10 Tips to Getting Your First Job


The job market is tough, but that’s no reason to dread graduation day. The job search for any recent college grad student is a grueling and up-hill process, but it’s a journey if nothing else. It takes hard work, creativity and some luck to find employment these days, but with these 10 tried and true tips, you’ll be on your way to gainful employment.

Plan for Success

campus interview1. Plan Ahead, Way Ahead – Unlike job markets of generation’s past, you’ll need more than just a degree to find employment. There’s many factors to consider such as internships, networking, and resume-builders that can only be planned over long periods of time. You don’t have to start filling out job applications during your freshman year, but rather, start narrowing your career aspirations ASAP.

2. Informational Interviews – When finding a job, the old “Who you know” adage rings true. Informational interviews allow you to connect with people in the industry while in college. The professionals you meet with offer personal insights into the industry and can then refer you to other openings they come across.

3. Internships – Nothing legitimizes your resume like an internship. An internship in your intended field provides three tangible results that employers want to see:

  • On the job experience & developed skill set
  • A mature, professional approach to work
  • A dedication to the profession

4. Sign Up for Social Media –When you sign up for sites like Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, do so with a purpose and avoid the noisy clutter. Twitter is a valuable research tool when it comes to organizing and culling your network. You can also find jobs advertised on Twitter.

The Job Search

Job hunting takes more than just sending in your resume. You have to prepare yourself from the ground up. The job search is the next area of focus.

5. Optimize your Resume – Although not as important as in years past, the resume can still help you get noticed. The time has come to break the traditional, bland, resume model and show (not tell) potential employers that you’re perfect for the job.

Some strategies for standing out:

6. Scour the web – There are hundreds of thousands of jobs currently listed online. But as we’re all well aware, there are millions of people seeking work right now. Consequently, most Human Resource departments have “hidden” job postings on their company websites or in places where their ideal employee would look:

The Interview

After you crossed off all the steps mentioned earlier, you’ll probably find yourself headed to a few interviews. Congrats!! A successful interview starts with research.

7. Do Your Research – Many businessmen and women are online these days doing the same online networking that you are. Before you head into an interview, see what your interviewers have been up to. If implemented tactfully, these little nuggets of info could help you stand out in the mind of the interviewee.

8. Interview Preparation – There’s no such thing as over-preparing for an interview. Here are some simple things you can do to be ready for the big day:

  • Practice answers to some commonly asked questions
  • Wear a professional, yet comfortable outfit
  • Thoroughly research the position
  • Come up with 5 thought-provoking questions to ask your interviewers

9. Interview Debrief: When you leave an interview, log each question that you felt you could have answered more accurately. You’d be surprised how many questions get repeated from company to company and you’ll want to be ready for the next time.

10. Do the Small Things – Throughout this entire job seeking process, make sure you are doing ALL the small things.

Some examples:

  • Thank you cards for anyone that helps you along the way
  • Follow-ups after every meeting, interview, email, networking event, etc.
  • Follow through with every contact you are given, even if it’s just exploratory
  • Attend local networking events
  • Take notes (Even if you don’t review them later, it shows that you are interested)
  • Be on time for everything! Nothing gets you shut out like tardiness

So there you have it, ten highly actionable strategies to cross off as you go through your job hunt. Be creative and learn from each step along the way.

Some Bonus Strategies:

  • Start an industry-focused blog
  • Operate your own Tumblr
  • Join local business organizations

Case Ernsting is an Marketing Representative and lead blogger for MetaSpring, LLC in Ann Arbor, Michigan. MetaSpring is a digital consultancy for clients both big and small around the country, specializing in web design, development and web marketing.


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Categories: Career Planning