Finding Your First Job

school booksMany of my clients are people who are mid-way through their career and looking at a change in direction, but from time to time I help people just starting out in the world of work. I have provided coaching and resume support to high school students who are making decisions about their future and on the hunt for a part time job.

If you’re a teenage job seeker, here’s some things to help put your best foot forward when finding work. 

How old do you need to be? – Despite popular opinion, 14 years and 9 months is not the minimum age of employment. To be employed without a permit a child must be 15 years. Information about child employment and requirements (such as in the entertainment industry or working for a family business) can be found HERE.

Volunteering – If you’re keen to get some runs on the board sooner than turning 15, then look at getting involved in your community by volunteering. This will always give cred to your resume when people are looking to hire you.

Where to work?

Where do you see yourself working? What are your skills and interests? What motivates you? What hours would you be available to work? Think about these questions as they will help you reflect and understand the type of work you will be suited to and enjoy.

Do you have a resume?

Put together a one pager, neatly set out with your name, suburb (optional), phone and email.

Write a Career Objective – two or three sentences that talk about your skills and strengths. Plus, a sentence about the type of work you are seeking a why or how you can make a valuable contribution to the business.

Work Experience – list previous (and/or current) paid or volunteer work you’ve held. List the responsibilities plus any achievements that give evidence of how you demonstrate your skills or add value.

Education – list the school, year level and subjects. Note any achievements such as:

  • Performed in school production “Into the Woods” (2016)
  • Awarded Distinction for Australian Mathematics competition (2015)
  • Nominated School Captain (2015)

Get some runs on the board

Take the opportunity to do work experience through your school. Speak to your school’s Careers Counsellor about how to set this up. Check out the Career Horizons website which is a portal for matching businesses in Central Victoria with work experience students. You can also look at 100 Ways in 100 Days which helps young people transition from school to further education, training and employment in the Macedon Ranges region.

Put yourself out there

Let your family and friends know that you are looking for part time work. They might keep an eye out or help spread the word amongst their contacts who may be looking to put someone on.

Approach businesses and enquire about any vacancies and/or how you might apply for future job openings. Take your resume and hand it to them if anything comes up in the future.

Go the extra step and write a letter of introduction (cover letter) that states you are interested in working for their store/cafe/organisation and gives them some information about you.

Make the most of opportunities

Whether it be work experience or an after school/weekend job, go in with a positive attitude and show enthusiasm for the work. Ask questions and learn as much as you can. When doing the work, think about how you make a difference, for instance, being helpful by making product or menu suggestions to the customer.

All these things will set you in good stead with building up strong achievements for your resume and a reliable reference when you’re seeking your next job!

Think about your future

Take advantage of the resources available to you, such as speaking with the school’s career guidance counsellor. An online resource is MyFuture which can help you think about future career options, pathways and education choices.

Remember, not everything needs to be mapped out now, but hopefully you find some good tips here to get your career started and earn some cash along the way!

Extra Resources

Five things to do in your gap year to boost your CV
Embarking on your first job search




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