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 the work place. 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 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 work place 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.
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
At age 16 you will still need to stay in learning until you are 18. But this doesn’t mean you have to stay at school. If you are keen to start or stay working, you can:
- Do an apprenticeship
- Get a job with training
- Work alongside full-time learning.
Most jobs and all apprenticeships are advertised online. Some jobs are advertised on the company’s own website, but others appear on listing sites like the National Apprenticeship Finder. Lots of people start looking for their job before they have finished their studies, which gives them plenty of time to find the best opportunities.
For anyone under the age of 16 who is working then there are certain rules and regulations, please click here for more information.
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 link below for tips for writing a CV and covering letter as well as interview advice produced the National Careers Service and Prospects.
What you can earn
The Current minimum wage 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
In some cases, the minimum wage does not apply.
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 £155+ a week.
Tax is usually taken out of your wages automatically once you earn a certain amount. For the tax year 2016-17, your basic Personal Allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free) is £11,000. If you earn below this amount you can claim tax back at the end of the tax year, so save your PAYE slips! Check out the GOV.UK site for more information on tax rates or visit HMRC’s local tax office web page.
As well as the rules above, the following regulations apply to young workers.
If you are 16-17 you are entitled to:
- not work between 10pm-6am (with some exceptions)
- 12 hours of rest between each working day, and 2 days of rest each working week
- 1 hour of rest when working over 4 hours
- 24 days’ annual paid holidays
- time off for study or training, paid at the normal hourly rate
- join the Armed Forces, as long as you get permission from your parents
- work in a bar as part of an approved training scheme
If you are over 18:
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.
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:
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 find out more about workplace pensions.