How I Got My First Job at 18

One of my summer goals was to get a job so that I can be productive during my 5 month summer while making money.

Once I got the opportunity to work, all I can say is that nothing prepared me for it.

Here I will be talking about the job hunting process and my first working experience. There will also be experiences from other people (Bianca, Marti & Nian) who had summer jobs as well at the end of this post!

Also read: 10 lessons I learned from my first job


Months before my summer vacation began I already had a job opportunity to work for my aunt. She does training seminars so she said I can help create her presentations and potentially join her seminars to assist.

This did not happen. I think she took a break from the seminars, so she didn’t need help anymore. Bummer 😦

Then I got to talk to someone who works for 51Talk (a site that teaches English online, a home based job) and she highly recommended for me to apply as well. I read reviews about them (a lot of pros and cons) and eventually filled out their online application form. When I got to the end it asked for a resume.

Ummm, wala po akong resume?? How do you even make one??


So I googled “what to put in your resume” and followed the many available templates. Here’s the following information I put:

Full name
Home address
Contact details (cellphone, telephone, e-mail)
Gender, age, birthday
2×2 photo
Photo of a valid ID
Experience (majority of it was my service in YFC)
Achievements and awards
Computer skills

I formatted my resume on MS Word, filled out 51Talk’s online application once more and attached my first ever resume. They said they would e-mail me if I’ve been accepted.

Read: Making a visual resume

I never got an e-mail. I’m assuming it was because I’m only a high school graduate, I probably didn’t have enough credentials to teach English online. So plan B failed and I had to think of another way to get a job.


I have a friend (Sofia) who got a job as a teacher assistant at Kumon (read her experience here). She really went job hunting and luckily Kumon had an opening. She said that she checked papers and didn’t really teach that much— it was pretty chill. So I thought, “Ok, I’ll apply to tutorial centers and pre-schools. I’m good with just checking papers.”

I made a list of tutorial centers/small schools in Better Living, Parañaque and asked the YFC-Zobel community if they knew any centers in the Alabang area.

I printed out my resume and for 2 days (June 1-2) I gave them out to tutorial centers and small schools around Better Living and Alabang.

Below are the centers I went to. I went to a total of 14 centers, 11 of them accepted my resume (bold text) and only 2 of them called me back (bold + highlighted text).

Tutorial centers

I received the 2 calls on June 3, just a day after I submitted my resume. The first one, Number Works’nWords, only had an opening in their Serendra branch. I couldn’t take it because it was too far. The second one, Thinking Hats, asked me if I was interested— of course I said yes! The only problem was that I was going to be out from June 4-12, so I couldn’t start right away. They told me to text them again on June 13 if I’m still interested in working for them.

June 13 (Monday) comes and I text them that I’m still interested. They (finally) reply and tell me to go to the center for an interview.


Omigad, may job interview na ako. How do u do dis??

     Tip: Wear nice clothes and low heels. Also, don’t be on time— be early.

I arrive (early) and the owner calls me in for the interview. I didn’t expect it to be so light, she asked me normal questions like how I’ll get to work, if I can come in on Saturdays, etc. We also connected because before starting Thinking Hats she worked at DLSZ for a long time. We ended the interview and I left with a good feeling about it.

I told my mom about the interview and mentioned that the owner told me to bring baon since food at Commerce Center’s expensive. After saying that she told me that I probably got the job.

Weh di nga?

Tip: If your job interviewer talks about the lifestyle and culture in the work place, chances are they’ll get you. My mom said (as an employer and employee) that they wouldn’t ask that if they had no interest in hiring you.

Syempre ayaw ko naman umasa na kukunin nila ako (pero umasa pa rin ako).


The wait sucked, sabi nila na they’ll text me if I got it or not— Tuesday ng gabi na tapos wala pa rin. Anuna huhu 😦

6:40PM (Tuesday, June 14) I finally receive the text.


Hay salamat nagreply din sila!! You can only imagine the joy I felt after landing my first job. After the hunt and chase, I’m finally going to begin.


