Job hunting for your first “real” job

Looking for a job is rarely an easy process, and finding your first job can be particularly tough. Don’t be discouraged, though – you just need to be motivated and open to possibilities and angles that may not be exactly what you envisioned.

Tell everyone. When you’re looking for a job, don’t keep it a secret.  Tell your friends, your family and have them tell people what type of job you’re looking for. Networking is important—personally, I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever had through friends and colleagues.

Work at it every day. Treat your job search like a job: work at it every day. You probably can’t spend eight hours a day every day at it, but try to do something to further your job search each day.

Try something new.  Take a fun class (photography, cooking, yoga, etc.). Find a place to volunteer your time. It will help keep your spirits up and broaden your circle of friends. It’s a fun way to make connections that could potentially lead to a job. And if not, you’re still doing something valuable with your time.

Seek out internships. Internships are not just for college students; you can still seek this type of opportunity post-college.   Check with your college’s placement office to see if they have any listings that interest you. Completing an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door at a company and get some solid job experience at the same time.

Be willing to start at the bottom. Your first job out of college may not call on every single skill you’ve acquired while earning your degree. When considering a job that may seem beneath your skill set, look at the job’s potential. Does the company have jobs in your field of interest? Are you excited about the company’s mission and want to work for them in any capacity? Is there ample opportunity for growth? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then don’t feel bad about taking a job you may be overqualified for.

Consider temping. If you’re not familiar with “temping,” it means to be a temporary employee at a company. You can secure such jobs by registering with a temp agency that will match your skills with employers who need people to do short-term assignments. It’s a great way to make contacts and get your foot in the door at a company. I temped at a couple different places after college, and it was a great experience.

Caroline Hanson

About Caroline Hanson

Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written. Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
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