Tips For the First Time Job Seeker

Nancy Anderson
Posted by in Career Advice

The thought of finding your first professional job might overwhelm you, especially if you're fresh out of college and have minimal job experience. There's no need to worry, however. Most companies offer entry-level jobs designed for people with very little experience, and landing one requires the same amount of effort as landing a mid-career or high-level position. If you're a first-time job seeker, follow these tips to help you get started.

Connect With Others in Your Field

Whether you're still in school or just out of college, you must make a continuous effort to meet individuals in your field. Most of the professionals you meet through networking know what it's like to be at the beginning stages of a career and are likely to give you tips and insight into the industry that can help you during your job search. You can also meet other entry-level job seekers through networking, and they can provide you with names of companies that hire interns, details for upcoming job fairs and other information that can help you land an entry-level position. Join professional organizations and school clubs within your industry, and attend events regularly to expand your contact list.

Ask Questions

Learn as much as you can about your industry, and always jot down questions that others can answer for you at school-based or professional events. At school-based events, seek out alumni who have the type of job you want, and ask them questions about what it takes to be successful in your field. Inquire about their career trajectory, and ask questions that can help you determine what worked for them. Do the same at professional networking events, and don't be afraid to approach mid-level or top-level professionals who are in charge of filling entry-level jobs.

Try not to bombard anyone with a barrage of questions at a social event. Instead, work these questions into casual conversation as you work the room. Before job interviews, always prepare a short list of job- or industry-related questions to ask recruiters, as this is a surefire way to demonstrate genuine interest in a position and increase your chance of getting an entry-level job.

Maintain Exceptional Hard and Soft Skills

Because entry-level job seekers don't have much experience, they must heavily rely on their hard and soft skills to impress recruiters. Most entry-level jobs require a certain level of proficiency in hard skills such as writing or the ability to use specific software programs. Demonstrate these abilities by making sure your resume and cover letters are flawless, and create a portfolio that demonstrates your proficiency in popular programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Make sure your soft skills are also demonstrated and communicated during social activities and interviews. Always be personable, maintain good communication, and make sure you appear comfortable in professional and social settings.

To shorten your first job search, maintain connections with individuals in your field while continuously developing your hard and soft skills. Your network of associates can help you get your foot in the door, but it's also important to be professional, confident, skilled and likable if you want to increase your chance of landing your first entry-level job.

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