Hunting for your first job can be tricky. Employers like to see that a job candidate has experience, but how do you get experience if you can’t land a job? It’s a Catch-22 situation. 

Getting your foot in the door in order to start gaining much needed experience can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to help you find a good job match, make a good impression, and hopefully land your first job. 

Tailor Your Résumé 

Before you even begin filling out an application or sending in your cover letter and résumé, you should tailor your résumé to the specific job. For example, if you are applying for a job in retail, mention your skills as they relate to that particular job. Maybe put any past experience with customer service at the top of your résumé. Similarly, if you’re applying for a management position, place leadership roles or awards front-and-center on your application. 

Tailoring your résumé isn’t just important in catching the eye of the hiring manager, but also to be noticed by applicant tracking systems that are commonly used to sift through the piles of applications that businesses often face. Using the right keywords in your cover letter and résumé can mean that your name stands out above the rest as someone to call in for an interview. 

hand shake

Check In With References 

Before you send in your résumé  to any business, check in with your references so they are aware that you are finalizing your application process. This will give them a heads up that they may be getting a call from a prospective employer who will be looking to hear about you. 

Do Your Research 

Once you have decided to apply for a position, it is a good idea to look up the company and get some background information that could help you in case you get called for an interview. Find out what the company is all about and what they expect from their new hires. Check out what past employees have said about the company on Indeed, Quora, or Glassdoor. This can help you learn about the company culture, expectations, and potential for advancement in the future. At the very least, a little research can tell you about the leaders of the company and its standing in the industry. 

ready for the interview

Prep for The Interview

Just like it’s necessary to do your research about a company, it is equally important to prepare for the interview. This may include: getting your proper business attire all set, practicing a quick statement about yourself for the opening of the interview, and reviewing your skills and experience that you mentioned on your application. 

Prepare to face questions about yourself, your experience, and skills. Help yourself by reviewing the 50 Most Common Interview Questions employers ask so you can have an idea of what you would like to say. 

Spread the Word

Having trouble even getting your foot-in-the-door for an interview? Spread the word to your friends and family that you are looking for a job. Sometimes it’s just who you know that can help land your first job.  

Do you need help landing your first job? The North Shore Career Center   and MassHire North Shore offers many workshops where job seekers can brush up on their skills, practice interview techniques, and gain valuable insights on industry trends. Check out our calendar and consider coming in to speak with our team to find out some great strategies to land you the job you desire.