Earning an income is awesome, and not just because it puts money in your pocket. It also gives you a say in where you live and what you do—the perks of being an adult.
It doesn’t matter if you’re finishing school, leaving home, or leaving government care. Your first real job will give you a chance to see what your life could look like. These days, people rarely stay in one job their whole career, so you won’t end up doing the same job forever. But your first job is a gateway—it gives you a chance to learn what you like and what you’re good at while starting to build your resumé.
First things first
Before you start your work search, you should:
- Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Employers and banks will ask for it. To get your SIN, you need a Canadian birth certificate or proof that you’re entitled to be in Canada. Find out how to apply for your SIN.
- Open a bank account. You will need a bank account so you or your employer can deposit your paycheque.
- Decide what kind of work you want. If you don’t know, take the time to learn about career planning.
- Identify what you can offer, including your skills, abilities, experience, and accomplishments. Start with 5 Things to Do in 5 Minutes…to Help You Figure Out Your Career Path.
Not sure how to handle any of the items on this list? Enrol in a job and employment readiness program in the next section.
Job and employment programs
These programs will show you how and where to look for work and how to succeed once you’re hired:
- Alberta Supports—Provides work search and job skills counselling, workshops, job fairs, employer connections, and other job search training and events.
- Employment Services—Offers career exploration, training options, and job listings for Albertans.
- 211 Alberta—The Employment icon links to Job Search Assistance, Youth Employment Programs, and more.
- informAlberta—Starts your search when you type “youth employment” or “youth job programs” into the keyword bar.
- Connections Employment stories—Covers topics like interview skills, resumés, and references.
- How to Get Support as a Youth With a Disability—Discusses the pros and cons of disclosing personal information and accessing accommodation programs.
- How to Get Support as an Indigenous Youth—Lists links to employment, training, job readiness, and more.
Give yourself some time to explore the work search information available here on alis:
- The Work Search Basics Companion Guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough to help you find and apply for jobs.
- Student Job Banks provide internships and entry-level or student-focused jobs in Alberta.
- Don’t forget to plan ahead and work towards a job in your field of study.
Create your own job
If you’re motivated and open to risk, you may want to be self-employed or an entrepreneur. As a young self-starter, you have access to lots of support and funding. The Lean Startup Challenges are an especially good way to check out whether your business idea will work.
Once you’ve found work
To stay successful, keep these points in mind:
- Your social life will change. You now need to commit your time to earning an income. You can’t drop everything for an invitation or stay out all night with friends if you’re due at work the next morning.
- Look after yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, and find healthy ways to relax. You’ll be able to face any challenges at work if you’re feeling good.
- Mind your money. Just because you have an income now doesn’t meant you have to spend it all. Set some aside to pay off student debt or for a fund for travel or better housing. Discover more about learning managing your money.
- Challenges are a chance to learn something new. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, you’re not alone. Ask for help and see if you can develop a new skill or accomplishment.
Landing a first job that you like and can learn from is a great start to building a successful career.