Idiot’s Guide to the Job Search

| August 14, 2016 | 1 Comment

job search concept, find your career, online websiteSo you’re ready for your first real job, but you have no idea where to start.  Below is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you land a job!

Get Ready

You are going to need to prepare the following in order to get a job:

  • Social security card
  • Photo ID
  • Resume
  • Cover letter (optional)
  • Work permit (if you are underage and live in a state that requires one).

If you are still in high school, you may need to talk with your guidance counselor to set aside a period or two of work release time so that you can work during school hours.

Preparing Your Resume

Most jobs require that you submit a resume when applying, so you’ll need one that will make you stand out from the crowd.  Your resume lets your future employer know a little bit about you, your qualifications, your past work history, etc.

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Keep your resume short, no more than one page long, but also make sure that it has all the information you need.  You should have the following categories:

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Objective
  • Skills
  • Experience/Work History
  • Education and Training
  • Honors and Awards
  • Community Service

Your resume needs to be formated in a clean and easy to read manner.  Your name and information should be prominently displayed at the top, and each section should be clearly separated.

Woman working on computer and writing down her thoughts

Make sure that you proofread your resume to make sure that there are no errors.  Even a simple grammatical error can be the difference between landing a job or not.

You can still create a killer resume, even if you’ve never had a job.  If you have any “work experience” even it if it was for a few days, list it (ie. babysitting, mowing lawns,  etc.).

Be sure to list your volunteer experience, academic achievements, and any clubs or music groups that you have been a part of (especially if you were an officer or team captain).

Remember that if this is your first job, you may have to accept a “starter job” (as this blog suggests) while you work to make your resume more competitive.  There is no shame in holding a temporary position, especially if you work hard at whatever you do.

Start Searching

Once you are ready, start searching for a job.  Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who is hiring, and keep an open eye for “Now Hiring” signs at the mall, restaurants, etc.

Create a LinkedIn profile that showcases your skills and abilities, and you can even check the LinkedIn database for job postings that fit your skillset.  Check Craigslist,, Monster, the newspaper, and other job sites for job listings that you’d be interested in.

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If there is a specific company that you would like to work for, check their website to see if they have any opportunities available.


Once you find a few jobs that you are interested in, start applying.  Apply for as many jobs as possible to increase your chances of getting one, but don’t apply for jobs that you are not qualified for; it’s not worth your time, or the recruiters time.

Make sure that you submit everything that the employer asks for: resume, cover letter, application, etc. or you will be overlooked by recruiters.  If possible, deliver your application in person, as that will help you stand out from the other people applying for the job.

Prepare to Interview

Congratulations! You’ve been asked to come in for an interview.  You need to tell the recruiter “I am who you are looking for” without looking desperate or too forceful.

You will need to look the part, act the part, and talk the part.  Put together an interview outfit that looks professional and sharp.  Do a little bit of research about the company so that you are prepared to ask some questions of your own.

business people handshakingHave a friend conduct a practice interview so that you’ll be ready when you go and interview.

When the day of the interview arrives, make sure that you eat a good breakfast so that your stomach doesn’t growl in the middle of the interview.  Be there 15 minutes early.

Be pleasant and welcoming to everyone you meet, especially the receptionist, as employers often ask them what they thought of you.  During the interview, be upbeat, authentic, and confident.

At the end, thank the interviewer for the opportunity to come in in person and by email.  If you’re curious whether or not your interview went well, check out this blog.

Follow Up

After your interview, your interviewer might get busy, and if they’re not desperate to fill the position, they might let a few days or even weeks pass by without contacting you.

Following up will remind them of your interview, and possibly even land you the job.  However, do not contact them too frequently, or you will have the opposite effect.

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  1. Shawn Michaels says:

    Wow! it is truly outstanding post. And so much to read through here. I like your work quite much. Thanks for sharing such information that truly helps alot. I just want to give a thumbs up to your post. Keep posting such informative blogs.

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