Land your first job

Build skills for your future

A part-time job can give you valuable work experience. Build your independence and confidence at the same time as finding out what kind of work you enjoy. Do you want something fast-paced or to make a difference in your community? Find out if you want to work with people, animals or the land.

With an income of your own, a job can also help you learn valuable financial skills, from weekly budgeting to saving for the things you want. You’ll also build transferable skills to impress future employers. 

 

What job will suit you?

Here are some typical part-time roles that you can fit around your studies:

  • Service or kitchen staff at a restaurant.
  • Work in your local shop, supermarket or garden centre.
  • Odd jobs for your community, such as washing cars, gardening or babysitting.
  • Dog walker and dog or cat sitter.

Have you thought about volunteering?

Volunteering can offer you the same experience and life-skills as a paid job, and looks equally good on your CV. Check out Volunteer Scotland to find volunteering opportunities in your area.

It can be especially useful for a career where people skills are important, like nursing or social work.

Securing your first job

There are lots of ways to find a job. You could ask friends and family for ideas and contacts. Look online and check the local paper for adverts.

Depending on the type of job you find, you might need to write a CV and go for an interview. Here are some interview questions you might get asked:

  • What skills can you bring to this job?
  • What experience do you have that would help you do this job?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Do you like to work alone or in a team?
  • Why do you want to work here in particular?

To prepare for your interview, it's a good idea to think about some examples of how you’ve worked with family members, school friends and teachers in the past. You can use anything from your life to highlight skills or experiences you already have – think sports teams, clubs, student councils, orchestras or even team project work in class.

Don’t know where to start? There’s some great advice on writing a CV, getting work experience and more on My World of Work.

Our tips for teenagers on the job

  • Be on time – aim to get there a little early.
  • Dress for the job – make sure your clothes are clean, tidy and fit the job. If in doubt about what to wear, ask.
  • Listen carefully, speak clearly and remember to smile!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – you want to learn.
  • Turn off your phone, or leave it at home.
  • This may be your first job, but it won’t be your last. There’s always something to learn and the skills you pick up now could be useful for life.
  • And finally… make sure you create a good impression. Your current employer might end up being a reference for a job in the future.

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Your questions about jobs

  • There are rules around how, when and where you can work at 16 years old. Here are some of the key things you need to know.

     

    Term-time rules:

    You can work a maximum of 12 hours a week during school term-time. 16 year olds can:

    • work a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays
    • work a maximum of 8 hours on Saturdays.

    School holiday rules:

    You can work a maximum of 35 hours a week. 16 year olds can:

    • work a maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
    • work a maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.

    Pay:

    Once you’re 16 you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £4.62 per hour (2021).

     

    Type of work:

    There are some rules in place as to the kind of work you’re allowed to do. For example, you’re not allowed to work in betting shops or in roles that could be detrimental to your health, education or well-being. Find out more on the government website. Or contact your local council’s education department or education welfare service.

    Information correct as at June 2021.

     

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