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Getting a Job

1. Full time work 2. Part time work 3. Understanding payslips
4. National Insurance 5. P45 and P60 explained 6. Income tax
7. Tax codes - what are they? 8. Pension 9. Getting a job

9. When Can I Get a Job?

At the end of Year 11, you are able to get a part time job and from the age of 18, you are able to get full time job.  Whether it is part time or a full time, you normally have to go through the same process.  This can include:

  • Handing over a CV;
  • Filling out an application form;
  • Having a 1:1 interview over the telephone or in person;
  • Group interviews;
  • Aptitude tests


CV (Curriculum Vitae) and Cover Letter

A CV (which means story of my life) is the first thing an employer might see so first impressions count.  It is also a good idea to attach a covering letter about you to the CV.



Within your CV it is important to include:
  • Personal Details - This should be your name, email address, contact number and address.  Make sure this is at the top of your CV and is clear.  It is important to look professional so make sure your email address represents this.  We have all done it, but do you think shows you are professional?  Maybe it's time for a change!  The best option is to find an email that includes your name like or;
  • Personal Statement - This can be a small paragraph about yourself.  Make sure it stands out and proves you are suitable for the job!  It needs to explain who you are, what you can offer and what you are looking for in the job;
  • Key Skills - This is the part where you should put down any key skills you have that can be brought to the job, e.g. working under pressure, good listening skills, problem solving skills, IT skills;
  • Education - You need to state where you studied, the dates and what qualification and/or grade you achieved.  If you are awaiting a result, this should also be listed here;
  • Work Experience - This is where you include all your previous and relevant work experience.  This should be most recent first.  You need to include your job title, organisation's name, time in post and what your key responsibilities are/were, which can be set out in bullet points.  If you have volunteered, this should be listed here as well;
  • Hobbies and Interests - You do not always need to include this on your CV, but it is worth mentioning any relevant ones that could help back up your key skills and help you stand out from the crowd; it could also give you something to talk about in an interview.  If it is not going to add value, leave it out;
  • References - Check with the people you want to use as referees first, then list them on your CV (name, address, establishment, contact number and email address).  Do not put 'references available on request".
What words to include and what not to include

Trying to work out what will be the best wording to use on a CV can be difficult, especially when you are trying to fit a lot of information into a small document.  You could use keywords such as:

  • Confident;
  • Adaptable;
  • Hard-working;
  • Pro-active;
  • Reliable;
  • Accurate;
  • Responsible;
  • Innovative

To make sure you stand out, try not to use the cliché words such as:

  • Motivated;
  • Strong work ethic;
  • Multi-tasker;
  • Flexible;
  • Independent;
  • Self-motivated

Whatever words you use to describe yourself, you must be able to give examples to justify these at interview.

Make sure you can give small examples of previous work and responsibilities as well as your accomplishments to make your CV stand out.


Covering Letter

A covering letter is an important part of most job applications.  You have to make sure it sells you to the employer, but states your skills and abilities in a clear manner.  It needs to persuade the employer to meet you.

Before writing your covering letter, make sure you do your research.  You can use the information you find to adapt your covering letter to fit the job.  You should look at:

  • What the role involves;
  • Any essentials skills - IT, previous work experience within that field;
  • What the company does;
  • Do they have a target audience? - a shop may have a target age audience

If you do your research and use your covering letter to answer these questions, then it will demonstrate your interest in the role and company.

Formatting a Covering Letter

A covering letter needs to be about half a side of A4 but no more than one page.  You need to make sure you present it well and that it's to the point (make sure you don't repeat what it says on your CV).  Make sure you use a font that is easy to read and that it doesn’t include any pictures or word art images.

Structure a Covering Letter

You want to make sure you address the covering letter correctly.  You should try to find out who the correct recipient is.  Once you have the name, you should start your letter off with 'Dear Mr Jones' or 'Dear Mrs Jones'.  If you are unsure or unable to find out, then you should address with 'Dear Sir/Madam'.

Content of the letter

Start with why you are getting in touch.  It should be short and to the point.  It should mention what role you are applying for, where you found the job advert and that your CV is attached.

