Getting a job

Support with finding a job

There are lots of different ways to find job opportunities in and around Northamptonshire.

  • Prospects is the careers service for young people in Northamptonshire, helping young people with their career ideas and the next steps after GCSEs and post-16 education.
  • The National Careers Service offers advice and tips for looking for job, networking and recruitment agencies.
  • Bright Futures gives you fresh insight into career, training and apprenticeship opportunities available in Northamptonshire.
  • Careers Gateway brings together thousands of useful links for finding out about careers and higher education choices.
  • Employment4Students support students in Northampton looking for part time jobs over the summer, Christmas, Easter holidays or during term time.
  • Employment and Disability Service will be able to support you in many different ways. From assisting you in completing job application forms and how to prepare for an interview, through to helping you plan your travel arrangements to work.
  • LIVE Learning, Independence, Volunteering and Employment encourage people with a learning or physical disability, in Northamptonshire, to live independently, find employment or volunteer in the community.

Applying for a job

When you are applying for a job you are essentially selling yourself to potential employers. First impressions really count and so you need to make sure that you present yourself well from the outset. This applies to both a job application and an interview.

  • Writing CVs and cover letters – this will be a potential employer’s first impression of you and needs to be professional and represent certain skills matching the job you are applying for.
  • Help with application forms – some jobs require you to complete an application form and this can be daunting. It is useful to get practice on how to complete these forms as they will ask similar questions.
  • Job interview – this can be a scary experience, but you need to set a good first impression in terms of dress, being prepared, getting to know the business and staying calm.
  • Getting work experience – if you are looking to work in a specific sector, it may help you to complete some work experience. This is unpaid but it can help you learn certain skills. Many young people end up working for a company they have done work experience with after setting a good first impression.
  • Job clubs – regular job clubs take place in several libraries across the county. Anyone is welcome to drop in or book an appointment to see a trained careers advisor​.

Contracts of employment

Your employer normally has an obligation to provide you with a written statement of the terms and conditions of your employment within about 2 months of your start date. This usually forms your contract of employment, and can be quite long and full of legal wording, but it is needed as it sets out your and your employer's duties, rights, responsibilities and conditions.

GOV.UK has more information on understanding a contract and what your rights are.

Zero hours contracts

A zero hours contract is a contract between an employer and a worker where:

  • your employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours
  • you are not obliged to accept any work offered

Zero hours contracts have been given a bad reputation but there are times where they are useful: they can give you lots of flexibility about where and when you work; e.g. if you are studying and you sometimes need time to concentrate on your college or university. 

It can be difficult to budget on a zero hours contract as you have no guarantee of work or income, which can be especially difficult if you are dependent upon it as your only source of income. The law prevents employers from enforcing 'exclusivity clauses' in a zero hours contract. This means you could have a zero hours contract with more than one employer.


Top tip: don’t wait for jobs to be advertised! Estimates suggest that around 80% of vacancies are never publicised. Send your CV and a covering letter directly to the HR manager of the company you are interested in, outlining your skills and experience. [Source: Jobsite