How to choose your first job

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You don’t need to think that your first job is your last job, that you’ll be locked in for life to whatever you choose to do first.

First jobs are more about picking up skills that are transferable across different jobs and industries, as well as learning what a real-life workplace is like.

Make sure you are following your own path

When you’re young, it can be tempting to follow friends or family members into their line of work, sometimes without even realising it.

While it’s great to share interests and hobbies, when it comes to a career, you want to do something that will fulfil you, not the people around you.

What are your ambitions?

Be open-minded about which industry to enter

You may have a concrete idea about what kind of job you want, and in what kind of industry you want it, but it’s okay if you don’t. Most people work in various industries across their lives.

If you do have a dream job and industry in mind, go for it! Getting your foot on the ladder early on can help you in the long run.

Everyone is different, so work out what’s best for you.

Patience can be a virtue

While it may be tempting to jump at the first sight of a job offer, take your time to work out if that particular offer is one that you really want. It might seem scary to turn a job down, or ask for more time to consider it if you’ve never had a job before, but it can pay off in the long run.

Even if you do take a job just to get some money and a little experience, you can still carry on looking for another job in an industry you really want to get into.

Set yourself some rules

There will many factors to consider when deciding on a job offer. Consider:

  • Where the job is based. Do you want to work far away from home? Can you afford to commute by public transport? Would you prefer to have more time at home and for your life outside of work? Are you willing to work weekends or evenings?
  • Whether you can you afford to start at a very low salary where the only perk is that you have a foot in the door of your dream industry
  • The reputation of the organisation. Can the people interviewing you give examples of the way they treat their staff/customers/clients? You want to work for an employer that values and respects you.
  • Whether you would prefer to do an apprenticeship or work placement instead of full-time work. There are many types of jobs available and all have pros or cons depending on your goals and life situation.

Be prepared to start at the bottom if necessary

Even if you are well-suited to a role you are going for, and you ace the interview, with little experience you are likely to start in a junior role.

When you’re in the interview, ask your prospective employer if there will be opportunities to progress within the organisation.

If the role offers limited progression, you will have to decide whether the short-term experience gained is worth it, or whether you should search for a job that offers development opportunities.

This is where work placements can be handy. You can work for a company for a short amount of time and see whether you like it.

The Bucks Skills Show 2019

One great way to find potential new jobs is to visit a jobs fair, and in Buckinghamshire we have one of the best jobs and skills shows in the country.

Last year’s Bucks Skills Show saw over 100 exhibitors in attendance, with local and national employers meeting nearly 3,000 parents and young people on the day. In addition, 10 high profile guest speakers from a range of industries shared their stories and advice.

The feedback from last year’s event was awesome:

  • 98% of people rated the exhibitors ‘excellent’ or ‘good’
  • 100% of people thought the speakers were informative
  • 95% of people thought the speakers were inspiring

General admission, school and group tickets for the Bucks Skills Show will be available soon. All tickets are free. Check back at for more information.