Your First Job: 10 Things You Should Know I Oxford Open Learning


    Your First Job: 10 Things You Should Know

    As a young person doing your GCSEs or A-Levels, you might choose to take up a weekend job to go alongside your studies. This can be daunting, since it’s probably your first job, so here’s some tips to ease you in.

    Some Figures

    Those aged under 18 are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage, which is currently £4.35 per hour, but in April is set to rise to £4.55. At present, the rate jumps to £6.15 an hour when you hit 18, but this rate is also increasing in April, to £6.45. Up to date rates can be found here.

    Some Advice

    While not for everyone, zero-hours contracts can be great for students as you can flex your work easily around studies.

    Some employers will check your social media profile even for part-time employment. It is wise to put your social media settings to private.

    Many good part-time jobs go by word-of-mouth and are never advertised, so tap up your network (friends, family, coaches, teachers) for opportunities.

    Whether it be your first job or not, part-time or full-time, you should always be ready for rejection. Not every employer will want to hire you and you should have a plan if you are turned down. This could entail being gracious, asking for some constructive feedback and declaring yourself available for future opportunities.


    You need to prepare in advance for interviews. Go on to sites like as these sites have insider information from employees and interviewees on what to expect in an interview.

    First impressions last, so you need to make a good one. You can do this by giving a firm handshake, making eye contact and smiling when greeting employers.

    When You Start Your First Job

    Make sure to carry a notebook on your first day. There will be a lot to learn and jotting it down will help you remember.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something. It’s the fastest way to learn and make friends.

    Last, but by no means least, is this: You will meet many people in any job, so it’s vital that you get good at remembering names and faces.

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    I am a practising HR consultant working with several start-ups on an ongoing and ad-hoc basis in the London and M4 area, and am a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD. I am the Director of; is a resource for start-ups and small business. It includes a blog containing career advice, small business advice articles, HR software reviews, and contains great resources such as HR Productivity Apps.