Searching for a job

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Our top tips!

  • Think about who you want to know
    If you currently have a job, you may not want to share that you are searching for one. Many online job sites will have an option for you to keep your profile hidden and turn off your activity.
  • Keep you profiles and CV updated

    Keeping your CV and any professional profiles updated will make the process of looking for a job much easier. Spend time creating and updating your LinkedIn profile – you never know who may be looking.

  • Perseverance is key!
    From looking for a  part-time job to searching for your first full-time job after you graduate, it is important to stay committed in your search and never give up. An opportunity will always come up even if it is not what you had expected when you first started looking.

Why is having a job important?

Having a job allows you to establish work goals and work towards them. As a result, you gain a sense of purpose and direction in life and you feel a sense of satisfaction when you achieve your goals. A job provides structure to your day, allowing you to make plans for the weeks and months ahead. It also gives you the opportunity to meet many different people. While some of your colleagues will become friends, other people you connect with could become invaluable business contacts or mentors, or enhance your support network. Within your job you may develop new skills that allow you to progress further in your career. A job also gives you a salary, which – no matter how large or small – provides you with financial stability, security and independence.

One of the first stages in securing a job is searching for one. This can take some time, and requires you to reflect on what you want to do, and the kind of organisation that you would like to work for. There can be lots of different things to consider, which can be daunting. However, remember that the things you are thinking about will help you find a job that will suit your needs and meet your expectations in the long run. Some of the most important aspects that you need to think about are the hours of work, the pay, the company culture (what your life will be like working there), the location where it is based, and the people. Doing research will help you to find out a lot of this information, but you may have to wait to find out some of it when you start working.

How do I decide what job I want to do?

Before searching for a job it is important to decide what it is that you are looking for. There are many factors you can consider, but deciding what you enjoy the most will help to set you on the right job path. Below are some tips that might help you to find out about the options available to you:

  • Work is a lot more enjoyable when you are doing something you like or are particularly good at. Therefore, it can be helpful to think about what skills you possess as well as your personal qualities, such as communication, organisation, empathy or patience.
  • Discussing your ideas with friends and family can help to give you ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. It is also really helpful to speak with people who work in the industries and job types that interest you, since they provide you with more insight into what it is like and the opportunities that might be available.
  • Don’t just look at vacancies on the main websites and from big, well-known employers; also consider research roles and companies you might be less familiar with. This may help you to discover new opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise found or considered. It might also lead you to opportunities that will be less competitive.

What are the benefits of having a job?

Having a job is largely considered for its most obvious benefit: money. Having a steady and stable income can give you the opportunity to save up money and engage in activities that you might otherwise be unable to explore. However, there are many other benefits that might encourage you to seek out a job!

Having a part-time role alongside your studies gives you the chance to work on your time management skills, improve your confidence when dealing with customers, and learn from your peers and colleagues.

A job role also provides you with experience that you can put on your CV; this can, in turn, help you to secure future opportunities.  Even skills that don’t appear transferable from one job to another at first can significantly impact your chances of being considered for a role! Don’t worry if you don’t have any prior professional experience to put on your CV, however, as experience is not the only thing that employers are looking for. Look at our section writing a CV to learn how to craft yours!

What are the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering might seem like a strange choice since it doesn’t offer any immediate financial or contractual gain. However, volunteering can offer similar benefits to part-time work or internships, while also giving you the chance to use your time to help a cause.

Generally, volunteer work is sought after by charities, start-ups, and non-profit organisations. There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available where you can offer your skills and time without immediate financial reward.

Volunteering shows determination, initiative, and empathy. It can also help to build your confidence. It shows future employers that you have a wide range of interests and have used your spare time to give back to organisations that matter and help others. It also helps to develop your skills, so look out for opportunities that you might enjoy!

Since volunteering involves offering your time by choice, volunteering roles tend to be more casual and are usually flexible around your other commitments.

What do I need to consider?

Work location

Are you looking for somewhere local that is close to friends and family, or are you happy to relocate across the country or perhaps abroad? Work location is an important consideration, especially since you may need to be able to drive or take public transport to some locations.

Salary expectations

Are you happy to work for minimum wage to top up your student loan with a little extra money, or do you need a higher-paying job to cover living expenses? You should think about how much money you need to earn to afford your lifestyle and aim for a salary that will meet your needs.


Make sure you know what you’re looking for, whether it’s a part-time job, apprenticeship, internship or graduate scheme. The position you want will depend on the stage of life that you are at. For example, if you are still studying, you may only be looking for something part time.

