Whether you’re a recent college graduate or someone who’s embarking on a new career path, landing your first job may take significant time and effort. However, with the proper strategy, work ethic, and mindset, you’ll be well on your way to career success. Your first job may be a position you’ve always dreamed of, or it could be a crucial stepping stone to get you there. Either way, you’ll need to put in the work to get noticed, interviewed, and hired.
- Tailor your resume
Not only does your resume need to be properly organized, formatted, and eye-catching, but it also needs to be tailored to each position you apply to. This means not being lazy and sending the same resume to each employer. Put the effort into researching the employer and what key qualifications they require for their specific position. For example, if a position requires or prefers someone with great organizational skills, be sure to include that on your resume, ideally in a way that demonstrates an accomplishment as a result of that skill. In other words, rather than listing “highly organized” as one of your skills, provide real evidence through example, such as “reconfigured databases resulting in streamlined analytics reporting.” (If you’re interested in professional resume critiques, Nexxt offers resume writing services.)
2.) Get Certified
You may have a great education under your belt, or some impressive work experience, but so does your competition. Add an extra edge to your qualifications with an online certification in your relative area of work. There are several certifications you can acquire online that will bolster your resume, including popular and sought after Google certifications in analytics, adwords, and website optimization. Additionally, if you’re seeking a career in marketing, there are several online digital marketing certifications you can be awarded that are free or relatively cheap, such as the Hubspot inbound marketing certification, Youtube marketing certification, and many more.
3.) Consider an internship
Working for free can be a drag, but it may also be a very necessary step in your career path, especially if your desired position is in a competitive field such as graphic design or advertising. Internships are especially essential if you’re a recent graduate with little experience. Use the internship to learn valuable skills, add work to your portfolio, and make connections with successful people. Many internships also lead to full time positions as well. Internships also allow you to get a feel for a specific industry before you dive into a full-time job. Since internships typically only last 3-6 months, you’ll be able to tap out if you’re not happy with what the job entails without looking like a flake.
Employers are most likely going to look you up online, especially on LinkedIn. Make sure any professional online profiles you maintain are consistent with your resume to avoid confusion, and also that you appear highly professional. Also, make sure that you look professional on any other social media platforms you may use, as there is a chance that employers will view these as well. In other words, try to avoid any pictures of you from Halloween of 2018 (not a good look). Additionally, don’t be afraid to be annoying. Connect with and message as many people as you can who belong to your relevant industry or that you may know through a mutual colleague. Countless positions are awarded through sheer networking and nepotism.
5.) Be persistent
Persevere through the rejections. Landing that first job will most likely be the most difficult step in your career path, especially if you have little experience. The key is to continuously apply and interview without getting discouraged. Keep in mind that once you get the first position, the experience you’ll gain will make subsequent applications easier and easier as you become more and more valuable. Search, apply, interview, reassess, bolster your skill set and repeat until you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. You can do this.