Debbie Steel. Careers Writers Association

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Where to Look for Job Vacancies

Sooner or later your son or daughter will want to find paid work. This might be:

  • a weekend, evening or holiday job to earn some money while they study
  • after finishing school or college
  • as part of their gap-year experience
  • having graduated from university.

Where they look for vacancies will depend on which of the above stages they are at and what type of work they want to do. This article gives an overview of the main vacancy sources. It also provides advice on how young people can make direct contact with potential employers.

Vacancy sources

Employers may advertise jobs directly on their own websites, on noticeboards, in staff newsletters, or even in store windows.

Online recruitment sites – some are linked to recruitment agencies (e.g. Reed and Pertemps) but other major sites just have an online presence (such as CV Library, Indeed, Adzuna and Monster). Some sites, e.g. Prospects, are specifically aimed at graduates and others focus on particular types of careers. Users can usually upload their details and register for job alerts.

Public sector vacancy sites include:

The European Job Mobility Portal allows users to search for jobs in different European countries. 

Social networking sites – vacancies are increasingly being advertised through Facebook and other social networking sites. It’s important that your son or daughter is aware that potential employers may check their online presence, so they should be careful what they post! Sites, such as LinkedIn, have been set up specifically for professional networking; with a professional profile, employers may contact them with opportunities.

Recruitment agencies – some specialise in certain types of jobs (e.g. IT, retail or catering), others have a range of permanent and/or temporary vacancies. The Agency Central website allows users to search for suitable agencies.

Trade and professional bodies – if there's a career area that interests your son or daughter, encourage them to look on the relevant trade/professional body website. They may have to register or become a member to access vacancy listings.

Journals – some are produced by trade/professional bodies or cover a broad area of work (e.g. Nursing Times or Farmers Weekly). As journals advertise vacancies, albeit mainly for qualified staff, it may be worth subscribing for print or online copies. Certain journals are available through newsagents and they can often be read in reference libraries.

Newspapers – daily papers normally have a particular day each week when most jobs are advertised, or when jobs in different sectors are featured. Most local, regional and national newspapers have websites with vacancy pages.

Schools, colleges and careers/Connexions services (where available) may hold lists of vacancies – including Apprenticeships. Jobcentre Plus staff may have information on government-funded training opportunities, and jobs are advertised through Find A Job.

For information on Apprenticeship opportunities, read the Parental Guidance article on Who Offers Apprenticeships?

Making direct contact

Many jobs are not advertised but are filled by people who have made direct contact with the employer. Let your relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues know that your son or daughter is seeking work so that they can alert them to possible opportunities.

Encourage your son or daughter to apply 'on spec' to selected employers in the hope that their details will be held on file and they will be the first to be alerted should a suitable vacancy arise. It shows initiative and determination. If your child has been doing a vocational course, their tutors may know of suitable employers to contact.

A CV should be accompanied by a covering letter or email outlining the kind of vacancy that appeals to your son or daughter and why. Get them to find out the name of the best person in the organisation to send their details, otherwise address to human resources. Alternatively, for more casual work (e.g. babysitting or dog-walking), why not suggest that they put flyers advertising their services through doors?

Find out more

More advice on finding jobs and vacancy search facilities can be found on national careers service websites:

(Note that inclusion of a website in this article does not necessarily imply recommendation.)

© Debbie Steel, July 2019