Contract length

Do you want a seasonal or full-time position? Are you happy to work zero hours or do you need a regular part-time job? Make sure that you check out the type of contract and the number of hours you will be required to work; this way, you can be sure that it fits around your commitments.

What kind of company should I work for?

Taking the time to decide where you would like to work can make your job search a lot more targeted and effective. When you come to apply for a job, it is important for you to be confident that it is in a place and organisation where you would be happy to spend many hours of your time.

You may see yourself working for a large company that is able to offer further training and career progression, or you may prefer a small company where you can gain greater experience more quickly and be part of a more intimate company culture. Whichever you decide, make sure if feels right for you. Meeting employees from an organisation will also help you to understand what it is like. If you are invited to interview, make sure you take the opportunity to ask questions and find out information that will be useful when deciding whether you would like to accept a job.

It is really important that you take the time to think about what kind of company you want to work for. If you work for a company that you don’t like, you are unlikely to enjoy your job. Consequently, your mental health may be impacted. On the other hand, if you work for a company where you are happy, you will reap the benefits of being able to bring your full self to work and reach your full potential. 

I think I might need some help... what do I do?

Searching for a job can be daunting, time consuming and stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if this is your first time searching for a job. It can be an especially difficult area to navigate and you shouldn’t be expected to know what you are doing straight away.

Get support!
Searching for a job can be tough, and take a lot of time. Always reach out and talk to somebody if you need support.
Speak to us

If you are struggling to find a job, or even just where to start in finding a job, it is really important to reach out to somebody. All of our mentors have had to apply for a job before, so will be able to share advice with you and give you some really useful insights. Contact our friendly mentors if you would like someone to talk to!

Speak to an adult

If you are struggling with any part of finding a job, reach out to an adult. You could speak to a parent, another family member or even an older sibling – all of them are likely to have been through the process before and give you some tips.

Speak to a teacher or advisor

When you are starting to look for jobs, take the time to speak to a teacher, lecturer or careers advisor. They are very experienced in supporting young people who are looking for jobs for the first time and will be able to help you out.

Where can I find jobs?

Searching for jobs can be time consuming, but that is not a bad thing. Taking time over the process will ensure that you end up in a job that will suit your skills and that you will enjoy.

You shouldn’t rush to apply for the first job that you see, unless it happens to be the dream job that you have been looking for! Make sure that you take the time to do proper research about the jobs that you want to do, and the jobs that are available in the market at the moment. Bear in mind that these are constantly changing, so once you have applied for jobs, keep researching until you get offered a position that you would like to accept.

There are an infinite number of resources that you can use to find jobs. The following are good places to start, but remember that just speaking to friends and family about the jobs you would be interested in could lead you to other opportunities!

  • Online databases and job search websites
    There are many online databases with lists of opportunities from job websites and employers’ careers pages. This can be a faster approach than browsing opportunities at individual companies. Links will be provided to the vacancies that are advertised.
  • Online versions of print media such as newspapers and magazines
    These are likely to keep an up-to-date database of active job vacancies.
  • Recruitment agencies
    Recruitment agencies in your relevant sector can put you in contact with agents who will search for jobs on your behalf and let you know when suitable positions are available. Signing up can be useful, but the registration forms can be time-consuming and repetitive!
  • LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is more than a networking site and can be a great way of discovering job vacancies and also discovering jobs through the people you connect with on the platform.
  • Careers fairs
    Careers fairs are not just good for the freebies! Fairs at your university or college – or even virtual fairs – are a great chance to meet and talk to employers directly.
  • Careers portals
    If you’re at a university or college, use their careers portal to search for positions. Often, universities also offer part-time employed positions and with good wages and reasonable hours – these can be a viable option for students seeking a part-time position.

How do I network and meet new contacts?

Networking is a really important aspect of finding jobs, meeting new people and maintaining professional contacts. Some people are naturally good at networking, while for others it can take some practice. If you are not yet confident when it comes to networking, don’t worry – as long as you are trying, you will find that you can still successfully meet new people and connect with them.

When making connections with people, be generous and consider what you can do to help them, rather than just trying to get a job from them. This will help to make the process more authentic and allow people to gain a genuine interest in you.

It is also important to not dismiss somebody as unimportant just because they are not in a senior position within an organisation. Take the time to ask them questions and listen to their responses with interest. In doing so, you will discover the value in anyone you communicate with.

It is also important to remember that after meeting somebody, you should follow up afterwards. Send them a personal email or invite them to connect on LinkedIn. This will solidify your interest and make them more likely to want to help you out.