Landing Your First Job


Looking to enter the workforce? Trying to adjust to your first job? Ready to make the most of your paychecks? Finds answers to these and other questions here.

Looking for a job is work. Make sure you work hard at it.

Where do you find jobs, how do you apply for them, and, most importantly, how do you get them? These are tasks that take a lot more work than one thinks.

The more people you know and the more you follow-up on contacts, the greater your options.

While any job that increases your income is probably worth considering, the real challenge is to find a job you really enjoy that pays well.

Get organized.

Finding suitable employment is full time job. Keeping a log helps us organize the job search and remember what is being experienced.

  • Dates
  • Places you go
  • Names of the people you meet
  • Impressions-What Happened?

It’s not just what you know, but who you know.

Humans are afraid of people they do not know and humans take care of their buddies. It has been suggested that as many as 7 out 10 positions are filled through personal contacts. The better the job and the better the pay, the greater the chance it will be offered through a personal contact. If this is true, job seekers would be wise to make a list of every person they know and contact them for assistance finding a job.

After we have exhausted our list of every person we know, if we are still not working, we need to meet more people. Where? Every person you meet may be able to help you find a job. Be nice to people. Get out into your community. Be willing to help others and you may meet someone who can help you. Learn names. Call people by their name. Continue to introduce yourself until you are sure they know who you are.

  • Attend Community Meetings- The most active people are involved.
  • Volunteer- It is good for your soul and you will meet people.
  • Join Clubs-Those who join very often have many other contacts.
  • Visit Places of Business-Find out if there is a potential job.

Know your potential employer’s business.

Whether you go on your own or are sent, the first visit to a prospective employer is a time to collect information.

  • Write down the name of every person encountered. Names are very important.
  • Be observant. What is the company selling? How are they advertising? Are the employees happy on the job? Are they professional? How were you treated? If you have not asked for a job and are not selling anything, then are you not a potential customer? Actually you are shopping for a job and you are trying to determine if this company is worth your effort. Look at their signs. Read their literature. What message is the company sending out to the universe?
  • Ask yourself, "Why do I want to work for this organization?" Newspaper stories or magazines article may be available at the local library. The employer may be in the yellow pages or advertise over the radio or local television. When we can speak intelligently about a place of business, we have given that employer respect. By focusing on the employer we are better able to determine if the company can meet our needs. By focusing on the employer we are displaying interest in the needs of the company.

Make a good first impression. It does count.

If we accept the idea that the hiring process is uncomfortable for both the job seeker and the employer we will take great care in creating a positive image before asking for a job.

Be aware of your appearance. Extremely beautiful people, with charming personalities who smell good, are well groomed and neatly dressed, have little trouble getting job offers. The rest of us should look in the mirror or ask someone we trust for an honest opinion of the image we are projecting. We can determine what outfit to wear by looking at what other employees wear to work. Would not jeans be more appropriate than a blue suit if applying for work on a farm?

Since we can not hide our energy, we would be well advised not to seek opportunities when we are depressed or feeling ill. Smile because happy people get hired faster. Basically, the object is to be yourself. Most employers prefer people who are open, honest and speak straight across, person to person. It is not necessarily the person with the most skills who gets hired. It is a person who the employer likes and believes will fit into the organization. Success in establishing comfort naturally increases with additional visits. The impression is dependant upon how we look, how we feel and also, how we act.

How we fill out an application is as important as the information we put down. We must follow directions, be neat, complete and avoid spelling errors. The complete application is a reflection of how we deal with paper.

Practice makes perfect, or at least good enough to get the job.

Be able to briefly talk about your education, experience and abilities in relationship to the job for which you are applying. Be ready to discuss what you have learned about the company that has motivated you to apply for the job. Practice means saying the words out loud, not to memorize, rather just to have experience saying the words. Thinking about what you will say is not the same as saying what you will say.

Bottom line, employers want people who will come to work on time, every day they are scheduled, who can get along with the other employees and are willing to do the job the way the employer wants it done. In essence, every job requires on the job is training. New employees must learn the rules of the organization and how to get along with the other employees. Every job is hardest at the beginning and gets easier with experience. Saying something like, "I know I can learn your method of operation," tells an employer you have faith in your ability to learn the way the employer wants it done.


  • Before asking for a job become a person the employer knows or at least, establish a level of comfort.
  • Before asking for a job, be able to speak intelligently about the organization.
  • After asking for a Job, Do Follow-up.

A short thank you note reminds the employer that we have applied for a job. We can express appreciation for the courtesy of an interview and confirm that we are interested in the position. If we do not hear from the employer within a reasonable period of time, we can always stop by and remind the employer we are still interested. You can say something like, "Just stopped by to say hello. I know you are busy. I do not want to be a pest, but I do not want you to forget me." If you really want the job, you can continue to make follow-up contacts until the employer hires you or tells you clearly that you are not being considered.

1©2007 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company.
2National Employment Counseling Association.

 

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