Landing Your First Job

Finding a job after you finish school can be stressful - but the process helps you get to know yourself!

By FamilyTime


Your college campus has disappeared over the horizon and the real world awaits you. Securing a job -a "real job," not a summer job or part-time gig - is next on the agenda. But how do you go about it?

What Do You Want To Do?
Now it's time to answer the question you've been hearing all your life: What do you want to do?

Take stock of your strengths, abilities, preferences, and dreams.

Ask yourself questions such as these:

  • Do I want to live in a city or sburb?
  • Do I want to work in a large office?
  • Do I want to work five days a week?
  • Do I want a job that allows for flexible hours?
  • Do I need a large benefits package?
  • Do I like to work as part of a team?
  • Do I prefer working alone?

Think about what you dreamed of being when you were little. While the notion of being an astronaut or farmer may not be viable at this time in your life, push your thinking to discover what these choices said about you.

Do you like excitement and adventure? Do you like working outdoors and with your hands? What jobs meet these requirements?

How Do I Begin?
The first step, once you have decided on a field to pursue, is to write a résumé. There are numerous books and Web sites with advice on writing a sharp, clear résumé and it's important to follow good advice. Don't wing it here - a poorly written one will get you nowhere!

Read the want ads in newspapers and on-line. Buy or borrow professional journals in fields you are like and check out their want ads.

Contact your college alumni office. Many colleges offer services to help grads put their education to work.

If you sign up with an employment agency, make it very clear what you are looking for. Don't refuse to take typing or other tests. Return phone calls, arrive at interviews on time, and keep the agency apprised of your progress. But remember: the agency works for the client, not for you.

Tell everyone you know you are looking for a job. Word of mouth is a valuable tool, and you never know where it will lead.

Follow up every lead. Show interest, but don't dog someone if it becomes clear the offer for help was not genuine.

Keep track of where and to whom you send your résumé. Do this in an orderly notebook or file. In the beginning this may seem dumb, but the file will grow and all your notes, dates, and contact names and numbers will be extremely useful.

Don't Lose Faith
Even the most promising and confident young person gets turned down for a job. Remember that this rarely is personal.

If you face disappointment, give yourself a day or two off; have fun. But then pick up where you left off. A job won't come to you, but if you put yourself out there, you will find one. It may be the perfect fit, or it may a stepping stone to a better one.

Believe in yourself, stay positive, and thank everyone you meet in the process. You never know when your paths will cross again.