After carving a path towards an exciting future, it’s easy to imagine your first real job. The next phase is full of possibilities, but how do you get started?
The dog days of summer may mean lying around in the hot sun and pondering the perfect playlist for some—but not for you. You want to use this opportunity to make your first professional mark in the world. Summer is short and the list of dream jobs is even shorter. With everyone emptying out of school at roughly the same time, you have some fierce competition out there. Here’s how to get noticed:
Spruce up resumes and cover letters
Your resume and your cover letter are the most important documents you’ll write. That’s why it’s important to write your cover letter repeatedly until you’re confident with it. If you don’t convey your personality and passion in the cover letter, you’re not going to get noticed.
Design is as important as content
Next comes your resume where you have the opportunity to really highlight your skills and generate interest from prospective employers. There are many resume samples and resume template sites to help you craft a resume that will get you noticed. Resumes should be both eye-catching and easy to read.
What to include on your resume
There’s probably a lot of information you think your future employer should know about you, but demonstrate some restraint. You can use this additional information as talking points during your interview. For now, let’s focus on what you should include on your resume:
- Personal characteristics you think will be important to the role
- Any technical and computer skills
- Education and courses that are relevant to the role you’re applying for
- Skills and experience you’ve learned through previous employment
- Accomplishments you’ve acquired along the way like awards or certificates
- Work history starting with your most recent role
Where to start?
Most employers don’t advertise the “good” jobs. So how do you find them? Many of those jobs go to contacts or friends. Start your search locally by asking around — you never know who knows who.
Dress for the role you want, not the role you have
Finding a job is a bit like dressing for work. If you dress for the role you have, you will likely stay there for quite some time. Studies suggest that a more beneficial strategy is to dress for the role you want so that higher-ups can envision you in that role.
Social media and other pitfalls
Social media networks are great for interacting with friends and family. After all, they hold the proof of those crazy nights. But guess who else is looking at your profile online? Your future employer. So, while you might have an exceptional resume and cover letter, you’re going to lose the opportunity if your social media presence suggests otherwise about your character. So before you event submit that resume — clean up your social media activity first.
When it comes to finding your first job after school, it’s important that you make a strong first impression. After all, your first job can set the foundation for the rest of your life.