Top 10 tips for finding work
Whether you want part-time work while you study or a full-time job when you’re 18, looking for work can be tough. Our top 10 tips will help you stick with it.
Keep in mind
After Year 11 it is a legal requirement that you are in some form of education until the age of 18. This could be studying full-time or work based training. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a part-time job if you want to.
The first thing you will need to do is create a CV – there’s a template you can use on our website. The general rules are to keep it simple and on one page – two pages is ok once you’ve got more to put on your CV. Use a simple font and be positive – the average CV is read in 10 seconds so it’s really important to make a good first impression.
Read our guide to writing a CV
Once you’ve typed your CV, get a parent or teacher to check it over. We all make mistakes, but even a small one here can put your CV straight to the bottom of the pile. You will need to get references – ask your teachers, employers from work experience or adult leaders from out of school activities, like your sports coach, dance teacher or scout leader.
Make a list
Make a list of companies you would like to work for. This can include local companies and some a bit further away that you can get to by public transport or car if you have one. The list will help you to be organised and keep track of who you contact.
Think about what kind of job you would like to do. If you aren’t sure, talk to the careers adviser at school or try our skills and career quizzes to get you started.
Right, let’s get started with our top 10 tips
1. Get your CV out to companies
If the companies are local you can hand in your CV in person. Remember to be polite and try to make a good impression. You can also call companies to find out who to send your CV and a covering letter to. You can find phone numbers and addresses in the phone book, Yellow Pages, www.yell.com, or do a web search of the company name.
You can get help to write your covering letter from a careers adviser or teacher at your school, or do an online search for cover letters – there are lots of websites that show you how. Try not to take it personally if an employer says no to taking your CV.
2. Get the word out
Ask family and friends if there are any jobs or work experience available where they work. You can use Facebook and other social media to share the news that you are looking for a new job and a new challenge. Lots of people find jobs through people they know, friends of a friend, or word of mouth.
3. Look in the newspapers
There will be a few local newspapers you can choose from – you may even get one delivered right to your door. There are also many national newspapers that list jobs, although you’ll find that a lot of them are in London. The Guardian and The Times are two of them. If you don't want to buy a newspaper, you can find them online.
4. See what help there is locally
See what help is available in your area. Your careers advisor will be able to tell you. There may be a National Careers Service office, Jobcentre or local programmes aimed at helping young people get into work. They will have some local vacancies and can help you with your job search.
5. Register with agencies
An agency is a company that advertises permanent and temporary job vacancies for employers. You’ll find them in every town and city and online too. Some will have vacancies advertised that say they need six months’ experience, but don't let that put you off – they may have jobs for those just starting out too. Do a web search to find a few local recruitment agencies, then go to see them with a copy of your CV and ask what jobs they have available – try to be open-minded!
6. Search online job sites
There are so many jobs websites out there! To find the right vacancies, you will need to use keywords for what you’re looking for and put in the location of where you want to work. You can get in touch with many recruitment agencies online as well as on the high street. Some jobs sites are dedicated to, or have special sections for, young people. Here are some to get you started:
7. Be willing to travel
There may be some jobs in your local area but, if you are willing to take a bus, train or tube to travel a bit further, you’ll find there’s a lot more choice available. It’s important to be realistic – lots of people commute up to an hour for their job, and not many people work a five-minute walk from home.
8. Be realistic
The job you get today is not the job you will have forever. You can work your way up in a company, or get experience and move on elsewhere. Be willing to get low paid work to fill your CV and give you someone to ask for a reference. Experience is the main thing employers are looking for – it’s even more important than what qualifications you’ve got.
9. Don't give up
Be persistent. Keep trying different employers and keep filling in applications. It’s a good idea to follow up with any employers you have given your CV to. Wait a few weeks after handing in your CV, then call to see if they have any vacancies. It’s important to be patient while you are looking for work. It’s easy to get discouraged, but remember that lots of people go through the same thing.
10. Do some volunteer work
Gain some valuable experience by doing volunteer work. You won’t get paid, but you can learn some new skills, do something you enjoy, have something to put on your CV and get a reference. A job might even come up at the organisation you’re volunteering for.
If there’s somewhere you would like to work, you can call them up to ask about volunteering – many charities will appreciate some extra help. Here are just a few ways you can volunteer:
- in a charity shop
- at a hospital
- for a care home
- looking after animals
- helping with clubs and activities.
When you get an interview
We have faith in you! You’ll get an interview and, when you do, it’s really important that you prepare for it properly.