A question that recent college graduates may ask themselves is when should I apply for my first job? We don’t want to apply too early, but we definitely don’t want to wait and miss a great career opportunity.  Sandra is a Human Resources Manager and a Professional Resume Writer for Madam Creative Services.  She has worked in recruitment for several years and now she is going to share her experiences with Financial Highway.

When Should College Graduates Apply for Their First Job?

Sandra advises recent college graduates to start applying for jobs within 3 months of graduation. It is not unrealistic to want to start at the top, but expect to start at an entry level position.  In today’s marketplace, where the “Baby Boomers” will be ready to retire in the next 5-10 years there will be many new opportunities for existing employees.  It is ok to start at an entry level position because the work experience and employee’s loyalty will be considered when new positions become available.   Be aggressive with your job search!  Apply, reapply, and follow up.  Employers love proactive candidates.

What should be on my resume when I apply for my first job?

If you have no previous work experience when you are applying for your first job, be sure to include any volunteer experience; especially if it is within your field of study at college.   All volunteer experience is helpful.  If you helped a parent on a fundraising event, or if you volunteered for an event at your college, it should all be included on your resume.

Any and all work experience should be on your resume when applying for your first job; this includes part time work experience. Even if you don’t feel your previous work experience is relevant, it is important to include any and all previous work experience.  

Mc Donald’s is a great place to start working part time.  Employers often call candidates for interviews if they have experience working at McDonalds.  The training and experience gained from working at Mc Donald’s can be a very valuable asset in the workforce.

How and Where can I apply for my first job?

There’s always a career board in schools where companies will post positions, it may be near the student union or it may be in each faculty’s office.  Some colleges allow employers to post available opportunities online, where all students can apply.   Job Fairs are always a good resource for college graduates to search for new opportunities, and network with potential employers.  Don’t be afraid to go to out of town job fairs.   There are always international companies exhibiting.  They may not have a position in your current city, but at least you will have a lead with a company that you may want to work for in the future.

I recommend that you attend college job fairs throughout the year of your graduation, but don’t hand in your resume.  Take notes of the companies at the job fair and get the contact name of whom you could send your resume to when you are ready. 

What do I need to know about my first job interview?

It is important to dress appropriately for your first job interview.  Be prepared and do your research on the company, this shows your potential employer that you are proactive and a self starter. Always ask questions during or at the end of the interview.  Employers will often ask candidates why we want to work for the company.  You should prepare a personal statement that incorporates your career goals within the company.  As an example, if you’re goal is to become a lawyer and you are applying for a law clerk position, you could say “This position will help me on the road to my career as a lawyer.”