How to get your first job


Published on

Getting your first full-time job probably won't be easy.

"Getting a good position suitable for launching a whole career is no simple matter," says principal career manager of NotedCareers, Gregory Allen.

"There are literally hundreds of issues to be considered in the job-seeking process." Getting a job is hard work and is a job in itself, he adds.

When you're looking for a job leave no stone unturned - check out ads in newspapers, search online on sites such as and, get in touch with any family and friends in the workforce and even go and visit a few recruitment agencies.

When a potential job turns up you'll need to have your resume ready to go, along with a covering letter.

And yes, you'll need a resume even if you have no previous full-time work experience. Include everything from casual jobs to any volunteering you've done or if you're part of a club etc. Your schooling should be covered too.

Allen describes a resume and other job-seeking documents like the cover letter as "marketing tools of job seekers".

It's vital not to take a one-size-fits-all approach with these documents - they really need to be tailored to the job you're applying for. "Make sure your cover letter and resume match the job description," says Allen. Outline your experience and attributes relating to the requirements published in the ad.

With any luck a good resume will land you in the interview hot seat.

The key to success here is preparation. Make a list of possible questions and rehearse a few answers so you know what you're going to say, research the organisation so that you'll be able to demonstrate how you'd fit in, and have a few questions of your own ready.

One question you'll hear often is "Tell me about yourself", says Allen. "This is your opportunity to shine.

If you prepare your personalised answer to this question well you will save your interviewer a lot of time and trouble as you may negate their need to ask you a string of questions," he says.

"Remember, you are selling and the interviewer is buying. Everything you have to say should relate to the job advertised."

End the interview on a positive note, possibly with a short message highlighting what you could bring to the job. And if you're lucky enough to get the job, those first days and weeks are critical.

Turn up on time, even a little early, but don't run out the door as soon as the clock strikes five!

Make an effort to get to know people and where they fit into the organisation.

Throw yourself wholeheartedly into everything you're asked to do. It's also important to show initiative.

Get stories like this in our newsletters.

Related Stories


Maria Bekiaris is editorial campaigns manager for Canstar and former deputy editor of Money. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.