Getting a job after leaving school or college - 10 top tips

Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Exam results are due for over 1.5 million school and college leavers across the UK in the next few weeks.   Many younger job seekers are now applying for jobs for the first time.  New Job Today has thousands of vacancies including entrant, trainee and apprenticeship positions.   
Here's our top tips for school or college leavers applying for their first jobs:
  1. Prepare your CV: Create a well-structured CV that highlights your education, any relevant coursework, achievements, extracurricular activities, and work experience, even if it's part-time or temporary roles. Focus on transferable skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for.  Ask a parent or friend or search online for tips to create the best CV.  Here's our guide to this
  2. Apprenticeships: In 2022, over 700,000 people across the UK started an apprenticeship.  Consider applying for apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeships offer a combination of practical work experience and formal training, allowing you to earn while you learn and gain valuable skills in your chosen field.
  3. Job search websites: Set up alerts for jobs and sectors in locations that you want to work on job search websites like
  4. National Careers Service: The UK's National Careers Service provides advice and resources for job seekers, including job search support, CV writing tips, and career exploration tools.  Take a look at
  5. Networking: Leverage your connections, such as teachers, friends, parents of friends and family, to learn about potential job opportunities. Attend networking events or career fairs to expand your professional network and learn about new opportunities.
  6. Volunteering: While you are waiting for your ideal job, consider volunteering for local charities or community organisations. Volunteering not only demonstrates your commitment to helping others but can also provide you with valuable experience and new skills and looks great on your CV!
  7. Online presence: Ensure your online presence is professional and consistent. Create a LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills, connect with professionals, and follow companies you're interested in.
  8. Research companies: Learn about companies you're thinking about applying to tailor your applications accordingly. Demonstrating knowledge about the company in your covering letter and interview can make a positive impression.  
  9. Prepare for interviews: Practice common interview questions and conduct research on typical interview processes in the UK. Dress appropriately for interviews and exhibit a positive attitude.  There are plenty of online resources to help with preparing for interviewing.
  10. Stay positive and persistent: Job hunting can be challenging, especially for younger candidates, but stay positive and keep applying. Don't get discouraged by rejection; it's a natural part of the process.
Remember, the job market in the UK is competitive, getting your first job is daunting, but with persistence, preparation, and the right mindset, you can increase your chances of landing a job that sets you on a fulfilling career path. Best of luck in your job search!