump the gun, but you also want to be proactive.

So, how far in advance can you apply to a job before you’re ready to start working?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t one-size-fits-all. For example, entry-level training programs or internship programs start at a specified time and often are hired for many months in advance. General resume drops don’t have specific timelines and are a way for you to get into a company’s database.

However, if we’re talking regular roles that are posted online, that are either replacements (because someone quit) or new additions (based on company growth or new needs) the ideal timing to apply is 1-3 months in advance of when you can actually start working.

3 months is almost pushing it and 1 month is probably waiting a bit too long. The sweet spot is somewhere right in the middle. Here’s my rationale.

The recruiting process can be slow, but it’s not expected to go on forever

Recruiters know that they can’t just snap their fingers and make the perfect hire appear (we wish!) There are lots of different time to fill metrics out there but in my experience, 2 months from start to finish isn’t crazy.

If that sounds long to you, just think about the typical recruiting process for a moment:

  • Upload a job posting > gather applicants > screen applicants
  • 1st round of interviews (usually a phone screen with the recruiter) > 2nd round of interviews (usually working around many constrained schedules) > sometimes even a final round of interviews after that (rounds 1 and 2 often have multiple candidates going through at the same time)
  • Gathering feedback > coming to a consensus > making a final decision
  • Checking references > putting together an offer > giving the offer > potentially needing to adjust the offer > waiting for candidate to decide
  • Candidate gives at least 2 weeks notice before starting

You can see how time starts to pile on here, and this isn’t even taking into account that recruiters are going through this process for MANY jobs at the same time and dealing with other stakeholders with crazy schedules, vacations, and very different opinions. The time can really add up!

Based on this, if I come across the perfect candidate today and I know they can’t start for a month or two, that might be okay because I know how long the process usually takes. That being said, once a team finds the person they want to hire, they’d generally like for them to start way sooner.

Applying more than 3 months out wastes your time, and theirs

If you’re applying to a live open job and can’t start working for over 3 months, it’s not going to be a great use of your time.

If this fact is obvious from your resume (i.e. a graduation date), the company probably isn’t going to call you to begin with. If it’s not obvious from your resume and you do start interviewing, your timeline will eventually come up. The further along in the process you’ve gone, the more annoyed a company will be when they find out you’re not willing to start for 4 months.

Now I’m not saying it’s impossible for a company to decide to wait for the right person, but more often than not they are just going to move on to screen candidates who can start sooner.

My general rule of thumb is that you should only apply for jobs that you could and would actually accept if an offer was given to you. This also means you shouldn’t be applying to roles you have no real interest in.

It’s simply not a good use of your time, and your time is valuable!

So then what should I do with my time while I’m waiting?

The quick answer is that you should network. There is no such thing as being too proactive when it comes to networking for your job search.

I would suggest making a list of your top 20-30 dream companies and doing the very best you can to form relationships with someone (can be almost anyone!) inside of those companies.

I recommend doing this by setting up informational interviews and I have a whole post on this here. You can reach out to friends, acquaintances, alumni, or total strangers. You have unlimited options and LinkedIn will help you find nearly anyone these days.

If you build connections inside your dream companies early on, you can then set job alerts to stay on top of postings, and apply when the time is right.

After you apply, you’ll have someone prepped and ready to send your resume to and ask for help or even a referral. In my mind, this is a MUCH better use of your time than spraying applications around 6 months in advance of when you actually want to make a move.

If you’re thinking about being proactive about your job search but aren’t ready today, I hope this post will give you some good food for thought. If you’re interested in learning more about effective networking, check out that section of the blog here and join us for our next free webinar on this topic.

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If you find yourself out of work through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. However, even if you feel you’re eligible, there are requirements you must meet to officially start receiving unemployment, including having recently worked as an employee for a company. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, there may be additional ways to qualify for unemployment pay.

In this article, we discuss how long you have to work to get unemployment based on period requirements, work requirements and your earnings.

How long do you have to work to get unemployment?

How long you must work to get unemployment depends on your work history and your state’s unemployment program. Different unemployment programs may consider different requirements to determine your eligibility. Here are three examples of common requirements:

Base period requirements

A base period is a timeframe of employment before applying for and collecting unemployment. While each state’s base period varies, most consider a base period of one year for unemployment benefits. Following this, the base period would be the first four of the last five quarters of the year.

For example, if you file an unemployment claim in July 2020, your base period would be from March 1, 2019 through February 28, 2020. Typically, the base period excludes the five or six months before your unemployment claim and, therefore, may not include your most recent job at all. Additionally:

Some states have exceptions in place to adjust the base period

If your original base period doesn’t qualify you for unemployment. This could happen if you’ve been out of the workforce for a period of time or only have an employment history for the past handful of months. In either case, your state may accept the last four consecutive quarters as your base period instead. For example, an alternative base period would be from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020 with an unemployment claim date in July 2020.

Most states are widening eligibility for COVID-related benefits

According to the Department of Labor, the COVID-19 pandemic is leading most states to make unemployment benefits available to those who are no longer working** because of a furlough, doctor-prescribed quarantine, having to care for a sick family member, keeping your children safe at home or other acceptable reasons during this time, without a strict look at the entirety of their base period.

Many taxpayers are eligible for financial help

Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and stimulus package in response to the large volume of Americans applying for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, which provides a stipend to taxpayers who meet the qualifications. This Act also increased weekly unemployment payments by $600 per individual through July 31 and allows for an increase in the length of unemployment by an additional 13 weeks, according to an article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Both updates are in addition to what each state already provides to its residents.

