Am I work ready
So you are thinking of getting a job, but are you work ready?
It can be confusing finding a job, especially from the change of environment from education to the workplace. Some people will be able to find a job quickly and for some it can take a while, jobs are often only advertised for a short time and close quickly; and it takes an average of ten weeks to find a job, so make sure your CV is good and that you are work ready.
Being work ready
Often employers will say they are looking for young people who are work ready, but what do you need to be work ready:
- Be positive and willing to work – this includes turning up on time, making an effort, completing tasks within deadlines and being interested in and enthusiastic about the job (these are also known as soft skills).
- Be able to get along with colleagues – you need to show that you can work well with other people, and be polite, helpful and considerate.
- Have basic skills – for almost any work area you will need at least basic English, Maths and ICT skills.
- Gain qualifications or have evidence of learning – employers need people who continue to build their skills by actively seeking to learn new things.
- Having work experience – Work experience, as well as volunteering, can give you valuable insight into the workplace environment and working with others without the pressure of full employment.
By having these skills and experiences you will enhance your chances of being employed, and when applying and interviewing it is often worth having examples of these skills, to give employers to show you are work ready.
Get work ready online
With the growth of the Internet and social media, your presence online can sometimes affect your job opportunities. Most applications can now be completed online, and employers can sometimes do a quick check of your online presence to see if you are the type of person that is acceptable or matches their values. In some cases more in-depth checks can take place; as such it is important for your future that you look good online and the best time to do this is before you start applying for opportunities.
Here are five top tips complied by Oxfordshire County Council for getting work ready online:
- Get a sensible email address for job applications. Use it and check it regularly. Set up forwarding from old addresses you no longer want to use.
- Check privacy settings on all sites used (not just Facebook). Make sure private content is not visible and that public content (like your profile picture and cover image) look tidy and professional.
- Take down bad content, like old videos, text, posts or pictures which show you in a bad or silly light. You can also add new, professional content.
- Tidy up friends lists. Defriend people you don’t know, people who don’t like you, and any risky contacts.
- Join some professional networks. LinkedIn is the most famous but check for others including networks and mailing lists in your chosen job areas.
The Internet can help you get work, find your learning destination and pursue your interests; and your own content online can also support this – as long as it looks good.
Why I should
Whether it is a full-time role or a part time ‘Sunday’ job, getting a job can offer you so much. Here are some benefits from getting employed
- Earn money – you can start becoming financially independent and have some extra cash
- Starting your CV – the skills and experiences you learn from your first job can enhance your ability to find more opportunities in the future and can be evidenced on your CV
- Develop your soft skills – these are skills you need to be able to demonstrate and are sought after by employers, they are skills based upon how you act and are transferable from one job to another.
Employers value young people
Young people may feel that a lack of experience or confidence is a problem for them, but most employers understand and value the benefits young people bring to the workplace. These include:
- fresh perspectives and new ideas
- energy, spark and enthusiasm
- fewer obligations and greater availability
Are you applying for a job? If so, you will usually be asked to supply a CV (curriculum vitae) and covering letter, which will show how you are qualified for the job and why you would be the ideal candidate for the role. If the employer believes you meet the criteria for the job you may be invited to interview.
Follow the links below for tips for writing a CV and covering letter as well as interview advice:
Minimum wage, taxes and your rights
What you can earn
You must be at least of school leaving age to get the minimum wage and the current rates are as follows:
- £7.83 for workers aged 25 and over
- £7.38 for workers aged 21-24
- £5.90 for workers aged 18-20
- £4.20 for under 18s
- £3.70 for Apprentices
For more information on the rates and who is entitled to them go to the gov.uk website: who gets the minimum wage.
National Insurance (NI)
Just before you turn 16 you will receive your NI number. You pay National Insurance contributions when you work, to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension. How much you pay depends on how much you earn but it is normally taken from your wages once you earn £183+ a week.
For more information on national insurance including how to find a lost number go to the gov.uk website.
Tax is usually taken out of your wages automatically by your employer through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) if you earn more than £1,042 a month on average, this is your personal allowance. It is important to save your payslips as you may be able to reclaim tax if you have paid too much.
For more information on income tax including the different tax codes and how to reclaim tax go to the gov.uk website.
A pension provides an income after you retire. Most workplaces offer pension schemes, where the employer, the employee and the government all contribute money. Very young employees and those not yet earning much money may not be automatically registered into pension schemes. But you can usually choose to join your pension scheme. Talk to your employer or go to the gov.uk website to find out more about workplace pensions.
If you are over 18 then adult employment rights will apply, visit the .gov.uk website for more information on employment contracts and conditions.
Visit the Acas website for more information.
If you are an apprentice you are entitled to:
- A written contract of employment
- A full induction in the workplace
- A negotiated training plan or contract between yourself, the employer, and the training provider
- At least the apprenticeship rate minimum wage of £3.40 (with effect from 1 October 2016) an hour
- A safe working environment and protection from discrimination or bullying
- Release from work to attend formal training
- Provision of an appropriate range of work experiences to enable you to complete your qualifications
- Access to support, guidance and mentoring
- Quality training
- Regular assessments and review of progress
- Sufficient time away from work station or desk to study in work time
For more information on apprenticeship pay and conditions go to the gov.uk website.
If you are pregnant:
- you don’t have to leave your job
- you can return to work 2 weeks after the baby is born (4 weeks if you work in a factory)
- you may be entitled Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance
- you can take maternity leave of up to 52 weeks.
If your partner is pregnant you may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) or Statutory Shared Parental Pag (ShPP)
For more information on pregnant employee’s rights including statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and shared parental leave and pay go to the gov.uk website.