How to Apply for Your First Job

Career Advice COVID-19

One of the most daunting tasks facing a college student is applying to your very first job. We have all been there at one point, and in a high-speed academic environment, it can often feel like everyone around you is on top of the process and you’re falling behind.

Don’t be left dreading what you’ll answer when your classmates start asking where you’ll be working when you graduate. Below are some key tips that can help you land the job of your dreams.

Be prepared: Intern in a field you are interested in while in college

Start interning while you are a student. Use sites like Glassdoor to search for internships and start looking for your internship early! Many of the more competitive internships have deadlines in mid-to-late fall. You can be the most talented future engineer in the world, but if you miss the December 15th deadline, Google won’t consider you for the position. So, be sure to be ahead of the curve. As early as late summer, begin brainstorming fields and companies that you are interested in. Once you have done that, identify key deadlines, especially for your top choices.

Search for internships.

Put your best foot forward: Create or revise your resume

If you have not created a resume as of yet, now is the time to do it. Be clear and concise in explaining your experience, and any other relevant information. Aim for about one page of content, and avoid any distracting or busy fonts. If you already have a resume, make sure it’s up-to-date with all your professional experience, useful skills, and educational information. And make sure these 7 things aren’t missing on your resume!

Take advantage: Use your school resources

Often times your university will have tons of untapped career advice. If your school has a career center, be sure to use it. Attend any recruiting events for companies you’re interested in. Join clubs that relate to your interests. If you’re looking at jobs that require letters of recommendation, keep a running list of professors or advisors that you could ask. Lastly, don’t forget to network, network, network.

Search smart: Use the right online tools

The Internet is a great research tool, but it can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. Sites like Glassdoor help you navigate the job market in a smart and efficient way. Make sure you bookmark interesting jobs as you go along.

Take the plunge: Apply

Apply to a variety of jobs, making sure to cover all of your bases. Don’t get your heart set on just one based on the listing – apply to as many as are relevant, while also keeping your eye on the quality of your resume and cover letter.  Check out tips on how to create the best cover letter for entry-level positions.

First impressions count: Prepare for interviews

After submitting your applications, you hopefully will be asked to do an interview, whether on the phone or virtually. Before the interview, make sure you are familiar with the organization in question and prepare any questions you have about the company or your responsibilities. Remember to be confident, excited about the company and the position, and above all—yourself.

Hopefully, you now feel empowered to go forth and get the job of your dreams. Good luck!


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