I get to Thinking Hats and the owner talks to me about what type of work I’ll be doing. I applied to be a teacher assistant (taga-check ng papers, typist— yung madaling trabaho, chill lang) but she goes ahead and tells me that I will be the secretary and receptionist of the tutorial center.

It sounded like I was not qualified enough but of course I agreed to the job description, I was just happy to actually be working! After my talk with the owner she directs me to their current secretary (the one I’ll be replacing since she’s pregnant and leaving to study) and the turnover begins.

It was a good thing my dad told me to bring a notebook to work.

Tip: Have a notebook with you to write down all the things you need to remember about your work. Ex: Procedures, program rates, roles of everyone in the office, etc. If I didn’t have a notebook, I’d have a harder time remembering everything. Also, I get to review the procedures I learned after.

The turnover was a huge information overload— I was so overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to handle. The following is what a secretary/receptionist at the tutorial center does:

  • Check the DLSZ notes and homework site, print out the new posts and write down upcoming tests (daily)
  • Update their student and teacher database on Excel (daily)
  • Text parents about the remaining hours in their program, also if they have balance
  • Answer phone calls, texts and inquiries from parents/students
  • Schedule the students, making sure there’s a teacher available
  • Schedule on-call teachers
  • Accept payments, issue receipts (cash, check, credit card)
  • Update their financial records (hard and soft copy)
  • Handle cash (from the business and petty)
  • Issue check and petty cash vouchers
  • File receipts from expenses
  • Communicate to the owners and accountant about their bills and expenses (monthly)
  • Type worksheets
  • Print worksheets
  • Photocopying

Grabe, nosebleed ako after the secretary taught me all of that. June 15 was actually her last day, so our turnover was only a day. That made me extremely nervous because I’ll be facing the next day all by myself already.


Processed with VSCO
With Yanna and her GR6 students

I worked from 9:30AM – 5PM from Monday to Friday and sometimes Saturdays (omigad I hate working on a Saturday) and my salary was PhP 7,000 per month.

For the first week I came home with a headache, exhausted from a day’s work. I didn’t realize how tiring it was, it’s completely different from being a student and just sitting inside a classroom.

What made it difficult was that I had no muscle memory of what I was doing. Each task I did had to be well thought of because I was unfamiliar with the procedures. Also, there are a lot of variables in their business that constantly shift. For example, not all teachers are available at certain dates; or when a student suddenly shows up without notice. These variables make each situation unique and make no day the same. Unlike when in a classroom you’re faced with the same schedule each week with only minimal variables to account for. And you just have to sit there with a choice to absorb the information or not, but here you have to absorb or else you’ll get lost. Mamaya magkamali ka pa haha.

Come the second week I get a better hold of things and I gain muscle memory of what I was doing. Sabi nga ng co-workers ko “sa umpisa lang yung pagod, masasanay ka din kasi paulit-ulit lang yan. Mamaya nga magsasawa ka na eh haha.” True enough, totoo yung sinabi nila. For example, at first I had a really hard time getting familiar with all the parents and students coming in. I’d have to ask a co-worker “Umm, sino yung bagong pumasok?” But after a few weeks I’ve memorized their face, name, grade level, their teacher and the subject they usually come for.

After each week that passed, I began to dread the work more and more. When it got tough I’d tell myself “Riah, ginusto mo ito.” Even though I didn’t enjoy it, I’d rather work than stay at home for the rest of summer. So I endured the long, long 2 months. It was a countdown up until my last day. I’d tell my co-workers “3 weeks nalang! 13 more working days!” and I’d have the biggest smile on my face because the thought of “freedom” excited me more than anything.

I know I sound like I hated every moment of it, but I honestly wouldn’t trade the “pain” I felt in that experience for anything else. I wrote a post on the lessons I learned from my first job, and I can really say that I’ll be taking those lessons with me.

In the post I say that the experience was painful, but it was the good kind of pain. It’s the kind of pain that tests your endurance and patience, and after it all you just know that you can handle more “pain” in the future because you got through it.

