By Jennifer Gottesfeld, 17, Beverly Hills HS
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If you are looking for a part-time job, or just a way to earn a few extra bucks, is the place you need to check out now!

You can find everything from critiquing television shows as part of a focus group to test shopping at clothing stores. And these jobs are way better than minimum wage mall jobs; they pay around $50 for just two or three hours of work. And for the most part focus groups pay cash.

The Web site is very easy to maneuver. When you type in, the San Francisco section of the site comes up, so you need to look on the right-hand side and click on the "Los Angeles" link. There you will find lots of job opportunities and different used merchandise ranging from cars to couches.

The best jobs to choose from are the "et cetera jobs" and "part time" which are at the bottom of the job listings. Under the part-time job link there are listings for baby sitters, waiters and waitresses and receptionist jobs, among others.

But if you are looking to make some quick and easy cash, check out the "et cetera jobs" link, where you’ll find all the quirky jobs and focus groups.

Focus groups usually last two hours and they concentrate on a certain subject. For example, one of the first groups I ever went to was for a company that made three-ring binders. They were trying weird new ideas with the notebooks, putting different designs on the covers, like butterflies and skateboards or pockets for pictures and pouches for pencils, and making them more flexible and so on. So five other girls and I sat in a room and the person running the focus group, who is usually not affiliated with the company you are analyzing, would bring out different notebooks and ask us to critique them.

The company usually asks for the focus group to be filmed, that way it can hear the feedback from the people critiquing the merchandise. Some of the notebooks were really cool and practical. Since participating in the focus group, I’ve actually seen some of the notebooks I liked in stores. So after the guy asked us the questions that the company wanted answered, they paid us $65 in cash.

I’ve also participated in a focus group for the new 7-UP upside down, a.k.a "dnL," and I went to the Warner Bros. lot to watch the pilot of the new Tarzan TV show.

I found both of these on I know other people who were given money to shop at Wet Seal and then they had to come back and explain why they chose the clothes that they bought. They got to keep the clothes, and got paid an extra $50 for their explanation.

There are also focus groups like "What kind of cat food does your cat like and why?" which pay good money, but usually aren’t as fun.

These focus group jobs are usually listed just as a "focus group" without providing many other details until you open the link. Sometimes it will say the age range they’re looking for. They’re not all looking for teenagers.

After you send them your information, they will call you back. They usually call you within three or four hours of your responding. Either make sure you stay home until they call or give them your cell phone number if you are going out. Whoever calls will ask you to e-mail them your name, age, phone number and any answers to questions having to do with the focus group. If you fit their criteria then they’ll call you to come in, typically within two days.

Always use your judgment

If the place they send you looks suspicious or you don’t feel comfortable, just leave. It’s not worth risking your safety. But if it looks safe and legitimate, which almost all of them are, go make some quick cash. And don’t forget to bring an I.D., either school or driver’s license, in case they ask for it.

Sometimes they overbook, just in case someone doesn’t come, and they’ll ask one person to leave. But even if it’s you who ends up leaving, they pay you! So you actually get paid just for showing up and then leaving. However, it’s really fun to do the focus groups so I wouldn’t recommend volunteering to leave.

You probably aren’t going to hit the jackpot the first time you check, but people post different jobs every day, at all times of the day. So if you want to find something, you need to be persistent. Try and check it at least once every two days. If the post is ambiguous about the age then e-mail them anyway. Don’t be afraid that just because you’re under 18, you won’t be qualified.

The post should tell you the obvious things though, like the pay, when they’ll need you, and the kind of job it is. Sometimes you will come across illegitimate jobs where nudity is required, or more subtle ones like "bikini models needed." Just stay away from those and use your good judgment. Those listings usually say 18 and older.

When you respond to a job inquiry, it’s smart not to give your full name. Just your first name and e-mail address or phone number works fine. Don’t give your last name or address until you’ve actually been contacted by the company or person who posted the job and you know that it is legitimate.