Getting a Job Whilst Doing Your GCSEs
Entering the world of work can be an exciting experience for young individuals, although there are some challenges that can arise when seeking employment during or after studying their GCSEs. However, hardworking students who have a strong work ethic will find that gaining employment will give them a good income, and an opportunity to gain a level of maturity and independence.
Should you have a job during your GCSEs?
Not all students want or need to have a job during their GCSEs, and in most cases, it is down to a personal choice whether they want to get one or not. The obvious complications that can happen for students is whether they are over the age of 16 or not, especially as the birthdays of final year students can range from September to the very end of August the following year – meaning some students will find it nearly impossible to secure employment due to their late birthdays.
The biggest advantage of having a job is to have a chance to earn some money and save or spend it as you like, whether you want to save up for driving lessons and buy a car, or to go on holiday – the choice is yours. Also, working gives you a sense of freedom and a taste of adulthood that allows you to experience things you never could before. You will also meet new people, and have a new circle of contacts that are different from your friends and family. Some people that you meet at work are friends made for life!
The most detrimental thing a job can do for a student working during their GCSEs is to take valuable time away from your studies. It is a tough time studying for several subjects and is a vital stepping stone in your educational aspect of life that moves you onto to A-Levels, BTECs or Apprenticeships. Therefore, if you start working all weekend during exam season you are taking time away from studying that could affect your grades.
If you choose to study after your exams, you’ll have more time to work, especially as you would have left school at this point. Work will still take time away from you, though, and that includes spending time with your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, and it can be difficult to secure time off work to go on a summer holiday too. If you have a holiday planned, or only want to work on certain days so you have time to relax and see your friends you should tell the employer this at the interview stage, so they are aware of your flexibility.
Working under the age of 18
Most places of work won’t employ students under the age of 16 as their company insurance only covers employees over this age. Furthermore, those employees under the age of 18 hold legal right to not work over 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day and they must have at least 12 hours’ worth of rest between each working day, and 48 hours’ rest per working week. This means, if you were working 12pm-8pm on Wednesday you can’t start work 7 am the next day as this is only 11 hours rest in between shifts. Once you turn 18, adult working rights then apply. These rights for those aged between 16 and 18 are there to ensure that you are not taken advantage of, or overworked, especially as you will be inexperienced within employment.
What job should you have during your GCSEs?
Students should spend some time considering what job that they would enjoy doing. Even though the complete time spent at work will take up a third of your entire life (depressing, isn’t it?), you should at least try to find a job that you enjoy doing. If you are interested in food, or enjoy talking to people, then working at a restaurant or retail will prove best and means you’d be well suited for a Hospitality degree, too. Or, if you like working with children, you could apply to work in nurseries and children’s activity companies. Find out what you enjoy doing and what would make your working life easier.
Do I need to know what career I want to get a job?
Your first job doesn’t have to set the direction of your career! Your first job can simply be something to start you earning or something to do with all of your free time in the summer. Students shouldn’t feel too concerned about finding a job in the finance sector if they have dreams of becoming an Accountant (For which you will need to study an Accounting degree). If you can find a job that is related to your chosen career, then it is a big bonus and will offer you the chance to see if this is really what you want to do, but if you can’t, then it won’t affect your chances later in life.
Do I need a CV?
Yes, all jobs and employers require CV (Curriculum Vitae) for their applications. A CV is a document that you create to showcase your achievements and gives an employer a brief snapshot of your working attitude and abilities, these are the same things you need to include in a personal statement as well. It can be tough to create a CV for your first job, as you will either have little or no work experience to include, but if you show that you are hard-working and a positive attitude you can still get a job.
What should I put on my CV?
First and foremost, ensure your CV is well written and has no spelling or grammatical errors. Ask your family and friends, or even your teachers to read over your CV to check for any mistakes you could have missed, these are the same people to ask to help you with your personal statement, too. Employers value written and verbal communication skills, therefore, if you hand in a poorly written CV, they won’t consider you at all for the position.
If you haven’t received your GCSE results, list your predicted grades which were either calculated through mock exam papers or from your teacher’s comments. Explain why your personal qualities make you a suitable candidate for the position and a short personal profile which sums you up as a person. You may also list personal interests and hobbies, especially if they are relevant, to help the employer get a good feel of who you are as a person.
Do I need a cover letter?
A cover letter is simply a letter that is given to a specific and prospective employer alongside your CV. It is more personal as you will be writing about the job role and why you are suitable for that role, whereas a CV can be given to many employers, a covering letter will be written for each job role. However, not all employers or applications require a covering letter; it just depends on the employer. A covering letter will give you the opportunity to outshine the other applicants, as you can address the person who is in charge of hiring, and show them why you are perfect for the job!
Looking for a job during GCSEs
There are lots of different ways to look for a graduate job, from checking the newspapers, checking your local jobcentre, looking at notice boards, browsing job websites, or walking into a shop and asking directly if they have any vacancies available. If you do choose to ask shops or restaurants in person whether they have any vacancies, carry around clean copies of your student CV with you so that you can leave a CV there, and they may save it for another date, or choose to call you for another job role later on.
You may find that some work involves having a driving licence, or for you to be over the age of 18 – such as working in a bar – but there are still plenty of jobs available for those under 18.