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What should I do to get a first time job?

I've made a basic resume, and because it's my first job I don't have much on it. It's basic, and has some skills and volunteer experience on it. But when I applied in store and online to about 20 places, none of them reached back to me. #first-job #entry-level #job-search #resume #july20 Is there something I can do?


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Molly’s Answer

Hi Grace - I have 4 suggestions for you:
1. Ensure that you are tailoring your resume to the job you are applying for. Pull out the experiences you had in school or volunteering that tie to the job you are applying for.

2. If you have the means and the time, find a volunteer position that is similar to the full time position you are looking for. When I first started looking for jobs I wanted to be an admin assistant, but had no experience, so I volunteered at the Alzheimer's Association as their admin to gain the skills needed. It was only about 5 hours a week, but I was able to translate that experience into a full time job with a for-profit company.

3. Ensure that the content and structure of the resume is strong. Your resume should be clean, well aligned, and should leverage strong action verbs, innumerate on your successes, and demonstrate the outcomes you drove.

4. Include a cover letter. This will demonstrate your dedication, and also gives the potential employer a sense of who you are as a person.

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Angela’s Answer

This is a tough place to be - I remember trying to find my first job with no work experience and how hard that was! My advice would be to reach back out to the jobs you've applied for and ask if there is any updates on your application status. Some jobs get tons of applicants and it really helps you to stand out if you show that you're interested. When you call or email them, make sure to make a good impression - so even if you don't get through to the hiring manager right away, the person you talked with wants to help you out. Also, although you may not have work experience, leverage what you do have on your resume and try to connect it to the job you applied for, even if it's something that wouldn't typically associate with the job. For example, if you helped at a soup kitchen and are applying for a retail job - connect the two by saying you like to care for others (ie. the customer)
Here's an example: "Hi, I'm calling to follow up about a job application I submitted, is the hiring manager available? ..... I've been researching this position and I really feel that some of my volunteer experience can help me succeed in this role, as you can see I've volunteered at a soup kitchen and it's my passion to care for others - I would definitely go above and beyond for the customer in this role. I'm excited to have this opportunity - please keep me updated!"
Good luck and keep trying!

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Willington’s Answer

Getting a job can be very difficult, especially in the current world we live in today. Speaking from personal experience, most if not all of my jobs, I knew someone already working at the place I was applying at. I would recommend reaching out to anyone you know and ask if they have any jobs open where they work. This is a much easier way to get an entry-level job as the person already working there can put in a good word for you.

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Grace!

You are going through what a majority of people go through when it comes to getting your first job. My advice to you, is to start small if possible: pick up a seasonal or part-time retail/restaurant/etc job. Once you have a tangible job on your resume, and once we get out of a pandemic, you might have a better chance of landing an entry-level professional job. Try to keep being positive!

Good Luck!

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Andrew’s Answer

Hi Grace!

It would help to know how old you are/what kind of job you are looking for, but, in general, I would suggest a few things:

1. Apply in-person, if possible
2. Apply to places that typically hire young or unexperienced workers (busser/dishwasher at a restaurant, carwash attendant, food delivery)
3. Don't be picky - this is your first job and any experience will be beneficial, especially during these times

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Kellen’s Answer

Hi Grace, do not worry, finding your first job is tough. It is great that you are reaching out and applying. Do not be discouraged by hearing no because everyone has to go through a lot of that when searching for the position that is right for them. I encourage you to keep adding more experiences - volunteering, school projects, activities, etc. The more you can add, the better. Also, reach out to a counselor, your favorite teacher, or someone else who could speak on your behalf to write you a letter of recommendation. Even if the application does not require it, this is a great way to stand out. Make sure to reach out in person or on the phone whenever possible. This personal connection goes much farther than an online submission or even an email. Lastly, just keep your head up and keep trying. It only takes one yes to gain that first experience and then you are off to the races!

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Grace!

You are going through what a majority of people go through when it comes to getting your first job. My advice to you, is to start small if possible: pick up a seasonal or part-time retail/restaurant/etc job. Once you have a tangible job on your resume, and once we get out of a pandemic, you might have a better chance of landing an entry-level professional job. Try to keep being positive!

Good Luck!

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Katie Rose’s Answer

Hi Grace!

You've gotten some good advice already, but here's another piece of advice that I learned while I was applying for jobs recently. Most companies use ATS programs, or Applicant Tracking Systems. These are automated programs that scan applications for keywords relevant to a job position. HR can customize the keywords and how many are matched in a resume before the resume is rejected or saved for a phone screening or interview. It makes HR's job much easier, however, even if you are qualified for the job you applied for, if you don't match enough keywords your resume might be rejected.

When applying for jobs, I would read the description and requirements in full, confirm that I did have the skills they were looking for, and I'd customize my resume to include the exact keywords that the job description had. For example, a job description for a Graphic Designer might ask for skills in Adobe Creative Suite, but if my resume says Adobe Creative Cloud, the ATS might mark that as a missing keyword.

You can google ATS resumes and find lots of tips for how to make your resume ATS-friendly! Making mine ATS-friendly helped me get a job after looking for several months, so I hope it helps you too!

Katie Rose recommends the following next steps:

Google "ATS friendly resumes"

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Kellen’s Answer

Hi Grace, do not worry, finding your first job is tough. It is great that you are reaching out and applying. Do not be discouraged by hearing no because everyone has to go through a lot of that when searching for the position that is right for them. I encourage you to keep adding more experiences - volunteering, school projects, activities, etc. The more you can add, the better. Also, reach out to a counselor, your favorite teacher, or someone else who could speak on your behalf to write you a letter of recommendation. Even if the application does not require it, this is a great way to stand out. Make sure to reach out in person or on the phone whenever possible. This personal connection goes much farther than an online submission or even an email. Lastly, just keep your head up and keep trying. It only takes one yes to gain that first experience and then you are off to the races!

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