For example: 'I wish to apply for the role of Customer Sales Assistant that is advertised on your website.  I have attached my CV for your consideration.'

Second paragraph

This is the part where you need to briefly explain any qualifications that you have.  These can be GCSE's, A-levels or other qualifications that are relevant to the role.  If you have not had your exam results confirmed, state your predicted grades.

For example: 'As you can see from my CV attached, I have recently completed my A-levels hoping to gain (give predicated grades relevant to job, e.g. 3 A-levels C and above including Fashion and Design), which I believe I can use and put into practice in this role.'


Third/Fourth paragraph

Demonstrate what you could bring to the company if you were to be hired.  It is good to be as specific as possible.  If there are any specific skills that you have used at school or in a previous job that match the job descriptions, use examples here.  Here is where you can include any volunteer work, sessions you have attended or books you have read related to the job.

For example: 'I am very interested in this position because of my interest in fashion.  This interest has only been encouraged when studying Art and Design Fashion at A Levels.  This has helped my knowledge and passion within fashion grow.'


Fifth paragraph

Reiterate your interest for the role and highlight what makes you the perfect candidate.  Remember to always refer back to the skills listed in the job description.

For example: 'I feel this position is perfect for me to make the most of my passion and enthusiasm for fashion and also help build the foundations for a career in this industry.  Even with my limited work experience, I feel my willingness to learn, along with my hard-work ethic and dedication, I can help build upon your outstanding reputation within the fashion industry.'

Closing the letter

Thank the employer for their time looking at your CV/application and sign your cover letter off with 'Yours sincerely' if you know the name, or 'Yours faithfully' if you do not and end with your name.

For example: 'Thank you for your consideration and time.  I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Smith'


A covering letter should be changed and adapted to each job application you do, so it can take a while to tailor them to the role.


Application forms

Some vacancies will require you to complete an application form.  You will need to read the documents carefully before you start.  It is important to follow the instructions and complete all parts of the form.  When an employer receives a large number of applications they may well reduce the number they read by separating the ones who have not completed all of the form.  None of these will even be read, let alone invited for interview. 


Finding a job

Job searching can sometimes be long and frustrating, but it is helpful to make sure you know where to look and how to look.

There are plenty of job searching websites that employers post their jobs onto;

On these sites, you can upload your CV and start to search for jobs.  CV's are often read and screened by a computer programme, which is looking for specific words or phases and only CV's that say these things will be considered.  Some job sites allow employers to contact you about a job if they find your CV and think you would be interested and suitable for the job.  There are some do's and dont's to follow when looking for a job which may help:


  1. Use the filters (where possible) to help tailor your search.  By narrowing your search to your requirements, it may help speed up the search process but also remove any jobs that are not suitable for you;
  2. Set up daily alerts for new jobs.  These mean you do not miss out on any possible job opportunities;
  3. Try different wording within your search.  Most people will only search for the job title.  Try re-wording, using different phrases when searching as this may help.  Make sure you search for keywords such as specific skill, qualification or responsibilities as this will give you much more suitable results;
  4. Be specific in what job you want.  If you are searching and getting jobs you are not interested in, narrow your search to find the ones you like.  This could be change of location or adding extra keywords.
  1. Make sure you don't apply for every job you find.  Applying for every job could mean you miss the criteria which means you may not be suitable for the position, wasting your time and the employer's time;
  2. Make sure you don't leave your profile unfinished as this will turn employers off, and is likely to give the impression you have not given it much effort and are underselling yourself.  You need to complete your profile correctly to give employers a good impression, meaning they are more likely to look at your application;
  3. Be careful not to tell everyone about your job search on social media as potential employers could be looking at this.  Check that your privacy settings are correct;
  4. Recruitment process can take time so don’t expect an instant reply.  Traditional applications with a closing date can take up to six weeks (sometimes longer).  If you have applied before the closing date, employers will not look at applicants until after the closing date.  If you have uploaded your CV to a general recruitment site such as Monster or Indeed, you may get an instant response and you will need to react quickly;
  5. Sometimes your CV or profile can be hidden on job sites without you knowing.  Make sure this doesn't happen to you, unless you have a good reason, so it is always a good idea to leave this box unticked on your profile's privacy settings to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities.


