The Student Room Group

I have no idea how to get a job.

I’m 18 and from Cambridge. Since my GCSEs ended (I was 15, almost 16), I’ve been trying to look for ways to earn money. I’m starting university in a few weeks, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve had no success. I only got my bank account & passport last year (since my parents were being uncooperative), so I guess I’ll let that slide?

I want to explain my reasoning for this: I want to be less dependent on my parents. I don’t have the best relationship is one way to put it, but my mother is toxic and borderline abusive. My mum tells me getting a low-paying job at my age is stupid, because she’ll “just pay for me”. She doesn’t understand that I’m very guilty about spending their money.

Once on Nextdoor I offered to do “odd jobs” (say, mowing lawns) but part of me got scared at the thought of going to random people’s houses (especially being female at birth), and I never ended up replying. I applied for 2 jobs in my area, but no reply from one, and the other was busy. As an ethical vegan, I won’t work in food, so…

I feel like I’m a failure. I didn’t do anything “productive” this summer either I was off my antidepressants so I basically just spent half of the summer crying or sleeping. I don’t even check my bank account because I’m scared of how low my balance is. 3 summers of “I should get a job” and nothing? When my classmates had ones during term? Pathetic.

Here are my difficulties:
1) Commute - I don’t have a car, no plan to learn to drive. I’d love a job on my local high street BUT it’s mostly either takeaway or gambling. Otherwise, I have to take the bus or cycle, which is kinda tiring.
2) Lack of experience & being a student - would a place really want to hire someone who only works for a month, with no experience?
3) What job to get - again, I don’t work in food. I can think of retail, or honestly things like babysitting or tutoring. I have less restrictions being 18 now, but I still am disadvantaged with no experience to offer.
4) Freelancing - this has crossed my mind but what would I even offer? I’m good at writing and art, but even if I have a Fiverr, how is anyone going to find my account? Why would they go to me specifically?
5) National insurance / technicalties - if you hop from job to job, doesn’t that complicate things? Will places be hesitant to hire you?

I wish I’d talked to the careers advisor at school more. I tried to book a meeting with them once, but never heard back because I forgot I blocked them (they spam a lot, so…). I just want some advice, right now I’m considering on-campus jobs, or places that specifically hire students during term break. I just feel like I’m at my wit’s end and I’m annoyed.
Reply 1
I should mention I’m studying at the University of Warwick, if anyone knows any good jobs around there.
Although, I feel like in the first term, I won’t really be in a suitable place to take on a new job there.
Hey there :smile:

Are you excited to start University? not long to go now! in terms of searching for a job, it can be difficult to get on the ladder but once you do this can help open up more doors for you. If you are able to, I'd recommend looking into volunteering opportunities in the local area, even if you can do this for a short period of time, this will give you some experience to add to your CV and help on the job search! Although, I understand that this might not be possible right now.

Another option is looking at what employment opportunities there are at your university, perhaps within the students' union or as a student ambassador! this is a good way to fit work around your studies and gain a broad range of skills.

An opportunity will eventually come around, just don't give up :console:
Original post by Anonymous
I applied for 2 jobs in my area, but no reply from one, and the other was busy.


I feel this is your issue. You need to be applying to higher volume of jobs. I applied to almost 200 jobs before landing my current position.

I'd recommend Indeed for applying to a large number of jobs quickly. I had great luck with fast responses from companies and sometimes same day phone interviews. I ended up taking a job in manufacturing (six days between application and being offered the position) as a stopgap while searching for something that I felt fit my skill level better.
Reply 4
Original post by CamembertPaws
Hey there :smile:

Are you excited to start University? not long to go now! in terms of searching for a job, it can be difficult to get on the ladder but once you do this can help open up more doors for you. If you are able to, I'd recommend looking into volunteering opportunities in the local area, even if you can do this for a short period of time, this will give you some experience to add to your CV and help on the job search! Although, I understand that this might not be possible right now.

Another option is looking at what employment opportunities there are at your university, perhaps within the students' union or as a student ambassador! this is a good way to fit work around your studies and gain a broad range of skills.

An opportunity will eventually come around, just don't give up :console:


I actually volunteered back in my GCSE summer, but I might try again to, it has been on my mind. There are two charity shops really close, but one requires retail experience which is again, not ideal. The other one is religious (I’m not) with a sexual abuse problem, which sucks more.

Had a look at the Unitemps website for Warwick, retail looked perfect but I don’t know how I can do 20 hours a week.

Thank you. :smile: You’ve encouraged me, I think my issue was that I gave up too easily and unnecessarily beat myself up for it.
Reply 5
I feel this is your issue. You need to be applying to higher volume of jobs. I applied to almost 200 jobs before landing my current position.

