You might leave school and not want to continue in education. You might want to get out in the world and see what work is out there and what sort of work you like might like to base your career around. The working world is an extremely diverse place and it is not uncommon for people to have several different careers throughout their working life.

  • First steps when thinking about finding a new job, especially straight from school, might include looking at what you are good at, what you enjoy and what work is realistically available to you. What distances are you prepared to travel for work and where will you live?

  • You can seek advice from your school on what you might be suited to and in most instances careers advisors will be able to help you produce a CV (Curriculum Vitae). A CV will help you present your skills, strengths and experiences as well as what you are looking for, to employers in a structured way.

The National Careers Service site has many useful sections that will help with choices and resources for finding work. has wealth of information on the world of employment.

You might consider volunteering or working part-time in order to get a clearer picture of what you’d like to do in the long-run. Often, these sorts of roles can lead to more permanent roles if you are a good match. Here is the government information and advice on working part-time and volunteering.

Our Career Sectors will give you an idea of the various professional sectors and the types of jobs within them.

  • Once you’ve got a clearer idea of what sorts of jobs you are interested in and have your CV prepared, you are ready to start applying for jobs. Check out our Job Search section for advice on writing a CV and how to succeed at job interviews, as well as a taster of professional jobs out there.

It is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to applying for work. If you wait to hear back from each application before doing the next one then you waste a lot of time and will find it harder to manage your finances in the long run. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the first things you apply for, the labour markets are highly competitive at the moment and many experienced workers are looking for work below the level they previously used to. 

Once you do have offers, carefully weigh up the details such as hours, pay, travel, the role itself, the company and the people you have encountered. Seek advice from careers advisors, friends and family if you are unsure of anything. Lastly, always make sure that you are given a contract to read and sign before starting work. Check it carefully to make sure you understand what is expected of you and how you will be remunerated for your work. Take time to check on any stipulations in the contract you don’t understand to make sure you’re not surprised by anything after signing. Contracts usually contain information on pay, holidays, etiquette, grievances and disciplinary action. It forms the basis of agreement between you and your employer is legally binding and is used to decipher any future disputes.