How to hunt for a job when you’re 15¾

Job hunting is stressful at any age, but when you are a school leaver it is extra daunting.

Kian finished his GCSE’s last week and now his thoughts have turned to finding a summer job. Well, when I say his thoughts, it is something his Dad and I both think is important for a number of reasons.

a) We cannot afford to fund his summer holiday activities

b) It teaches and instills a good work ethic

c) It looks good on his CV

Both his Dad and I had weekend jobs by the age of 12 and whilst I understand times have changed and the laws for employing minors have become a lot stricter, it has always frustrated me that my teens cannot own their own money. We were lucky with Abbey that she could have a paper-round but with the rise of social media and viewing the news online there is no demand for that these days.

Legally Kian is now allowed to work despite being still 15 as young people can leave school on the last Friday of June of the school year in which they are 16. He has also received his National Insurance Number through the post which employers ask for on their application forms so I am hopeful he won’t be rejected because of his age.

The real struggle with job applications these days is there are mostly all online and, my goodness, they are enough to put anyone off applying for a job. We sat together and filled out the Tesco careers application and despite the fact I have 16 years experience with the company, even I couldn’t pass the application process.

When I worked for them, we invited people in for interviews based on their experience or how their personality came through on the application form – now they are rejecting people on a series of multiple-choice questions where the answers are all plausible and not even laying eyes on the applicant. Even my old colleagues admit that half of them wouldn’t be employed by Tesco if this application process had been in place when they applied.

Writing a CV or filling in an application form as a school leaver no previous work experience to speak of is also a challenge. The main thing employers are looking for are skills and giving examples that are applicable to the role in question. For example, IT skills (naming specific programs), problem solving, public speaking and interpersonal skills, not to mention a friendly and welcoming demeanour, are all desirable qualities to have.

Hobbies and Interests can be also be a hit and miss whether to include them. I know from experience that impact sports can put employers off as they fear injury which could mean time off work so it is best to focus on something that helps get your personality across.

So, if you need me, I will be the one supporting my teen as he applies for his first job in the big wide world and fingers crossed he finds something sooner rather than later.

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18 thoughts on “How to hunt for a job when you’re 15¾”

  1. Aww, exciting and nervous times ahead. Both my sons finished Uni a few weeks ago and both had a job interview at different places last week for a summer job. I told them to wear a nice suit and be confident, polite and do a bit of research about the company before going. After a week they both found out they got their jobs!

    Hope your son finds something he likes, good luck 🙂

  2. How exciting i remember my first job was a Sumner job when I was at college and I ended up working in the nursery that was in the college. It was lots of fun and I’m glad I did it.

  3. I hope he finds a job soon, online application forms are a nightmare! I totally agree that getting a job when teen’s leave school is good for them, my daughter will (hopefully) be going to work weekends in Gregg’s when she is old enough as her step dad is a manager. I am hoping a little job will help her realise the value of money xx

  4. It’s absolutely awful how hard it is for anyone to get a job these days, let alone school leavers. I find they always want 5+ years experience too so how can anyone get a chance?

  5. I have given up finding a job for Lea this summer – we too failed the Tesco application! She is cleaning holiday barns for a friend every Friday and that is just enough to fund her activities! Good Luck! Kaz x

  6. Oh gosh, good luck to him, that sounds so stressful. I also had a paper round – what a shame that’s dying out, it was such a great way to learn from an early age about responsibility and earning a little bit of pocket money.

  7. I think if my kids were teens again I’d encourage them to do a mix of ‘real’ work (in a shop or similar) but today there are also loads of jobs they can do online. Sites like Upwork – you can get paid to write short articles (for like 5 pounds a pop), do simple research tasks – all kinds of things.

    (Also I didn’t know you could have a fraction in a URL – interesting!)

  8. Good luck. I hope he can get something. I remember working in a hairdressers at that age and it was flipping awful x

  9. I’m crossing my fingers for your son! Being a teen is so difficult already, having to find a job in the summer should be so much easier than it is. At the same time, it gives us no wild expectations on who the world works, which can be both good and bad I guess. Best of luck!! xx


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