Six Steps to Get Your First Job + Free Resume Templates

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Are you ready to get your first job? Would you like to know what to do and what to expect? Do you feel overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? If you answered “Yes”, this post is for you. In the post you will learn about:

How you will benefit from the post:

  • Understanding each step of the Job Search process will help to get first Job faster
  • Knowing what to expect will help you to gain clarity
  • Knowing what to do at each step of the process will help you to become a more productive job seeker

Let`s get started by reviewing the Job Search process.


Job Search Overview

Job Search

1. Write Down Your Job Search Goals

Job Search Goals is a written statement on what you want from Job Search. You might think: “I just need a job. Why we need to make it so complicated?” Having no defined goals is one the common traps we all fall into. Why take time to set goals?

Benefits of Job Search Goals:

  • The act of writing down and setting  Job Search goals gives you direction and focus
  • Goals activate your creativity with a well-defined vision
  • Goals motivate you into action and help you to stick to your plan

How to get started

 Take a moment and write down answers to the following questions:

  • What type of a job do you want?
  • Where do you want to work? (city, industry)
  • Why do you need/want the job?
  • How will you look for the job?

Example of a Job Search Goals:

  • What: I want to get an entry-level job retail job
  • Where: At the grocery store close to my house, in Denver
  • Why: I want to improve my English and learn more about the retail industry
  • How: I will apply for 5 jobs per week

End Goal: Create a written list of what you want to accomplish as a result of your efforts.

2. Create Your Resume

Many of us struggle with this step. So why do you need to create a Resume? Because Resume is your most important advertisement tool. Your resume serves one purpose – to advance you to the next step of Job Search process – your job interview.

Benefits of Resume:

  • Highlights your qualifications, skills, results, and achievements
  • Loaded with soundbites of success stories to get an employer interested in interviewing you
  • Summarizes and organizes your past employment history into one page
  • Informs your employer about your career objective (the job you are seeking)
  • Communicates value and benefits of hiring you vs. other candidates

Resume Crafting Tips:

  • Use keywords from the employer` Job Description
  • Focus on employer benefits, not your skills
  • Keep your resume to one page, be concise
  • Select correct Resume formats: Chronological Skill-Based
  • Chronological Resume advantages: great if you are staying in the same field and pursuing opportunities in the same general occupation
  • Skill-Based Resume works well when you change careers and want to do something completely different than your past experiences

How to get started

Option 1 – Create resume manually:

  • Record in MS Word document your work history: titles, companies, dates of employment
  • Add 5-7 bullet point of results and accomplishments per each position
  • Choose a resume template from FREE Bonus Resume Templates
  • Copy and paste your employment information into the template, save
  • Show your draft to a friend, spouse or a co-worker, get feedback, improve
  • Review Example: Skill Based Resume_ Sasha Stewart

Option 2 – Create a resume using FREE online tools:

End Goal: create a first draft of your Resume. Please note, your first draft may look unpolished. It is ok. You will continue to refine it for each application.

3. Create Your Cover Letter

What is a Cover Letter and why you need one? A cover letter is a very personal way to communicate to your employer key reasons for calling you for an interview. A cover letter is the second most important Job Search tool in your toolbox

Benefits of Cover Letter:

  • It explains how your past job experience applies to the job you applied for
  • It highlights your personality and showcases your communication skills
  • It advertises your skills, education, and accomplishments as it relates to the job opening
  • Explains why you are the right fit for the position
  • Gets employer interested to hear more and leads to a job interview

How to get started

End Goal: Create a first draft of your Cove Letter. Just like a resume, it will not be perfect yet, but you will continue improving it with each application.


4. Apply for Jobs


Job Search success comes down two things: where you apply and how many applications you submit. It is all about numbers. The more consistently you apply for the specific jobs you listed on your Job Search Goals, the higher your chances to get a phone call.

How can you apply for a job?

According to the experts, including Career Blog, Glassdoor, Forbes the three most effective ways to find and apply for a Job in 2018 are the following:

That said, it seems many job seekers prefer to apply for a job online. Keep in mind, online job boards are the least effective way to apply for a job because it is very impersonal and employers may receive up to 300-500 applications for a single job opening, which makes it very hard for you to stand out. In subsequent posts, we will review more The Top Three Way to Find a Job Fast.

