Ten Tips for Landing Your First Job

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by John Petrik

Beginning your first job search doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience according to John Petrik dean of career services at the DeVry Institute of Technology campus in Addison IL. During his more than 25 years with DeVry Petrik has become an expert in employment trends and worker retention and has guided thousands of students through the career maze.

“Students are often intimidated by the thought of the first post-graduation job hunt” Petrik said. “But that process can be easier than they think if they remember the basic job search rules.”

Petrik’s ten basic job search rules include:

  1. Showcase your grades. Grades are still important to potential employers. In Petrik’s experience about 50 percent of employers look for a 3.0 GPA or better.
  2. Get out into the real world. An internship or part-time co-op job tells employers that you have already experienced a real-world work environment and know what to expect.
  3. Communicate well with others. No matter what career path you choose to follow — from nurse to computer programmer — you have to have solid written and oral communication skills to get a job.
  4. Network network network. Most grads land jobs through people they know — not by answering newspaper ads. So make a list of your own contacts such as professors family and friends and add to it by attending career fairs and other professional associations and activities. Learn more in our networking resources section.
  5. Be computer literate. It’s the information age — you need to be able to demonstrate solid computer literacy that’s relevant to your field.
  6. Put your best resume forward. A resume should be a concise error-free reader-friendly one-page document that can be easily scanned. Learn more in our resume resources section.
  7. Research. Take the time to learn about the company you are targeting by visiting its Website or researching the company at the library. Learn more in our step-by-step guide to researching.
  8. Use examples. Using specific examples from school or internships to answer questions about your experiences paints a clearer picture of your strengths and skills for the employer.
  9. Smile! It’s hard to smile when you’re on the hot seat — but a smile during an interview shows enthusiasm for the position and the company. Potential employers might interpret a non-smiling face as a lack of interest. Learn more in our interviewing resources section.
  10. Show your thanks. A thank you note following a phone or face-to-face interview reinforces your interest in the position and the company. Learn more in our FAQs about thank-you letters section.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college career and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

Have you checked out all the articles for college students and new grads that are published on Quintessential Careers? Go to: College Student/College Graduate/Entry-Level Job-Seeker Articles.

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