Tips for finding your first job

Written by EFP Editor
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Wondering where to start when getting your first job? 

Finding your first job is one of the hardest things you might have to do in your working life. Starting from scratch with no experience can feel like an uphill battle, but remember that everyone has to start somewhere. While it may feel like it’s impossible to land a job with no work experience, remember that employers are not just looking for experience, often your attitude, skills and overall manner are as important. Being friendly, enthusiastic and determined will go a long way in your search for a job.

For dedicated help to students and school leavers, visit our websites Developing a Student and Employing an Apprentice.

We have put together some tips on how to get your first job. Whether you have just left college and are looking for the first step in your career or a teen in school looking for part-time work, we want to help.

 7 tips for landing your first job  

Put together a good CV

The first and most important thing to do when searching for a job is to put together a good CV. You need to spend some time listing all your details and skills so any potential employer can immediately see why they should hire you. This is especially important for school leavers and teens with no experience, as you need to find other ways to show off your skills. A CV should be short, for part-time and casual work no more than a page, and it should be concise. For more help, visit our guide to CV writing.

Access your network

A great place to start when finding your first job is to reach out to those around you. Many people get their first job through friends and family, somebody you know might need a helping hand. Ask your teachers at school or leaders of any clubs you are in, whether they know of any part-time jobs going. Being recommended to an employer for a job is always a great bonus.

Always follow up

After you have applied for a job, whether formally or informally, it’s essential to follow up with an employer. If you are waiting to back from a job, ring or email the boss and just ask if they have any updates. This shows you are keen and proactive. It might help them to make their decision.

Be open-minded

Always be open-minded to jobs you may not have considered. When looking for your first job, it’s important not to shut off possibilities before giving them a go. The likelihood is that you won’t land your dream role straight away, so be optimistic and open to any jobs that come your way. Every job is a helpful stepping stone in your career.

Apprenticeships

If you are looking for something a bit more permanent, consider starting an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are great for any teens over 16 that don’t have much experience but are keen to get out of the classroom and into work. You can earn a wage, whilst training and studying for a qualification. For more information, head to our site Employing an Apprentice.

Show your face

Go and speak to potential employers in person, as well as just emailing in your CV. If you see online that a local café or shop are hiring, go down and introduce yourself and say that you have applied for the job. You want to show the employer that you are not just another online application but also a warm, enthusiastic person they would love to work with.

Plan your time

Finally, remember to consider your schedule before you start searching for jobs. There is no point in getting a job on a weekday if you have to be in school or college during the day. Research which jobs will suit your schedule first, and then work from there. Employers are more likely to hire someday they know can immediately commit to the allocated hours.

As a teen in secondary school, how many hours am I allowed to work per week?2021-01-26T12:02:57+00:00

Under 18’s are legally only allowed to work in part-time positions, unless they are still training or in part-time education. For 16 and 17 year olds, you must not work more than 8 hours in a day. If you are still in school, during term time, you cannot work more than 12 hours a week, a maximum of two hours on school days and Sundays. You are entitled to a 30-minute break for every 4.5 hours that you work, and those aged 16 and 17 cannot work after 10 pm and before 7 am. 

How old do you have to be to get a job part-time? 2021-01-26T12:02:05+00:00

In the UK, the youngest you can legally get a part-time job is 13. There are some exceptions for ‘performance jobs’ such as acting or modelling, which you can do younger than 13, but you will need a performance licence to do these. Children under 16 are not entitled to the national minimum wage (£6.45 an hour for 18-20 year olds), and they do not need to pay national insurance. When a child reaches 16, they are entitled to at least £4.55, this then changes again when they reach 18. 

You cannot be employed full-time until you have reached the minimum school leaving age. In the UK you have to be in part-time education or training until the age of 18

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