How to get started

  • Search the most popular Job Search sites for your target employers
  • Using your target employer list, apply directly on the company`s website
  • Set up a weekly alerts to receive new job openings list via email, to reduce searching time

End Goal: Apply to a certain number of jobs every week, the more consistent your efforts are the faster you will see results.


5. Pass Your Job Interview


A job interview can be a nerve-racking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Interviewing process can be fun and informative. First, lets understand what can you expect during a typical interview process and how can you prepare to ace the interview and get a job offer.

What to expect from Job Interviews:

  • There are three main types of interviews: screening interview, traditional interview and group interview
  • Employers have two main goals during interviews: assess your job fir and your cultural fit
  • Your interviewer may ask questions to test your abilities, skills, and knowledge to determine whether your technical skills meet the job requirements
  • Employer also may ask behavioral questions to assess your cultural fit
  • The interview may take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours
  • The employer will expect Business Casual Dress Code for your Interview meeting
  • The employer assumes you know facts about the company and can articulate why you want to work for them

How to prepare for an interview? Tips and tricks to get prepared.


How to get started

Prepare in advance for your interview

6. Negotiate Job Offers


First, congratulations on your job offer! We both know, it took a lot of effort to get it. I am so proud of you!

Second, as excited as you are, please do not accept your first offer. Take some time to review the entire compensation structure.

Gather answers to the following questions from your employer:

  • What is my per hour/salary pay?
  • What other benefits included in the compensation package?
  • Do you offer medical, dental and life insurance?
  • Do you offer a 401K plan, and what is the contribution match percentage?
  • What is the PTO (paid-time-off, vacation) structure?
  • Do you offer flex-time benefits (working remotely)?
  • How many hours per week will I work?
  • How many “sick” day do you allow annually?

What can happen if you ask for more money, more vacation time or anything else that is important to you? Two things will happen, they will accept your counter-proposal, or they will remain firm with the original offer.

Remember, your employer will not withdraw their offer just because you asked questions. It is expected that you will negotiate. Read article titled Negotiating Tips

How to get started:

Do your homework:

  • Get an estimate on salary/hourly pay you can expect for your position in your state
    • Indeed: search and compare salaries
    • Glassdoor: search salaries and compensation
    • PayScale: what am I worth feature

End Goal: Ask questions, gather information, and negotiate offers you happy with, before accepting it.


Before you get started, you have to understand what needs to be done to accomplish your goal. We provided a brief overview of what you should expect during your First Job Search. To summarize the Job Search Steps are the following: write job search goals, create a resume, craft a cover letter, apply for jobs, pass job interviews, and negotiate a job offers.

My goal was to help you to understand the steps, avoid mistake and find your First Job Faster.

My Story:

Job search goal. My first Job Search goal at that time was an entry-level retail job, such as sales associate or a cashier.

Resume. The concept of a resume was very confusing to me. I did not understand why such contortions need to be endured just to share the information I already shared on the online job application. Resume took several months to create, and I hated every minute of the process.

Cover Letter. I did not create one. I felt it was too much work and is not needed. Boy, was I wrong!

Apply for jobs. Since my English was terrible, I simply was scared to speak with people. To make it easier, I applied online for hours every day. In total, I applied for 412 jobs in 4 months. Those were the longest months of my life. I am not kidding.

Job interview. When I got called for a job interview, I could not believe it! The job opening was for a Sales Associate job in the Cosmetics department, at Kohls. As I recall it, it was a group interview. I had three people who interviewed me. It went very quickly.

I came in, they asked me some questions. I did not understand what was asked, so I asked my interviewers to repeat the questions. After roughly 10 minutes of this embarrassment, I was told the interview is over. I left the room.

My spouse waited for me at the door. He knew I did not pass the interview. He gave me a big hug and I cried in his arms, for the first time realizing just how bad my English was. Keep in mind, my interview was five months after my arrival in the U.S.

Negotiate job offers. Since I did not pass the interview, I did not get that job. But the process gave me many valuable lessons about how the Job Search works and what I could do better to prepare the next time.

As a result of this learning experience, less than two years later I was hired as a Department Supervisor in the same exact Kohls store, that refused to interview me in the beginning. Lesson learned: don`t give up, learn from your failures, do better next time.

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