Getting a holiday job

If you’re after a bit of spare cash, getting a part-time job during your school holidays is a good way to do it. You can gain useful skills that you can use later in life, but there are some things you need to consider before you start that application

Before you start looking

If you've decided that you'd like to start earning some money, there are a few things to think about before you start, such as:

  • the amount of time you can dedicate to a job
  • the maximum distance you can travel and how you can get there
  • any existing skills or experience you have

There are also a number of restrictions on the type of job that you can do and the number of hours you can work depending on your age.

Time you can spare

Although it's tempting to spend lots of your holiday time working and earning money, it's not a good idea to over-commit yourself.

Think about any revision or coursework that you need to do during your time off, any holidays that you have planned or anything else you'd like to do during your break before getting a job.

If you have holidays booked, you must mention this to your potential employer before they offer you a job. Not saying anything until an offer is made can create a difficult situation - not what you want on your first day.

Distance and location

Travelling time is really important, especially if you're going to be using public transport. Think about how you will get to and from work and how long it will take you to travel to your job and back home again.

If you're working during the evening in a restaurant or a bar, some employers may pay for a taxi if you finish late but this is not typical.

Skills and experience

A holiday job is likely to be the first job you've had, so you might think that you've got no relevant skills that you can offer an employer. Think about anything that you're interested in outside of school or college, or any particular subjects that you think you're good at and match them to job opportunities.

For example:

  • if you're interested in sport, you could work for your local leisure centre
  • an interest in entertainment could come in useful in a music or DVD store
  • any activity that you attend regularly shows commitment - a key skill that employers look for

If you know what sort of career you want to follow in the future, it may also be a good idea to look for a job in the same industry, or do a voluntary unpaid work placement. Any experience you can gain may help when you're looking for full-time work in the future.  

Where to look

If you're out shopping, have a look in shop windows. Lots of stores advertise for temporary or weekend staff in their displays. You can also often find a holiday job by simply going into somewhere and asking if they have any temporary work available.

Even if they don't need anyone they may take your CV and put it on file, meaning that they might contact you if any work comes up in the future.

If you're at sixth form, college or university, keep an eye on job boards around the building or in your student union. Many colleges and universities also have dedicated job shops with hundreds of part-time vacancies from local employers. You can also search for temporary and permanent job opportunities online.  

CVs and interviews

If you're applying for a job, it's likely that you'll be asked to supply a CV (curriculum vitae) and attend an interview.

If you do get asked for either of these, make sure you spend some time making sure your CV is well-presented and easy to understand - and practice your interview technique.

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