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How to Apply for Your First Job

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One of the most daunting tasks facing a university 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. Here are some key tips that can help you land your first job:

  • Be prepared and intern in a field you are interested in while in college
  • Create or revise your CV
  • Use resources provided by your school, university or college
  • Apply for a variety of jobs
  • Prepare for interviews

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

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 Autumn. You can be the most talented future engineer in the world, but if you miss the 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 CV

If you have not created a CV 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 CV, make sure it’s up-to-date with all your professional experience, useful skills, and educational information. And make sure these 13 things aren’t missing on your CV!

Take advantage: Use resources provided by your university

Often times your university will have tons of untapped career advice. If your university 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 character references, 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 CV 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 organisation 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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