10 min czytania 11 July 2023

First job – what do you need to know?

When you start your first job, you face a new chapter full of challenges but also countless opportunities. It’s a crucial moment that requires proper preparation and acquiring the necessary knowledge. First job – what do you need to know before you start? Where and how do you find your first job? What does a first job teach you? How do you prepare your CV to look for your first job? We answer the questions in the article below.

first job


First job – what do you need to know?

The first job is usually taken during the course of studies or as a young secondary school graduate. Work experience is most often gained through side jobs, internships or apprenticeships. When taking up a job for the first time, the employee should familiarise him/herself with labour law and the Labour Code. A person entering the labour market for the first time should be aware of the rights and obligations of the employee and the employer. It can be difficult to find a good offer through lack of experience and a rich CV. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare yourself as well as possible for starting work.

First job – general rules for entering into a contract

When you are preparing to enter into your first employment contract, there are a few general principles to consider. Here are some tips that may help you:

To start employment, it is necessary to sign a contract. Without this, the work is illegal. Once the first contract is signed, an employment relationship as defined by the Labour Code is established.

The signing of the contract should take place at the latest on the day the work starts.

The contract should be carefully read and analysed. Pay attention to the rate, written obligations, deadlines and general rights.

In order to sign the contract, you will need the following information: your name, date of birth, home address, pesel number, identity card or other proof of identity, payment account number and, if you are a student, your student card number.

First job – types of contract

The provisions of the Labour Code define 5 types of employment contract:

  • Employment contract for an indefinite period – This is the most common type of employment contract, which provides stability of employment for an indefinite period. The employee and the employer agree on the basic terms of employment, such as salary, working hours and other contractual conditions.
  • Fixed-term employment contract – The contract is for a specific period of time, which may be determined by seasonal needs, time projects or other factors. The terms of employment, such as salary and working hours, are set out in the contract.
  • Probationary employment contract – This is an employment contract that allows the employer and employee a test period to assess mutual fit. The probationary period can vary between contracts and industries, and is a period during which both parties can terminate the contract without lengthy paperwork.
  • Contract of mandate – this is the most common type of contract entered into in a first job. The contract is between a principal and a contractor who undertakes a specific task or service. Under a contract of mandate, the principal specifies the scope of work and remuneration, but there is no direct supervision of how the contractor performs the task
  • Work contract – Defined as a contract under which one party (the contractor) undertakes to perform a specific intellectual or physical work and the other party (the principal) undertakes to pay for the work performed.

In your first job, you will probably get a contract or a probationary contract.

First job and salary

Depending on the type of job, the salary can vary. However, you usually get the national minimum wage for your first job, which increased from PLN 3490 to PLN 3600 from July 2023. The hourly rate has increased from PLN 22.80 gross to PLN 23.50 gross. If you are a student or still studying and you are under 26 years old, the gross rate is net for you.

According to the Labour Code, wages should be paid at least once a month. It can also be daily and weekly. The date on which you are paid, should be included in your contract and you must comply with it. Usually, payment appears on the 10th of the month, but some workplaces offer the beginning or end of the working month.

For your first job, you should know that the employer cannot go below the rates set by the government. If he proposes a lower national rate, you cannot agree to such conditions. Such behaviour by the employer is punishable.

As of 2019, there is an obligation to pay your salary into a bank account. However, if you wish to receive the amount in cash, you must make an appropriate application to your employer.

It is important to remember that you should be paid for every day you work. This means that if you are invited to a trial day, the employer should pay for it.

Read also: Working for minors – so where to work before the age of 18?

first job

First job – annual leave

In your first year of employment, you acquire the right to annual leave after working for one month. In your first job, you acquire leave only if you have an employment contract. The amount of leave depends on the length of service worked. Your first job entitles you to 20 days’ holiday per calendar year (with less than 10 years’ seniority). For longer seniority, these are 26 days per calendar year.

It is important to remember that education also counts towards seniority:

  • basic vocational school – no more than 3 years count towards seniority
  • secondary vocational school – 5 years
  • secondary vocational school for graduates of basic vocational schools – 5 years
  • general secondary school – 4 years
  • post-secondary school – 6 years
  • higher school – 8 years

Leave is calculated in proportion to working hours. One day of paid leave is equal to 8 hours of work, so if you work part-time, you are entitled to 10 days of leave per calendar year.

