7 Steps To Landing Your First Job


College seniors are busy finishing up their final year of studies, trying to complete important course work and getting the best grades possible. Next summer is expected to be a challenging time for new graduates when they look for jobs as the economy isn’t expected to begin its recovery until later in the year at the very soonest.

Starting Your Job Search Now

Job Interview

Most definitely, preparing to search for a job now can take off much of the pressure later, giving savvy candidates a leg up in a competitive market. Let’s take a look at some ways you can prepare now to land your first job come May 2009 when you finish school.

1. Draft Your Resume – If you haven’t made your first resume yet, then go ahead and begin working on one as soon as possible. Your college and career office can help you out, but samples of resumes can be found online, especially those for new college graduates. Model your resume based on what a recent grad’s resume looks like – heavy on the academics, light on the job experience. Use spell check and let a grammar pro review your draft.

2. Seek Out References – Likely, there are at least two or three people who know you very well, professors, faculty members, and others in a position of authority who can attest to your character and share just how well you would work for a company. Ask them to write a generic letter of recommendation on your behalf and be willing to be one of three people who can be contacted by potential employers when you begin to interview.

3. Send Out Feelers – You may not be ready to apply for work right now, but you can use this time to inquire about what jobs are out there. Find people in your field who are already working at the companies that interest you and ask them for help. You’ll be networking all of your life anyway – why not get started now?

4. Update Your Online Presence – Only you know what you’ve posted online and where, at least you hope that you do. Google your name and pull up every social media site (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, etc.) where you’ve posted your profile, left comments, or participated in any way. Objectively screen what you’ve written from the eyes of an employer – how will they perceive your profile and other information about you? Delete or update inaccurate or embarrassing information about yourself. Remember: internet archives can contain potentially damaging information that you’ll never get rid of. Be prepared to answer tough questions about your internet activity if that subject comes up.

5. Attend Job Fairs – By early Spring, companies should be visiting your campus in search of new hires. You’ll want to attend all job fairs with fresh copies of your resume in hand. Also, attend job fairs off campus, those not sponsored by your school. The more people you talk with, the better you’ll do when a real interview opportunity comes up. Build your contact base up with every visit; collect business cards and make sure you have cards of your own to pass out.

6. Start Interviewing – The moment an opportunity arises where you can be interviewed for a job, take advantage of it — even if you have no plans to take the job. You’ll be able to practice your interviewing skills, learn something about the company, and maybe even discover another position from that firm that hasn’t been posted yet.

7. Weigh Offers – If you got started early, you have an edge on other job seekers who waited until well into the Spring semester to start looking for work. You are at a distinct advantage, especially if you have a solid resume and interview well – expect multiple offers and weigh each one carefully. Don’t expect to work at your chosen company for the rest of your life, but do expect to stay there at least long enough to rise up through the ranks and to build up your resume.

Finally, in order to keep track of everything related to finding work, prepare a spreadsheet outlining each step and plug in important dates (eg., campus interviews, job fairs, deadlines) to stay on top of everything. The better you’re prepared for the next step in life – your career – the more likely you’ll succeed at what you do.

Adv. — Is your family experiencing a financial shortfall this academic year? Scholarships, grants, 529 money, and part time work may not be enough. Learn about private student loans by visiting SayStudent.com, your portal for college financial assistance. We have free tools for your download and updated information about current college financing requirements.


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Categories: Career Planning