How to Land Your First Job

A job applicant's résumé.

Getting a job or preparing yourself for a job can be a terrifying experience for many first-timers. (Image: Ml12nan via Dreamstime)

Landing your first job is often a scary experience. Check out our guide to help you prepare, equip yourself, and increase your chances of landing your first job.

Getting a job or preparing yourself for a job can be a terrifying experience for many first-timers. But, despite how difficult it might be, almost every adult comes to a point in their life where they finally need to get their first job.

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One main deterrent for a lot of individuals to get a job is the lack of experience and the added anxiety of whether they are good enough for the job or not. This is perfectly normal for first-timers.

While getting your first job might seem impossible, there are ways to improve your chances of getting in despite the lack of experience.

There are different ways to help first-time job seekers overcome their lack of experience. (Image: Milosducati via Dreamstime)
There are different ways to help first-time job seekers overcome their lack of experience. (Image: Milosducati via Dreamstime)

Substitutes for experience

There are different ways to help first-time job seekers overcome their lack of experience. Here are some of the most effective ways to improve your hiring chances.

Volunteer

If you’re planning to work in a specific career or field, it won’t hurt for you to try and volunteer. For example, say you want to be a car mechanic, why not go to a shop and ask them if there is anything you can do for free as long as you learn?

While you’ll most likely be handed simple tasks, you can still gain first-hand experience, especially if you show enthusiasm.

Create a portfolio

Depending on the career you want to enter, you might be able to create a portfolio to showcase your skills in a different field. For example, say you want to get a job in digital marketing and try making designs for your social media, website, projects, and other marketing materials.

Having mockups for imaginary companies also helps you showcase what you are capable of doing. Another thing you can do is approach different businesses and offer them your services for free. Offering free services also helps you get referrals since you can use your contacts to vouch for you later.

Look for an apprenticeship

Although apprenticeships can be hard to look for, they are great ways for you to enter an industry without experience. For example, if you want to be a photographer, one of the best ways to learn (without formal education) would be to become an apprentice for a professional photographer.

When looking for apprenticeship opportunities, it’s essential to put your best foot forward and show your potential mentor what you can do for them instead of just focusing on what you can gain from them.

Learn to network

You’ll have to learn how to network to increase your chances of getting a job. The secret to networking isn’t just charisma; it’s being nice to people and trying to build a genuine relationship.

The good thing about networking is that aside from just helping you land your first job, it also enables you to improve your skills, increase your knowledge, and help develop character.

Many good bosses look past your experience and evaluate you based on your personality.
Many good bosses look past your experience and evaluate you based on your personality. (Image: Stokkete via Dreamstime)

How much experience do you need to get a job?

The good thing about applying to specific jobs is that you can do so while volunteering, building your portfolio, or being an apprentice. Many good bosses look past your experience and evaluate people based on their personality.

The key to making up for lack of experience is to develop a pleasing personality and resilience to failure. You might not land your first job in the first interview, but the more you try, the more you’ll increase your chances of getting in.

Another critical aspect of landing your first job is whenever you are rejected, thank the interviewer and ask them for pointers on how you might improve yourself, your approach, or your portfolio for your following interview.

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