First Things First: Part 1 – Landing Your First Real Job

First Things First: Part 1 – Landing Your First Real Job

Welcome to First Things First! This series will help you prepare for a range of life changes. Think of each installment as an instruction guide that will either give you time to locate a safe landing spot or help you hit the ground running. Each article will contain a handy checklist you can reference so you can remain calm, cool, and in control of whatever life hands you.

First Things First: Part 1 – Landing Your First Real Job

Landing Your First Real Job

The good news is that you’re all grown up, and it’s time to start “adulting.” The bad news is it’s time to start adulting, and you need a career-oriented job to do it.

Maybe that’s not so bad for some tech, business, and medical folks, but others face the Catch 22 of job searching, In short, you need job experience to land a job, but you can’t get job experience until you land a job.

That’s infuriatingly frustrating! But hang on. Let’s just flip the problem over to the employer’s view: If none of the applicants have experience, which ones show the best promise and talent?

If you haven’t found that job, but you know the fish are biting, maybe they don’t like what you’re using for bait.

First Things First: Part 1 – Landing Your First Real Job
Don’t forget to have a good handshake!

Come to think of it, the whole ghastly job-seeking process really is a lot like fishing. You cast your line and wait for a nibble. All the same, you need the right skills, the right location, and the right kind of bait to hook an employer’s interest in YOU. Here’s  how to do that:

1) Detox your FaceBook, Twitter, and other social media pages.

That photo of you in your underwear waving a beer can and explaining the giraffe in the swimming pool to the police? Delete it. Also clean up references or privatize posts about sex, drugs, alcohol, or foul language. All these can destroy your image as a responsible and reliable job candidate.

2) Get on LinkedIn.

Post a headshot of yourself, research and use the right keywords, and include every single proud accomplishment relating to your current job search in your summary.

3) Customize your resume to the position you’re seeking. 

Having a general resume is a good idea, but to find that one perfect job, you want it to shine on your relevant experience, skills, and talents.

4) Embrace the cover-letter-suck. 

Everyone hates writing them, but it’s easier once you understand how they work.

5) Revise, rewrite, and review. 

You might think your cover letter and resume are great. In reality, confusing but the language is, there’s bade speling, and some the words missing. Get a friend or relative to review it with you to make your resume and cover letter as attractive as possible.

6) Look Pro to be Pro. 

Simply put – dress for the job you want and not the one you already have.

7) Learn how to interview.

Statistically, some heads of lettuce do better at job interviews than people who don’t practice their interviewing skills. Learning how to prepare for and perform during a job interview can make all the difference. And feel free to ask your family and friends to help you practice your interviewing skills.

8) Say “Thank You!” 

First Things First: Part 1 – Landing Your First Real Job
In the age of instant communication, a handwritten note makes a very distinct impression.

Send an email or letter to the person who interviewed you thanking them for chance to meet with them. Keep it personal, but also concise and professional.

Good luck on your job search!

Up Next in the First Things First series: Creating a Budget

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Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.