These temporary unemployment allowances may include freelance workers, contract staff and those who are self-employed, as well as new hires who were unable to start their job due to COVID-19’s effect on business operations.

Work requirements

The amount of time you must work to complete your base period before qualifying for unemployment also varies by state, according to the Department of Labor. Most states are looking to see that you have worked at least two of the calendar quarters in the base period before approving unemployment benefits.

Earning requirements

When exploring the base period, states may require that you also earn a certain amount during your qualifying months to qualify for unemployment assistance. Although the calculation process can vary among states, here are some of the ways that your state may measure your eligibility.

Total wages

In this instance, your state might require that you earn a certain amount of money during your entire base period to qualify for unemployment pay.

High quarter wages

Your state may also look at your highest quarter earnings during your base period and require at least a minimum amount during that quarter. This requirement sometimes stands alone, but some states may choose to combine it with another requirement for qualification.

For example, a state may require that you earn $2,000 during your highest quarter of earnings and twice that amount ($4,000) over the entire base period. The reason a state may implement this additional requirement is that, if the figures add up, it’s likely that you worked two quarters of the base period and met your work requirements.

Weekly benefit

States pay out unemployment benefits to approved taxpayers weekly. Under the weekly benefit requirement, they’ll calculate how much you’re set to receive in weekly unemployment assistance, then look at your earnings during your base period to make sure that your earnings are a certain multiple of your weekly benefit. As an example, if your state uses a 30% multiplier, you would have had to earn 30 times the weekly benefit during your base period to qualify for unemployment assistance.

Frequently asked questions about unemployment

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about unemployment to guide you in applying for the benefit:

How much money will I receive as my unemployment benefit?

The amount of money you receive as your unemployment benefit will vary depending on how much you earned in previous roles, with the actual payout subject to your state’s maximum. In some cases, those receiving assistance may get paid half of what they earned weekly before unemployment, although this has changed with the passing of the CARES Act to include an additional $600.

How long does it take to receive my first unemployment check?

Pending any atypical delays, such as the requirement for additional paperwork, you might expect your first unemployment payment within three weeks of filing your claim. Some states have put a holding period in place (usually lasting a week) that represents how long you have to wait after becoming unemployed to file for assistance.

Which documents do I need to file an unemployment claim?

As with other parts of the unemployment program, required documents vary by state, but some may ask for some combination of the following:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID card
  • Social Security number
  • Mailing address
  • Your previous employer’s federally issued identification number
  • Your work history over the past two years, which should include each employer’s business name and address

Remember that to continue to receive weekly benefits, you may be asked to file a new claim every one or two weeks.

Having a pension is good for your retirement.

How to get a job when you're only 16

As you plan for retirement, you may want to figure out how to get a pension. There are essentially two ways to get one: Find an employer who offers a pension or figure out a way to create your own.

Key Takeaways

  • A pension is a source of guaranteed retirement income provided by an employer to those who qualify.
  • To be eligible for a pension benefit you usually need to work for an employer for a certain number of years (that number can vary).
  • Many government jobs, both at the federal and state level, offer pensions, as do some large private corporate employers—but it’s not as common as it used to be.
  • You could create your own pension by using your savings to buy an immediate annuity, which would pay you a guaranteed income for the rest of your life.

What Is a Pension?

A pension is a source of guaranteed retirement income provided by an employer to employees who have qualified for this benefit. To be eligible for a pension benefit you usually need to work for an employer for a certain number of years (that number can vary).

Your pension benefit usually increases as you accumulate additional years of employment with that employer. Pensions are also referred to as “defined benefit retirement plans” as they are designed to define the future retirement benefit that you receive.

Getting a Pension Through an Employer

To get a pension, you can seek employment with an organization that offers pension benefits and then work there long enough to become eligible for these benefits.

Many government jobs, both at the federal and state level, offer pension benefits. Some examples of these types of jobs include positions with the military, police, and fire departments. However, some states have stopped offering pension plans to new employees.  

Large private corporate employers may also offer pension benefits, but it’s not as common as it used to be. Ask a prospective employer if they offer a pension and what you need to do to become eligible for it.

It’s important to note that 401(k) benefits are not the same as a pension. With a 401(k) you must contribute your own money to the plan, and the employer may make a matching contribution, and/or a profit-sharing contribution. With a 401(k) plan, you are responsible for the decisions about the money inside of the plan. If your employer offers a 401(k), but not a pension, one possibility is to use your 401(k) money to create your own pension benefit when you retire.

Creating Your Own Pension

When you retire, you can use your own savings, such as money in a 401(k) plan or IRA, or savings that are not in a retirement plan, to buy an immediate annuity, which would pay you a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. In this way, you can create your own pension.

Delaying the start date of when you begin your Social Security benefits can also be a way for you to create a larger stream of retirement income for yourself. For example, if you retire at 66, you can use savings to buy an annuity that provides guaranteed income for four years. You can then begin receiving your Social Security benefits at 70, which would pay out a much larger amount than if you began taking them at 66. That’s because your contributions would have more time to grow, and there’s more money to pay out in less time.

Pensions and Your Spouse

Consider your spouse when you make pension choices if you’re married, whether you get a pension through an employer or create your own.

You can choose whether your pension will pay out a benefit for your life only, or you can go with a joint/survivor option, which will pay out a monthly amount for as long as either of you or your spouse lives.

There are many options available to you as you plan your retirement, and a pension is only one of those options. If you want to find out more about the opportunities available to you then it’s wise to consult a financial planner for help.