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  • Can Teens Work at Barnes & Noble?

You must be at least 16 years old to work at the book retailer, Barnes & Noble. If you are 16 years or 17 years of age, you may also need working papers. Working papers are legal documents that verify that a minor, or a teen under the age of 18 years old can be employed.

If you are an older teen, you will find that the opportunities for advancement are good at this US major book retailer. Barnes & Noble also offers excellent benefits, including tuition assistance. So, for any young person who wishes to excel in their career, the retailer offers a good venue to realize their academic and career goals.

This article covers the following topics:

  • How to Obtain Working Papers
  • An Introduction to Barnes & Noble
  • Jobs at Barnes & Noble for Younger Teens
  • Jobs at Barnes & Noble for Older Teens
  • Values Established by the Company
  • Job Descriptions of Major Barnes & Noble Positions
  • Submitting An Application
  • Barnes & Noble Benefits
  • Barnes & Noble Book Fairs

How to Obtain Working Papers

As indicated, to work at Barnes & Noble, you may need to obtain working papers. Working papers are classified in two types of certifications:

  • Employment certification
  • Age certification

No federal requirements mandate that minors need to obtain working papers before they begin employment. However, some state do require them if you are under 18 and wish to work at a retailer or other place of employment.

FLSA Mandates

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age a young person can apply for work is 14 years old, as long as the work is non-agricultural in nature. However, that being, said, a minor of any age can hold certain jobs, such as delivering newspapers, performing chores, or babysitting, and be under 14. The FLSA also bans minors from certain occupations, such as using balers and compactors on a farm, mining coal, and roofing work. Minors are also not allowed to operate certain power-driving machines.

State Requirements

States uphold their own child labor laws. Therefore, some state require a higher minimum age than the FLSA. If this is the case, the higher minimum age is endorsed instead. While the FLSA itself does not require that minors obtain working papers, again, certain states make them a requirement in order to obtain work. In some states, you need to acquire working papers if you are under 16 years old while other states make them a requirement for teens who are under 18 years of age.

Working Papers Sources – Where You Can Obtain the Documentation

Working papers can be obtained from the following venues:

What You Need to Do in Order to Apply and Receive Your Working Papers

While requirements differ from one state to the next, basically, the following listing outlines the steps you need to follow in order to obtain working papers:

  • Obtain an application from your department of labor or school
  • Obtain a certification of physical fitness from your physician
  • Bring the completed application, with your proof of age (copy of your birth certificate, school ID, school record, driver’s license, or another document of proof) to your state’s department of labor office or school guidance office
  • Visit the labor office or school guidance office with a parent or guardian, and sign the paperwork

Each certificate varies, but you will be usually asked to provide such details as your full name, birth date, grade completed, and your parents’ or guardians’ names. A certificate features an expiration date as well. Most of the certificates are valid for a year. If you lose your working papers, you can request another copy from the office that issued them.

An Introduction to Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is the largest retailer of books in the United States. The retailer primarily operates through its Barnes & Noble Booksellers chain. This chain is made up of 705 stores in 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia. The operation also includes 636 college bookstores that serve over 4.5 million students and college faculty members.

Jobs at Barnes & Noble for Younger Teens

Some of the jobs that you can apply for at Barnes & Noble include the following;

  • Greeter
  • Textbook Helper
  • Cashier

Basic Job Duties

Duties, for example, for the cashier or textbook helper include the following:

  • Running a POS cash register
  • Assisting customers
  • Stocking and shelving merchandise

You should be able to lift at least 50 pounds, if needed. Also, applicants must be able to work at least part-time, or 20 hours per week. If you are 16 years of age, hiring managers will try to align your work schedule with your academic activities.

Jobs at Barnes & Noble for Older Teens

With its high rates of in-store promotions, Barnes & Noble offers teen job candidates the chance to embark on a fulfilling career in the book industry. If you are an older teen who has previous retail experience or a formal education then, you can excel at Barnes & Noble.

Entry Level Employment

As a combination bookstore and coffee house, the retail store requires that entry-level employees, or older teens, work in both areas of the store. Job hopefuls, who are familiarized with upcoming publishing trends, or who have a strong interest in books and reading, should review the bookseller jobs that are currently available online. You should have strong sales and communications skills as well in order to work in this environment.