Job interview

Once you are offered a you a job interview, you will have to prepare.  Firstly, you need to confirm what type of interview you will be attending - these are normally face to face (either group or one-on-one), telephone call, or video call.

Then, you need to do your research on the company, the role and any questions they may ask.  Some employers ask you to do online tests before the interview or on the interview day.  Make sure you have completed these or have prepared yourself for them.  If your job interview requires you to give a presentation, make sure they have the correct IT equipment for you to give this.   They may ask you bring it on a USB stick but it is always a good idea to have more than one copy that you can get to easily.

Before your interview, check that you have everything with you — this can include paperwork they have asked for — and make sure you have:

Make sure you have:

  • Looked up your role;
  • Researched the company;
  • Found the location of the interview - the building and how to get there;
  • Chosen what to wear;
  • Prepared any questions they may ask you;
  • Prepared some questions you could ask them at the end of the interview

It is good practice to have an 'interview folder' to keep all your documents together.  It can include any certificates from education or any training courses you have completed, a few copies of your most recent up to date CV, identification documents (birth certificate, p45, p60, National Insurance number, proof of address etc)

Common questions you may get asked:

  • 'Tell me about yourself' - This should be no more than 3 minutes long and briefly cover your education, interest in the field, work history and any other experience;
  • 'Why did you apply for this job?/Why did you want this job?' - You should mention how the job and the company interest you, and this is where you could talk a bit about the company using the job description to help you;
  • 'Why should you get this job?' - This is the question you use to demonstrate why you want this job and why you are the best person for it.  Make sure you refer back to the job description to state you can do what they are looking for;
  • 'What are your weaknesses?' - The best way to answer this question is to take a weakness of yours (it doesn't even have to be essential for the job) and give practical examples of how you are addressing this and trying to improve this.  Try avoid saying weaknesses like 'I'm a perfectionist' or 'I work too hard';
  • 'Where do you see yourself in five years' time?' - This question basically tells the employer that you have thought about your future, ambition, and that this job is not a stop gap job.  As much as your answers should be tailored to the organisation and the position you have applied for, this is still the case for this question.  You want to make sure you are passionate about the industry;
  • 'Do you have any questions?' - YES!  Yes is always the answer.  You can ask questions such as:
    • 'Is this a new or existing post?';
    • 'What would my day-to-day responsibilities be?';
    • 'How many people are in the team?';
    • 'Are there any training schemes  you run?';
    • 'What are the promotion prospects?';
    • 'When can I expect to hear from you?'


STAR Interview Technique

This technique is used for competency based questions.  They usually start along the lines of "tell me about a time you...."  followed by a competency from the job description.  This will require you to think about past work experiences.  When asked questions, try to follow the technique below; this shows your relevant experience.  It is important to prepare for these questions so that you have examples you can quote and use in the interview.

Situation - Describe background and context; set the scene 

Task - Describe what was required of you, any challenges you face or expectations

Action - Describe the actions that you took in response to the situation.  Be sure to share lots of information about what you specifically did and the skills you used. 

Result - Explain the results and what was accomplished.  This should be positive.  The interviewer will want to know what you learnt from the situation and what you might do differently next time.


If you have an interview and do not hear back from them, contact them to follow up on your interview.  If you have been unsuccessful, ask for feedback.  This way, you can learn from anything you did wrong and improve for the next interview.


Make Sure you:

  • Are not late for the interview - try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview.  If you are going to be late, make sure you contact them as early as possible;
  • Make eye contact with the people interviewing you;
  • Try not use the word "erm…";
  • Bring in notes for the interview about answers you have prepared so you don't have to memorise everything;
  • If you are asked a question you cannot answer, it's OK to ask for the question to be repeated (this will give you extra thinking time) or to request that they revisit the question at the end of the interview;
  • Be polite and friendly;
  • Relax!


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