Finding your first job is an exciting time. Whether it is a weekend job alongside studying, an apprenticeship, or a summer job, it is your chance to earn money, learn skills and become more independent.
Finding your first job
Many young people start working part-time while they are still at school or college. This:
- Gives you work experience
- Starts your CV
- Earns money!
Popular ways for younger job-seekers to find jobs include looking for posters in local shops and cafes, asking friends and relatives, and checking local notice boards.
Experience: I started looking for a part-time job by walking around the town centre and enquiring in different shops if there were any vacancies. One shop gave me an application form and I filled it with a lot of detail as I thought it was a good way to stand out from other applicants. I was given an interview shortly afterwards. I dressed smartly and brought a notebook which had a few questions in it – for example, the pay and the uniform. I also brought my Record of Achievement because I could show them certificates and photos from my hobbies. I tried to be confident and not give one-word answers or look at the interviewer, not the floor. A week later, I was offered the job - Hannah, 16, Witney
Younger workers - know the rules!
There are rules about how many hours you can work each week, and the kinds of work you can do. Children aged 13-16 need to apply to the Local Authority for a child work permit. This is a short form, where your employer, school, you and your parents agree that the work will not harm your health or studies. Don't let this put you off! As long as it does not get in the way of your learning, the more experience you get, the easier it is to stay in work as you grow older.
Instant expert: Learn all about what hours you can work when you're under 16.
Jobs at 16+
At age 16 you will still need to stay in learning until you are 18. But this doesn't mean you have to stay at school. If you are keen to start or stay working, you can:
- Do an apprenticeship
- Get a job with training
- Work alongside full-time learning
Most jobs and all apprenticeships are advertised online. Sometime jobs are advertised on the company's own website, but others appear on listing sites like the National Apprenticeship Finder. Lots of people start looking for their job before they have finished their studies, which gives them plenty of time to find the best opportunities.
Crucial: If you chose to do a part-time job alongside study, make sure you know what rules your school or college has about how many hours you can work.
Time to find a Job!
So, you've completed your studies and need a job!
People get jobs from all sorts of places; through friends or family, though finding jobs listed online, or through employment agencies. But there is also a standard way to get a job, which is useful for everyone to know:
- Register with your local Job Centre Plus. This lets them know that you are looking for work and their advisers can help you find opportunities. They will also let you know about any benefits.
- Register with suitable local employment agencies (your Job Centre Plus adviser may suggest agencies to you). Many also offer temporary work you can do while you are waiting for the perfect opportunity - useful if you need money right away.
- Turn on your phone ringer, and check for calls and emails and respond quickly to any offers.
There are other ways to find jobs, including telling everyone you know you are looking for a job, and looking online on jobs listings sites. We list some opportunities suitable for young people job-seeking in Oxfordshire on our Oxfordshire Opportunities search. There are also general sites like Universal Job Search, but be cautious when applying for jobs you find online, and make sure you are job seeking safely.
You can also find a company or organisation you would like to work for, and look for jobs and apply on their website. You may also be able to get job updates, so you can find out about jobs as soon as they are available. Sometimes this is described as "registering" or setting up an account.
Take Action: Sign up to receive our Hot Jobs newsletter to find out about opportunities in Oxfordshire for younger job seekers.
Broaden your job search
Oxfordshire borders on six different counties, and lots of people step across the borders to find their perfect opportunity.
Find your neighbouring young people's job site or NEET support:
- Gloucestershire Youth Support Team
- Wiltshire Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) PAs
- Elevate me West Berkshire
- Buckinghamshire Opps in Bucks and WannabeBUCKS
- Warwickshire NEET Support and Progress
It can be helpful to bookmark your favourite job sites and searches, to save time when looking for jobs.
Crucial: If you're looking for post-16 learning opportunities in Oxfordshire and beyond, UCAS Progress aims to list all post-16 learning destinations.
Once you've found a job or apprenticeship you like the look of, it's time to apply! See our tips on applying for a job.