Working as A Barista

Any older teen who is experienced in food preparation and safety, who has a knowledge of various blended coffee drinks and roasts, may be able to secure work as a barista. Past work experience preparing or serving beverages or food is highly desirable.

Values Established by the Company

As a company, Barnes & Noble values such attributes as:

  • Customer service
  • Quality
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • Responsibility

The book retailer is an equal opportunity employer and is recognized for being a safe workplace for workers of various ages and backgrounds. Therefore, any teen job candidate who attends either high school or college can find lucrative employment in one of the store’s entry level positions.

Job Descriptions of Major Barnes & Noble Positions

The following job descriptions give you a further, in-depth look at Barnes and Noble’s more popular positions.


The bookseller should be people-oriented and available several hours during evenings or weekends. This position does not require past experience as a bookseller, or a related education in marketing, sales, or publishing.

The job is somewhat physical. Therefore, job candidates should be able to stand, bend, squat, lift and walk around for the duration of their shifts.

Candidates are paid, on average, around $10 per hour to start. Shift responsibilities include greeting customers, answering inquiries, offering product suggestions, keeping the store and café clean, and helping out in other areas of the store, when necessary.

Candidates should be able to quickly gather a knowledge of store products and technology. This can easily be done through replenishing the stock. Booksellers also need to notify the manager of current sales trends for inventory and stocking purposes.


If you like multi-tasking in a fast-paced environment, then you will enjoy working in this job. Candidates should be able to operate a cash register and stand for long periods. Experience in food service, especially closely related positions, is strongly preferred.

Regular tasks include one-on-one customer interaction, preparing drinks and specialty foods per customer specifications, keeping the work station clean, and ensuring that food and drink safety standards are met. Baristas are also requested to assist in other store areas, when needed. Usually the pay for a Barista averages around $9.00 per hour.

Head Cashier

This transitory managerial position requires that candidates possess leadership skills or experience, good communication skills, and time management expertise. Usually, you need at least one year’s previous experience as a leader in a retail setting. As a full-time job with heightened responsibility, the job of head cashier can yield a salary of up to $28,000 annually.

During shifts, head cashiers must efficiently ring up customer items, oversee and cover the breaks for subordinate cashiers, and optimize the displays of storefront merchandise and gift cards. Cashiers in this job role are also responsible for balancing the cash register, authorizing exchanges or returns, maintaining accurate cash logs, training new workers, and signing up customers for Barnes & Noble memberships.

Seasonal Jobs

You may also apply at Barnes & Noble during high-traffic seasons, such as Christmas. The most popular temporary or seasonal jobs are cashiers and booksellers. Both these jobs, as indicated, entail a heavy amount of customer service and communications. Most of these workers make, on average, $9.00/hour.

Submitting An Application

If you wish to apply to Barnes & Noble, you need to visit the company’s website. Browse the available openings and create our profile. If you have already gathered your personal details, availability, employment history, or educational information, the process should take no longer than 15 minutes.

On the site, you have the option to upload your resume, then edit it to showcase our relevant skills and experience. By taking this approach, you improve your chance of callbacks. Read over your job application answers to make sure that you have accurately included all your details.

Checking the Status of Your Application

You should make a general inquiry regarding the status of your application weekly. You may also want to call the store, e-mail a human resource representative, visit a store and speak to the hiring manager, or use any combination of these approaches. Keep you communications professional with everyone with whom you speak.

Barnes & Noble Benefits

Both part-time and full-time workers qualify for most of the company’s benefits. These benefits include dental care, short- and long-term disability, a flexible spending account, and life insurance coverage. Paid time off, vacations, holiday pay, a 401(k) retirement plan, associate discounts, and tuition assistance are available as well. The retailer also allows employees to borrow store products to expand on their knowledge and interest in what is sold in the store.

Barnes & Noble Book Fairs

Barnes & Noble holds in-store book fairs in order to support literacy for children in grades pre-K to 12 as well as non-profit literacy and arts organizations.

Do you think you are a good fit for a bookseller job, cashier position, barista, or greeter at Barnes & Noble? Would you like to continue to work in the job after you graduate from high school or when attending college classes? If you like to read, are outgoing, and enjoy multi-tasking activities, then acquiring a job at the retailer may be something you want to further investigate. What special skills do you possess that can be used in working for this retailer?

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