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Places to Work at 18

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

It can be rough to break into the professional world. In what can seem like a catch-22, you need work experience to get a real job, yet you need a real job to get work experience. For an 18-year-old, a brand new initiate into the world of the young adult, there are a few places to start building professional experience.

Food Service

One place to start building a resume is at a restaurant, either a sit-down establishment or one of the many fast food franchises. While the jobs are among the lowest paid on the market, they are plentiful and do not require much if any previous job experience. They can give an 18-year-old a paycheck, time and a job to list on resumes, and the potential to get managerial experience to move up the professional ladder.

Military Enlistment

One employer that is always hiring is the United States military, although an enlistment is nothing to be taken lightly. Contracts span multiple years, there is no way to quit, recruits are relocated to wherever in the nation (or world) the military assigns them, and the nature of military service can lead to death or severe injury. However, it does provide high-tech training, money for post-secondary education, and unique preparations for service in the FBI or intelligence services.

Signature Gathering Organization

Another opportunity for an outgoing 18-year-old is to work as a signature gatherer. Political campaigns and organizations employ individuals to gather the necessary number of signatures on petitions for political initiatives or candidacy requirements. They frequently pay for each valid signature the gatherer collects. The main requirements involve being old enough to vote and outgoing enough to be successful. These individuals can be either directly employed by a campaign or by a political organization that campaigns contract to gather these signatures.


An 18-year-old can find a starter job in the retail sales industry. Like the food service industry, individuals do not require past work experience to start at entry level positions. Additionally, there are several tasks that help a store run. You might find openings in departments for stocking, working the cash register, manning customer service and working with the computer system to process returns and exchanges, working in shipping and receiving, and eventually doing more advanced tasks, like merchandise layout. Often, retail employees can move around between different jobs to expand the number of job skills they can list on their resume.