At the age of 16, you're finally old enough to do a real job more than a paper round. Whether you are after a full time job after GCSEs, or a weekend job to help support yourself through further education, there are lots of options around. There are a lot of casual jobs that need few qualifications and a perfect for providing some weekend spending money. However, if you are after a more permanent job, there are also a number of career paths and further training courses available to kick start a career. For these, have a look at our Apprenticeships section.
Actually getting the job
One of the easiest ways to a get a first job, is through contacts. Ask relatives or friends of relatives if they know of vacancies in their place of work. This works especially well in retail where a recommendation from a relative may well be enough to skip the interview phase.
Another easy way, is to go into every shop in town and ask for an application form. Fill them all in and return them. Many shops recruit extra staff in November for Christmas, and this can be a good way of trying to stay on permanently.
Failing that, check the websites of every shop or library or hotel you can think of, and take a look at their vacancies section. Bookmark it, and return there every so often. Look in local papers, and websites of local papers. Job centres have a large number of vacancies, and these turnover fairly quickly, so there are always jobs to apply for. There are also a number of jobs on gumtree, and these appear frequently. They tend to go very quickly, but are good for bar work and waitressing.
Some 16 year olds just want a summer job to help them cover a few costs. Unless the job is specifically aimed as a Summer Job, it is best to avoid mentioning the fact that you will ditch the place in September. Most companies spend money training you and will not like seeing their investment disappear after two months, so by mentioning that you are only temporary, will probably result in a rejection.
However, a lot of larger companies, such as supermarkets, will allow you to transfer your job between branches during the holidays once you get to university. If you think you are likely to want to do this in the long term future, its worth enquiring about this in advance.
It depends on how often you are free. If you are still at school, doing Monday-Friday, it's probably best you stick to maybe one day per week (Saturday or Sunday) or an evening and part of a weekend day. You shouldn't do more than 10-12 hours.
College students, with whole weekdays off can probably afford to do more hours, but more than 20 will probably seriously affect your education. You will see that a lot of colleges still suggest 12 hours maximum - but in most cases, it's really finding your own balance of work and education.
I don't need the money, what's in it for me?
If you can survive without the extra money, getting some work experience comes in useful later on, when filling in CVs or that dreaded UCAS form for university. A regular part time job shows that you can mix and match your life, and can hold down a job even though its rubbish. It shows persistence, team work, ability to speak to people you don't know, key skills that are not taught to you at school, and all these are looked at favourably by employers/admission tutors. If you don't want a part time job, you could always check out our our volunteering article and volunteering forums.
What kind of jobs could you get? See some case studies of students who have had suitable jobs.
Want to share your job searching tips? Share them here.
- Contact the Employer
- Job Searching Tips
- Summer Job Guide for Students
- Making the most of your summer
- School and College Student Job Experiences