Tips for Your First Job Search

John Krautzel
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As a newcomer to the job market, it's common to feel unsure about how to proceed with your job search. However, with preparation and assistance from professionals or mentors, you can craft a top-quality resume and cover letter and get on track to landing the job you desire. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Offer Consistent Formatting

The look of a professional resume has changed drastically over time and continues to change. Job candidates in creative fields are now finding ways to impress hiring managers with innovative resume formats. The key to success is to remain consistent with your formatting. Line up your text and format all of your information in the same manner. Avoid flashy colors or distracting symbols to ensure potential employers remain focused on your qualifications and skills. Applicants who may lack work experience can get creative by highlighting accomplishments, educational endeavors and even volunteer work completed prior to and during the job search.

2. Proofread Your Documents

Avoid making simple mistakes during your job search that might cause you to miss out on a prime opportunity for employment. Review your cover letter and professional resume multiple times before submitting them to an employer. Read the documents aloud to increase your likelihood of catching errors or ask a mentor or friend to read your documents and provide helpful feedback.

3. Remain Confident

It is common to feel nervous during your job search or during your first job interview. It is crucial to get your nerves under control before meeting with a potential employer. Take a few deep breaths and give yourself a motivating pep talk before walking into the meeting. Show that you are prepared by arming yourself with information about the firm, the firm's successes and the company's mission and goals before the interview date. When you're well prepared, you are more likely to focus on your qualifications versus your nerves.

4. Dress for Success

How you dress can significantly impact your confidence when attending a job interview. Wear professional clothing that is clean and pressed and avoid bright colors or accessories that may prompt you to fidget. Pay close attention to your body language, too. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact often and smile to show that you are eager and positive.

5. Practice Interview Questions

During your job search, set up an appointment with a professional from your college career center or employment office, or meet with a professional mentor to rehearse interview questions well before you are called in for a meeting with an employer. Be creative when detailing your skills, education and work experience so that you do not sound too rehearsed or similar to other candidates and ask for constructive criticism that can help improve your interview performance.

The length of your job search may vary, but you can improve your chances of gaining employment with solid preparation. Learn as much as you can about the industry and company, and when you finally meet with a hiring manager, display professionalism and confidence in your skills and abilities.

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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