95% of part-time or casual work is not advertised - and with new vacancies being filled  as quickly as they appear, it's important to know where to find those 'hidden' opportunities.

Where do I start?

You could seek out opportunities and target companies direct. Although the internet is a great tool to help you find your new job, using a more traditional method such as cold calling and sending speculative letters, for example, can be equally successful.

Speak to friends and family to find out if they can offer you any advice on where to find work, how they made a good first impression when they were looking for work and if they know of any companies who take on part-time staff.

One way to check out job opportunities in your area for part-time work is to go directly into shops and food outlets to ask if they require new staff. Some shopping centres have websites where vacancies are advertised. Supermarkets will usually advertise vacancies on their own in-store noticeboards.

If you choose to visit potential employers, you need to be prepared and consider the following points:

  • Make sure you look smart and clean when you visit companies
  • Try and visit companies on your own. If you do not feel confident about going on your own only take one friend with you - do not take a group. Ensure that your friend will take what you are doing seriously. Don’t take anyone with you who may give a bad impression to employers
  • Be safe! If you are cold calling on your own, let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to return
  • Be enthusiastic, clear and confident
  • Answer any questions fully - don’t just give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers
  • Smile - this always eases a situation
  • Think about your body language - slouching or leaning on a counter will make you look bored and could suggest you’re not really interested in working there

Making a good impression

Creating a good impression is important and someone will make up their mind and make a judgement on you in almost the first minute. It is useful to have a copy of your CV with you, preferably word-processed, so you can leave it if there is nobody to speak to at the time. If you are leaving contact details with employers make sure they are appropriate. An e-mail address, for example, should not contain wording which an employer might find offensive. If you are leaving a phone number think about the voicemail message you use.

Sometimes employers may ask you to fill in an application form on the spot, so be prepared! If you do not feel confident about this, ask if you may take the form away to complete at home. It is always a good idea to get someone to check it for you before sending it back.

What to do next

Find out how and when the employer will get back in touch with you. Take a contact name and telephone number. If you don’t hear back when you expected to, don’t panic - telephone the employer and ask politely whether they have made a decision and when you might expect to hear from them.

Working while still at school

The date Year 11 students can legally leave school is the last Friday in June. If you are below the minimum school leaving age, you must have an employment permit issued by the local authority where you will be working. You must also have your parents’ or carers’ consent to work part-time.