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How to get your first job!

How to get your first job!

Firstly, it’s usually really hard to find your first job, unless you live in a city with lots of “unskilled” jobs on offer. There is a lot of competition from other people your age, but it’s not impossible. It’s not a bad idea to ask parents and parent’s friends if they know of anything suitable or could recommend you, as that’s what helped me get my first job in a supermarket. After this, applying and getting jobs becomes a little easier.

If that fails, start applying for every unskilled job in sight. Any offer you get is unlikely to be your dream job that earns you vast sums of money, but this is unimportant. You’ll get there one day, but you need to start at the bottom. After 3 months or more in the first job, it will be a lot easier to get another one more to your taste as you will have proved you can hold down a job.

Next, work on your CV. This stands for “curriculum vitae” (known as a “resumé” in the USA) which is a document that gives data such as contact details (name, address, phone, email, sometimes date of birth), your qualifications (GCSE, AS, A level, BTEC and where and when you obtained them), along with any relevant experience or skills – e.g. “in my IT GCSE we were taught how to use Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. For example, I created an Access Database of the class’ pets, and the queries to interrogate it and produce reports”. This is the sort of thing an employer looking for clerical/admin/filing staff might look for. In contrast, if you are trying to get a job working with animals, helping out at a local stables or animal shelter voluntarily will be really helpful on your CV. You can use the info on your CV to help fill in the common application forms large companies require.

So where do you find jobs to apply to? Your parents might suggest the local paper, but in fact usually it has all its vacancies on its website. Don’t rule out wandering round town looking for vacancies in windows, as that’s how many smaller businesses advertise. If there is somewhere you really would like to work, drop off a CV with a covering letter that demonstrates why you would love to work there, and asking them to bear you in mind should a vacancy occur, can get you quite far.

Got an interview? You must research the company, or you will look stupid when they ask what you know about the company at interview. This is applicable throughout your life, so if you can acquire research skills now, they’ll be forever useful.

At the interview, look the interviewer in the eye and shake hands if they offer. Answer any questions truthfully, but don’t portray yourself in a bad light. Slight exaggeration of skills is normal, but any more than this and you will soon be exposed as a liar, which could get you fired. But try not to worry, as it’s much easier to tell the truth rather than make up an elaborate lie about your skills.

Just go for it with your best shot, and good luck getting that job!

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