Tips to Help With Your First Job Search

Nancy Anderson
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As a new job seeker, it can be challenging to put together application materials, focus on resume writing and network when you are not sure how to begin the job search. The key to a successful search is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and showcasing these details when applying for positions. Strengthen your job-seeking skills with these tips to maximize your time and effort.

Create Goals

It doesn't have to be the start of a new year for you to make a list of professional goals. Focus on goals specifically related to your job search. For example, jot down where you want to see yourself professionally in five or 10 years to visualize success during the search. Explore your ideal career, and detail steps you need to take to gain a position in this field. Create short-term goals that keep you on track. List how many positions you plan to apply for within each week, and monitor your progress consistently.

Determine Steps

A successful job search depends heavily on the steps you take to accomplish your career goals. After determining where you want to be professionally in the short term and long term, jot down the steps you need to get there. Make a list of companies you have researched that possess similar values to your own. Research the culture of each company to find a good fit. Network with individuals in the field, or engage with a mentor to further explore the steps to get your foot in the door.

Polish Your Resume

Resume writing is a crucial task of the job search. Before writing, brainstorm your key skills, strengths and experience. Avoid focusing on the skills or experience you are lacking. Instead, get creative by tapping into volunteer experience, internships and hands-on educational experience. Format your resume so it is easy for hiring managers to scan and read. Proofread thoroughly to enhance your credibility when applying for positions. Hiring managers seek applicants who can briefly and concisely show they are a solid fit for the open position. Spend time researching the company and the job description. Pull keywords from the description to use in your resume in order to help highlight relevant skills and experience.

Craft a Cover Letter

Although some applicants claim cover letters are no longer necessary, it is in your best interest to provide one regardless of whether it is requested by a potential employer during your job search. This introductory letter allows you to expand upon information in your resume, and highlight personality traits, values and additional skills in line with what the company is seeking in a qualified candidate.

The job search is often a challenging time, especially when you are unsure how to begin. Take the time necessary to research companies you admire, write and revise your application materials, and network with professionals in the field to increase your opportunities.


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