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Congratulations – you’re taking your first steps to maturity as a teenager and wanting to earn your own money! Having a job means you will have financial freedom and gain experience for your future in the job market. We know it can be a little daunting when you think about entering the job market, but with a lot determination and a little bit of courage you can start this process easily. 

In Queensland, the legal requirement to get a job in most industries is 13. There is, however, no legal age limit when working in a family business or the entertainment industry. You’ll want to be looking for casual after-school work in retail or hospitality. A great first job is customer service based where you are handling money, interacting with customers and have small responsibilities within the workplace. This way you can focus on school work and still develop your skills at your casual job! These are the steps you’ll need to take in order to be successful at gaining employment. 

Step 1: Get an Email Account, Apply for a TFN, Set Up a Bank Account and Super Account 

The first thing you’ll need to do is get an email account. We recommend getting a Gmail account because it is free and has all these great features, including G-Drive where you can write up your Cover Letter and Resume, but we will touch on that later! 

The key to this is to keep your email account name professional, this is really important! A good example of an email address is your name, so this could be “joshsmith@gmail.com” and if that name is taken, you can always add numbers, underscores or dots.  

As a first impression, your email account name says a lot about you. You will use your email account to send your applications through online services like Seek or Indeed. This will also be a great way to keep all of your online presence organised. 

A tax file number (TFN) is a personal reference number used for tax and superannuation systems. They are free and issued by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). If you are under the age of 15, you’ll need a guardian to help you with this one! 

Follow the steps on the ATO website: Apply for a TFN here. 

If you don’t have a bank account yet, don’t worry! This one is really easy. Once you have signed your agreement with your first employer, you’ll need a bank account to get paid. 

There are four big banks: Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB. You might have heard of these banks before but there are heaps more; we recommend sitting down with your family and going over this Canstar Youth Banking article to determine which one suits you best! 

You’ll want to compare rates and then apply. 

Superannuation or ‘super’ is money put aside by your employer over your working life for you to live on when you retire from work. Super is important for you, because the more you save, the more you’ll have for your retirement. 

Generally, you don’t need a super account when you are under the age of 18. But… if you are being paid $450 or more (before tax) in a calendar month and work more than 30 hours a week your employer must pay SG contributions on your behalf into your super account. 

Much like with bank account, you’ll want to research with your family which super account is best for you. You can read more about Super accounts here

Step 2: Create a Resume & Cover Letter

Okay, we’ve got some of the essentials that you’ll need to apply for a job and for after you receive an offer. Now comes the fun part… preparing for applications! 

A resume is something you’ll need for almost any job application. It is essential information to give an employer so they can weigh up whether you’re a suitable applicant for a role, and if they want to invite you for a job interview. 

Your resume should include the following: 

 

Resume Example. Source: Google

As you progress into more professional part time or full time work, you may be asked to make a Cover Letter.  Generally, you don’t need to attach a Cover Letter for casual work unless it specifically asks for it. A Cover Letter is a further introduction to who you are and why you would be suitable for this job. I wouldn’t overwhelm the application with this unless it is completely necessary!

Once all of those documents are made, I would get an adult or a friend who you trust to look over your Resume to make sure there aren’t any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Make sure to save your Resume as a .PDF and have the file name as something appropriate such as, “JoshSmithResume.PDF” for example.

Step 3: Apply For Jobs

Once all of your documents are proof read and ready to submit, you get to start applying for jobs! Back about 10 years ago, people used to go into workplaces and hand in their resume to the manager. You can still do this, but a lot of workplaces now only accept applications online. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that kind of approach but be prepared to hear people ask you to apply online.

When applying for jobs online, you can go to their website (which is like their digital storefront) and check for a “Careers” section. Most large chain businesses in retail and hospitality have this, so if you are wanting to apply for a job at KFC, McDonalds, Sportsgirl, and etc then we recommend checking there.

However, there are websites that are dedicated to these sorts of endeavours. We recommend going to the following sites to check for jobs:

In these sites, you can select the location, type of work, add in things to the search such as “after school hours” or “junior”, and make the search more specific to your needs. You will have to set up an account with these sites, that way your information is saved and it makes your application process much easier!

If you are struggling to find any work within your age range or abilities, we suggest going old school. Go to your local shopping centre, present your best self, walk into businesses and ask to speak with the manager. You can ask them if they have any positions available or if you can leave your resume with them.

Step 4: Interview & Accept the Offer

You go to check your email or maybe you get a call, the job you applied for wants to interview you! Oh my gosh, this is awesome! Remember though, you don’t have the job yet. You still need to make a good impression and accept an offer from them.

When you go for the interview always follow these rules:

You might not hear back from them for a day or two, sometimes you will get the job on the spot which is ideal. Once you get a job offer, make sure to check what they are offering you against Industry Standards. You can speak with FairWork or check their website for more information regarding what the Industry standard pay per hour is and what you are entitled to.

When you sign a contract and accept your offer from your new employer, make sure to enter all the correct information. This is where your bank account details, super and TFN will come in handy.

Step 5: Let’s Get Organised to Start Working!

Once you get your job, make sure to save your managers number and to keep on top of your new schedule. It helps to have a calendar or use the calendar in your mobile! This way you can ensure you have a clear idea of what is happening.

Familiarise yourself with how to ask for time off and how to call in sick, those are things that are going to happen and it’s always best to limit your anxiety surrounding those situations.

You want to make sure you arrive to your shifts 10 minutes early, so you can get yourself ready and to always come to work in a presentable manner. You want to hold this job for as long as you can, preferably you can hold it until you finish your future studies at TAFE or University. You want to be able to leave this job and use them as a reference for the next place!