I'd recommend Indeed for applying to a large number of jobs quickly. I had great luck with fast responses from companies and sometimes same day phone interviews. I ended up taking a job in manufacturing (six days between application and being offered the position) as a stopgap while searching for something that I felt fit my skill level better.


Yeah, you’re right. I wanted to work there specifically as they were vegan food places, and I thought I’d be a perfect fit. I think I just struggled to find places which offered temporary positions. It’s like places here don’t seem to hire at all, which was very frustrating.

I have an Indeed account, but I didn’t really find anything that suited me on there. Do you have any advice?
Original post by Anonymous #1


Yeah, you’re right. I wanted to work there specifically as they were vegan food places, and I thought I’d be a perfect fit. I think I just struggled to find places which offered temporary positions. It’s like places here don’t seem to hire at all, which was very frustrating.

I have an Indeed account, but I didn’t really find anything that suited me on there. Do you have any advice?


If you really want a job then apply for absolutely anything you are qualified for, rather than only things you feel suit you. I definitely didn't imagine a job in manufacturing but it was easy work and allowed me to move out of my parents house and in with my girlfriend.
Reply 7
If you really want a job then apply for absolutely anything you are qualified for, rather than only things you feel suit you. I definitely didn't imagine a job in manufacturing but it was easy work and allowed me to move out of my parents house and in with my girlfriend.


Again, you’re right, it’s just hard to find anything because everywhere wants experience. But of course, you can’t get experience without a job. Did you get a job during term time? I’m already struggling mentally, so I can’t imagine how I’d cope. I’d have to rely on term breaks.
Original post by Anonymous #1
I’m 18 and from Cambridge. Since my GCSEs ended (I was 15, almost 16), I’ve been trying to look for ways to earn money. I’m starting university in a few weeks, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve had no success. I only got my bank account & passport last year (since my parents were being uncooperative), so I guess I’ll let that slide?

I want to explain my reasoning for this: I want to be less dependent on my parents. I don’t have the best relationship is one way to put it, but my mother is toxic and borderline abusive. My mum tells me getting a low-paying job at my age is stupid, because she’ll “just pay for me”. She doesn’t understand that I’m very guilty about spending their money.

Once on Nextdoor I offered to do “odd jobs” (say, mowing lawns) but part of me got scared at the thought of going to random people’s houses (especially being female at birth), and I never ended up replying. I applied for 2 jobs in my area, but no reply from one, and the other was busy. As an ethical vegan, I won’t work in food, so…

I feel like I’m a failure. I didn’t do anything “productive” this summer either I was off my antidepressants so I basically just spent half of the summer crying or sleeping. I don’t even check my bank account because I’m scared of how low my balance is. 3 summers of “I should get a job” and nothing? When my classmates had ones during term? Pathetic.

Here are my difficulties:
1) Commute - I don’t have a car, no plan to learn to drive. I’d love a job on my local high street BUT it’s mostly either takeaway or gambling. Otherwise, I have to take the bus or cycle, which is kinda tiring.
2) Lack of experience & being a student - would a place really want to hire someone who only works for a month, with no experience?
3) What job to get - again, I don’t work in food. I can think of retail, or honestly things like babysitting or tutoring. I have less restrictions being 18 now, but I still am disadvantaged with no experience to offer.
4) Freelancing - this has crossed my mind but what would I even offer? I’m good at writing and art, but even if I have a Fiverr, how is anyone going to find my account? Why would they go to me specifically?
5) National insurance / technicalties - if you hop from job to job, doesn’t that complicate things? Will places be hesitant to hire you?

I wish I’d talked to the careers advisor at school more. I tried to book a meeting with them once, but never heard back because I forgot I blocked them (they spam a lot, so…). I just want some advice, right now I’m considering on-campus jobs, or places that specifically hire students during term break. I just feel like I’m at my wit’s end and I’m annoyed.

1.

Transport: Look for remote jobs or opportunities within walking/cycling distance or on-campus.

2.

Experience: Highlight skills from school projects, volunteering, or extracurriculars; many entry-level jobs don't require experience.

3.

Job Options: Consider retail, tutoring, babysitting, customer service, or administrative roles aimed at students.

4.

Freelancing: Use platforms like Fiverr, promote skills on social media, and build a portfolio to attract clients.

5.

Job Changes: It's common for students to switch jobs; keep records for tax/National Insurance.

[start]Lastly, seek support from university career services and mentors for guidance. Trust your instincts regarding job safety and comfort. You're not alone, and taking small steps will lead to finding the right opportunity.[/start]

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