By Randy Wooden
Job hunting can be a daunting task for many of us, but if it’s your first time looking for work, it can really present some challenges. Today, let’s explore five tips for landing that first job.
#1. Be realistic. Your first job might not be your dream job but it is a fantastic way to gain experience. You might want to think about whether you’d prefer working with the public (retail, restaurants, etcetera) or whether you’d prefer working away from the public (factories, warehouses, physical labor, etcetera)
#2. Networking. You’ll learn soon enough that relationships matter, including when companies make hiring decisions. Enlist the help of friends, neighbors, friends of your parents, etcetera. Employers appreciate it when someone they know can recommend you.
#3. Resume. If you don’t have paid work to show, include your volunteer or extra-curricular activities. List some of your soft skills, qualities or traits. For example, are you a fast learner, dependable, collaborative? If possible, provide brief examples of those traits on the resume and be prepared to discuss them in greater detail during your interview.
#4. Your appearance. Studies have shown that 55 percent of interpersonal communication is body language, 38 percent is your tone of voice, and your actual words only 7 percent. What does this mean? People form opinions about you based on how you look, how you act and how you sound.
Dress appropriately. You don’t want your appearance to distract from your personal qualities and skills. For most positions, you would not wear flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt. For some positions, you might want to cover tattoos and remove your piercings.
#5. Show up in person. Most companies will want you to complete an online application or apply at an in-store kiosk; go the extra mile by showing up at their place of business.Bring a resume, dress appropriately, and be prepared with an enthusiastic smile and firm handshake.
If you’re looking for an entry level job, the main criteria are things like dependability, honesty, and enthusiasm rather than highly technical skills or management experience. Demonstrating initiative by walking in helps you stand out in a large online applicant pool.
Another way to show initiative is to follow up on your interviews with a thank you email and, ideally, a hand-written thank you note. Be sure to call to follow up on your interview with friendly persistence and enthusiasm. Often, entry level jobs go to those who appear to want it more. Be that person.