How Did You Land Your First Job?

Nancy Anderson
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CareerBuilder reached out to its social media followers to find stories about how people landed a position as their first job. Although it's great to hear tips, tricks, strategies and practical ways to find employment, sometimes it's just a good thing to hear how others accomplished this feat in the past as you gear up for seeking your very first professional opportunity.


Sometimes, it just takes a little effort to reach out to the right people to find your first job. Fast food places often have times set aside for candidates to come in, fill out an application, talk to the hiring manager, and then get to work a few minutes later. Most states let you start working at age 15 or 16.

Seasonal work also comes into play, such as mowing lawns, becoming a lifeguard at the local pool or working at ballparks and recreational leagues. Summer job fairs are great places to discover a first job, and like at a restaurant, all you have to do is show up and present yourself your well to land a position. These types of jobs are usually entry-level positions, and often barely above minimum wage, but you have to start somewhere.


You might have a father, mother, older sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent or cousin who works for a company that needs new workers. Whether you start at 16 or 18, your first job might come from a family connection. There's nothing wrong with hiring family members, even if it's in the same department.

There are several scenarios that can happen here. One of your family members might own a business. A relative might know the hiring manager or encourage you to seek employment in a certain department. You still might have to go through official channels to land a position, but having a family member back you up is a good thing because that person knows what it's really like to work for a particular employer. You get firsthand knowledge and insider information without any sugar-coating or holding back, which is a good thing in terms of realistic expectations.

Hiring Programs

Hiring programs may occur through a high school or junior college. These programs put hiring managers in front of students and make connections. Employers can bring applications, and then pass on someone's name to human resources. It's like a recruiting event at a high school that seeks to get teenagers interested in thinking about their future.

Practical Strategies

If you're thinking about getting a first job, employ some practical strategies. Figure out your goals and recognize this is just the initial step of your professional life. Practice writing your cover letter, and fill out a resume with your skills and accomplishments. Even if you don't have references yet, ask your teachers, school counselors and even your high school principal for a reference. These people can help get the ball rolling for your career.

Your first job probably isn't going to be glamorous, but at least it's a beginning to your professional life. Remember it is just the primary step on the way to something better as you hone your skills and get used to putting in hours for a real-world position.

Photo courtesy of Mr. Blue MauMau at


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