Important! You must notify your employer of your leave in good time. They must give their approval for the date you are interested in.

If you are taking up your first contract job, then unfortunately you are not entitled to annual leave.

Starting your first job – what do you need to know?

During the first few days at work, the new employee will become familiar with the company and his/her duties. The employer is obliged to train him/her in health and safety – that is, in health and safety at work. Such training will be adapted according to the job. In the case of a first job, a medical examination will be available to confirm that there are no contraindications to work (depending on the type of work involved).

Certain formalities are imposed on the employer by the Labour Code, which requires him to keep time records and personnel files. It is also his duty to report each employee to social security within seven days of employment. If he fails to do so, he can be fined up to PLN 5,000.

If you have any problems with your employer, you can report him to the PIP – that is, the State Labour Inspectorate, which checks compliance with labour law in companies and institutions.

Read also: A difficult boss – how to deal with him?

first job

First job and notice period

The notice period depends on the type of contract signed. Most often, you get a probationary contract in your first job. In this case, the notice period is:

  • 3 working days – if the probationary period does not exceed 2 weeks
  • one week – if the trial period is longer than 2 weeks
  • 2 weeks – if the trial period is 3 months

In the case of an employment contract for a fixed or indefinite period, the notice period depends on the length of employment:

  • employment of less than 6 months – notice is 2 weeks
  • employment of at least 6 months – notice of termination is one month
  • employment of at least 3 years – notice is 3 months

It is important to remember that the notice period is normal working time during which you must perform all your duties. You are entitled to be paid for them and the employer can dismiss the employee by disciplinary action at any time.

Where can you find your first job?

The first job can be found at the employment office. Usually, however, for the first job, generation Z looks for employment on the internet. There you can find specific job offers tailored to the needs of young people. Usually, young workers are looking for a side job or seasonal work, where they can earn some money during school/study or holidays. They are looking for jobs in catering, warehousing, production, stock-taking and as freelancers. Finding your first job can be difficult because you do not have any work experience, which is very important for many employers. For more serious jobs, related to a specific education, it is advisable to undertake internships or apprenticeships, which will help you gain any experience.

Where to find your first job?

  • Job centre
  • social media (e.g. thematic groups)
  • among family and friends
  • job portals
  • employment agencies
  • school or university – often such institutions have various kinds of collaborations with potential jobs. They may have information about available job opportunities or graduate support programmes.

How do you find your first job?

First experience can be hard to come by, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s worth preparing properly for your job search. How to do it step by step?

  • Identify your goals – think about what position and industry interests you. Defining your career goals will help you focus on relevant job offers.
  • Take care of your online image – it is very important to check how we appear online. An employer may want to see us beforehand. Check your Google image and profile on social media. Also create a profile on LinkedIn and build your image as a professional there.
  • Develop your skills – increase your chances of finding a job by developing skills related to the industry you would like to work in. You can attend online courses, workshops, apprenticeships or earn certifications related to your field of interest.
  • Prepare professional application documents – a good CV and cover letter are the key to success. They are the first information an employer receives, so it is worth preparing them decently.
  • Prepare for interviews – research the companies you are applying to and prepare for interviews. Preparing the right questions and presenting your skills can help you stand out from other candidates.

For many people, their first job is a big challenge, but it is also stressful. However, this should not be discouraged. This is the moment when you not only gain work experience, but also develop soft skills such as stress management, time management and teamwork. Despite the initial difficulties, a first job can open the door to many opportunities and lay the foundation for a future career. It is important to be open to new challenges, proactive in learning and developing, and appreciate every opportunity to learn new skills. Whatever the challenge of your first job, it is worth remembering that it is part of our journey to career success. With determination, commitment and a positive attitude, you can overcome any obstacles and embark on a rewarding career.

If you are looking for a job get in touch with us! We are a professional employment agency that will be happy to help you find your first job! Check out our current job vacancies.

Check also: Job interview – how to prepare?