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Career Tips: How to Find Your First Job

Think outside of the box when looking for your first job.

By Maria Paulia Belgado

Congratulations — You’ve graduated college and are now about to enter the real world! All that hard work and study is about to pay off. Before you can say goodbye to dorm life and relocate to your first real apartment, you’ll need a new job to finance your new adult life. Finding your first job out of college can be a daunting task, but it’s not an impossible one.

Online classified sites and newspapers are a great place to start – but you can bet thousands of your fellow graduates are all at home, sitting in their pajamas, hitting “send” as you read this. So, for you to move ahead and get your life started, it may take more elbow grease and a bit more creativity. The trick is to find the best job openings from uncommon sources.

When looking for your first job, check out these tips from

Ask for referrals. The best jobs available at companies are often not advertised, as they try to select from their own pool of employees. Why not take a look at your connections (neighbors, friends, relatives, friends of friends) and see whom you can approach to check if there are any openings in their company. This is not the time to be shy! You’ll be surprised at who’s willing to help – it often doesn’t take much time for them to pick up the phone or send an email to the HR department and ask what’s available.

Work for free …or at least for a reduced salary with an internship. Hopefully, before you graduated, you were able stay away from bad debt and save some money to last you for a couple of months while you look for a job. While you’re sending out your resumes, why not offer your skills and services to a local business? You’ll not only get to buffer up your resume and secure a great recommendation, but, you may even get a job at the same company, once you’ve proven your worth.

Go back to school. We don’t mean to take classes, but rather, see if your college or university has job placement or hunting resources. They may have a database of job openings for alumni, or have counselors available to help you find a job.

Approach or join professional organizations. Depending on your field or interest, there are many professional organizations out there to serve the needs of professionals, such as marketers, copywriters, event planners, etc. Check out their websites, subscribe to their newsletters and trade publications and join their events. It’s a great way to network with respected members of the community and help you land a job in your chosen field.

Pound the pavement and knock on doors. It sounds a bit old school, but why not drop off your resume yourself? Try to talk to the hiring manager or just charm the receptionist into taking your resume and see where it goes – it doesn’t hurt to try. Looking for that first job can be intimidating and unnerving, and competition is fierce. The trick is to uncover those hidden gems and find a job that’s perfect for you.

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