It’s a tricky question: should you get a part-time job and build up some work experience, or focus on your schoolwork so you have the best chance of acing your grades?

Employers and universities say that they actively look for work experience in applications, so a part-time job can look really positive on your CV.

But every teenager is different. It's important to balance the benefits of a job with making sure you have plenty of time for homework, meeting up with friends and chilling out.

Types of jobs

Here are some typical part-time jobs that you could look for:

  • Working in a cafe.
  • Retail jobs at a local shop or supermarket.
  • Odd jobs like washing cars and mowing lawns.
  • Dog walking and dog/cat-sitting.

The benefits

Whatever you choose, a part-time job can give you more independence and help build a good work ethic for the future.

You'll learn a whole new set of skills, from teamwork to learning to take initiative.

And with money of your own, you'll be able to save for the things you want while learning how to budget.

The next steps

Ask friends and family for ideas and contacts, check the local paper for adverts, look online and listen out for where your friends are working.

Depending on the type of job, you might need to write a CV and go for an interview.

These are some typical interview questions you might get asked:

  • What skills can you bring to this job?
  • What experience do you have that would help you do this job?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • Do you like to work alone or in a team?
  • Why do you want to work here in particular?

Before the interview, think about some examples of how you’ve worked with family members, school friends and teachers in the past. You can use anything from your life to highlight skills or experiences you already have – think sports teams, clubs, student councils, orchestras or even team project work in class.

Don’t know where to start? There’s some great advice on writing a CV, getting work experience and more on My World of Work (you’ll leave the Halifax site).

What about volunteering?

Volunteering can provide valuable experience that will look good on any future CV. It can be especially useful for a career where people skills are important, like nursing or social work.

Our tips for teenagers on the job

  • Be on time – aim to get there a little early.
  • Dress for the job – make sure your clothes are clean, tidy and fit the job. If in doubt about what to wear, ask.
  • Listen carefully, speak clearly and remember to smile!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – you want to learn.
  • Turn off your phone, or leave it at home.
  • This may be your first job, but it won’t be your last. There’s always something to learn and the skills you pick up now could be useful for life.
  • And finally… make sure you create a good impression. Your current employer might end up being a reference for a job in the future.

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Your questions about earning

  • Term-time rules:

    During term time at 16, you can work a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes:

    • a maximum of 2 hours on school days and Sundays
    • a maximum of 8 hours on Saturdays

    School holiday rules:

    16-year-olds can work a maximum of 35 hours a week. This includes:

    • a maximum of 8 hours on weekdays and Saturdays
    • a maximum of 2 hours on Sundays

    Pay:

    Once you’re 16 you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £4.62 per hour (2021). 

     

    Type of work:

    You’re not allowed to work in betting shops, in most roles in pubs or in an environment that could be bad for your health, education or well-being. Contact your local council’s education department or education welfare service if you want to find out more.

    You can find out more about the rules on GOV.UK (you’ll leave the Halifax site).

    Information correct as at June 2021. 

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