The Best Tips for Getting Your First Job

After a grueling finals week, days of graduation festivities, and a stressful move back home with your parents, you’re probably ready to kick your feet up and indulge. But not so fast. It’s time to get a move on because every second you wait, you’re falling behind in the job hunt. Your first real job is likely the hardest one to land, so you’re going to need all the help you can get. Following these tips will make it all a little easier.

Expand Your Horizons

You might have a picture perfect position in your head, but holding out for just one dream job might not be the best route to go. If you see that a reputable company is hiring, don’t write it off. You might be surprised at what you actually qualify for! For example, here is a list of job positions that most people don’t think to look for:

  • Education software promoter
  • Virtual Concierge
  • Procurement Consultant
  • Career Service Job at Your Alma Mater

Of course, there are many others too. The key is to think outside of the box, especially when you are just trying to get on your feet.

Talk to People

Seriously, talk to everyone. The job hunt should always be on your mind. Everyone you know, everyone your parents know and everyone your friends know – they should all be aware that you’re looking for a job. Consider it networking, because that’s exactly what it is. Word of mouth will work more magic than you think, and it could be the key to your future career. The more people you talk to, the more companies become potential opportunities for you. A job opening can pass you by, solely because no one knew you were interested.

Do Your Homework

You just graduated from college, but yes, we are suggesting more homework. As long as you’re currently unemployed, spend your time doing some research. Compare living costs in cities, salary rates and more. If you’re applying out of the area, it’s vital to know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time. You might be offered what seems like an amazing salary until you find out what the rent’s like for the area. Do your research now so you have less to worry about later. It’ll also help to narrow down your target searches.

Get Online

This is for all the truly lazy (and smart) people out there. Getting your resume online is basically like you’re constantly connecting with other professionals. It’s very possible that it’ll actually do all the work for you – that is, if it’s good. Make sure you’re well represented online. Create a LinkedIn profile and get your resume out there on job sites like Monster. Consider making your own online portfolio. There are plenty of free options, like Weebly that look great to employers.

Be Meticulous

Sending out hundreds of resumes and applications means nothing it they aren’t well done. Be extremely mindful of what you put out there. A single typo can cost you the job in the end. Don’t be so rushed that you refuse to proofread or get a second set of eyes to review it for you. Make sure that it’s absolutely perfect.

Be meticulous leading up to and during the interview process too. Ask thoughtful questions and show your potential employer that you have researched them thoroughly. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistakes of the bad interviewee in this video.

Stay Alert

And by that, I mean get alerts. There are tons of job sites that allow you to get personalized alerts sent directly to your email. This means you could wake up to job opportunities every day without having to do any real work. We all know the first thing you do in the morning is check your messages. Take advantage of sites like that allow you to do exactly that for specific places and fields.

Don’t Rush to Accept

After realizing how much work it takes to get a job, you might feel obligated to accept the very first job you’re offered. But remember, you’re starting a career, and you’re going to want to stick with your first job for quite a while. Apply, apply, apply, but don’t feel pressured to accept the first opportunity that comes your way. Make sure you’re sincerely interested in it, because if you’re not, you will be back on the job hunt before you know it.

Be Frugal

In the meantime, save up. Living with your parents is a great way to avoid unnecessary debt and anxiety. Learning to be smart with your finances now is great practice for when you actually get a real job. For now, consider going back to your old summer job and saving as much as you possibly can.

The most important thing is to get started now. Get your name out there to friends and family, create an online portfolio, and get alert sent directly to your phone – and you’re halfway there.

Along the way during your job hunt, you might want help with your finances or with managing your student loans. Be sure to check back to our blog for tips and learn more about our student loan counseling.

Anum Yoon is a personal finance writer and blogger who started and maintains Current On Currency. As a supporter of the sustainability movement, she also frequently writes about how we can help the environment. You can follow her on Twitter to catch her updates.

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