Read: 10 lessons I learned from my first job

I encourage you to find a summer job because it will definitely teach you lessons that you can’t learn inside the classroom. It will give you practical experience and exposure to the “real world”. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone, it’s an amazing opportunity to grow!

That ends my story telling, and now to share some the experiences of other people who had summer jobs as well!

“Since the academic school year for college changed, my batch graduated and started summer at March and will start school in DLSU at September. My parents (and even I) did not want to let me have too much idle time, so they decided to help me find a job to keep me busy during the summer.

My dad was able to contact one of our family members that worked from Hermès Manila and was able to find an opportunity for me to work as an intern in the PR & Marketing department and agreed to work for them for 3 months.

What I did in those 3 months is help my coworkers to catch up on small tasks that they were not able to do in the past. For the PR side, I constantly did research and updates on local and foreign places and resorts, help canvass on different gift packaging, update on the company’s competitors’ updates. For the marketing side, they asked me to look at monthly magazines and daily newspapers to see if there are any clippings on the brand and help contact people to set up events.

The experience was great because I was able to develop good communication with professional people. I learned how to speak and write more properly and address to them what I need and demand for. This is something I’d carry on with me for my everyday life and would help me throughout my career and I hope it would further develop later on.”

– Bianca Benedicto, 18, Communication Arts BS in Advertising Management (DLSU)
Twitter / Instagram

“Endless searching online, inquiring at stores and emailing companies only to get “no”s takes a toll on your determination to make your summer productive. After a long search for internships that allowed minors to apply, one of my mom’s friends suggested applying for an internship at Swim Phils Inc., a corporation that handles brands such as TOMS, Nothing but H20 and Anemone Swimwear. The main thing that made me want to apply for the company was that I always admired the advertising and marketing of TOMS and Nothing but H2O and I was curious about the brains behind it.

The first thing I did was email the company and asked if they still offered summer internships, it made me really nervous especially because they always say first impressions matter to a company. I was contacted by their HR Head after 2 weeks and it was the longest 2 weeks of my life. The next day, I went to their office, realized I forgot my printed copy of my resume (DO NOT FORGET THIS) and just went in for the interview. To be honest, I already had a bad feeling and prepared myself for the worst cause I started on the wrong foot. Nonetheless, I did my best to show the company why I wanted to take this internship and that I was willing to learn about anything they’d assign me. Thankfully, they messaged me later that afternoon if I could come in the following day to help prepare for their upcoming event.

I went in for the internship to help prepare and plan for their One Day Without Shoes at Westgate, Alabang and the TOMS x Adora Pop Up Launch in Greenbelt. As someone who’s new to the job, I had the mindset to make sure everything I did, I did it right. I spent most of my time along with another intern and we were welcomed by the heads with open arms. A lesson I learned that I now think one should never forget is that it is okay to ask questions. I was clueless as to what I specifically had to do and conscious as to making it a certain way but asking never hurts anyone- it always makes you better in the long run.”

– Martina Serrano, 17, BS Communications Technology Management (AdMU)
Marti 2

““Hi po, welcome to McDonald’s!” I got a job as a Service Crew member at my father’s classmate’s Mcdo franchise. However, this was only a referral and I still had to go through the whole employment process — from the interview all the way to submitting government documents (SSS, PhilHealth, PAG-IBIG, etc.). I work at the counter but I started out cleaning, manning the fries station, and making drinks and desserts. It was a very fulfilling to experience life and work from the perspectives of my fellow crew members and endearing with how everyone made me feel that I am part of the McDo family. They taught me how important it is to never belittle people and also the proper approach of how to get along with different types of people I may encounter.”

 – Nian Sayoc, 18, Applied Financial Economics &  Applied Corporate Management (DLSU)

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Special thanks to the following people:

Bianca, Marti and Nian for sharing your summer job experience in this post,
YFC-Zobel for referring tutorial centers in Alabang,
Thinking Hats for the opportunity to work for and with you (Thank you Mrs. Riel, Sir Ariel, Tay Fern, Ma’am Helen, Bianca, Princess, Lyn, Kenneth, Camil, Yanna and Ellysa),
and thank you for reading this post!

Featured photo by Crew


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