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First Job: Getting Your Foot in the Door

First Job: Getting Your Foot in the Door
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Just starting your career? It can be tough out there. The job market is competitive, and first-jobbers need to make a big impression. So if you’re wondering how to snag that dream position, check out these essential tips and get started on your career journey!

On the Radar

If you’ve just finished school or higher education, you might be asking yourself ‘how do I get my first job?’ Well, before you get your foot in the door, knock on it – make sure that you’re on the employment radar. You can do this by telling everyone, such as recruitment agencies, friends and family, as well as teachers and lecturers, that you’re job hunting. Don’t be shy – the worst that can happen is that people won’t get back to you!

Online Presence

Another great way to find a job is by making new contacts on social media, joining forums, and starting a blog to show off your ideas and initiative. Essentially, you need to start building your online presence, so that potential employers can find you. A great place to start is LinkedIn, which is a professional networking platform.

Make sure you keep it professional and invite everybody you know, or would like to work with, to follow your updates and support your career search. With an active following, and great content, prospective employers are bound to be wowed.

Get Creative

Creativity is essential in today’s marketplace – employers are looking for innovation, flexibility and uniqueness. So why not take a creative approach to your website, CV, applications and covering letters. 

We’re not suggesting you bust out a show tune in your first job interview, but do approach presentations, tasks and interview questions in exciting, memorable ways.

Work Experience or Internships?

There is a difference between work experience and internships, though not everyone knows exactly what that is! Internships involve a specific role for a period of time and, if the company values you and your potential, it may result in a paid position.

Work experience isn’t usually paid. It’s more of a taster, usually for a week or so, giving you the opportunity to see if that work area suits you and to network with new people. Many schools encourage you to undertake work experience, so that you can learn more about a particular field, and determine whether you’d like to pursue it.

Amazing Apprenticeships

Modern apprenticeships are basically brilliant – but not enough people know about them! Aimed at 16-21 year olds (though you can still apply if you’re older), you’ll spend around 80% of the time working and 20% in training. So you’ll be learning on the job!

If you’re on a programme that lasts between one and five years, you should get a wage, as well as holiday pay. Check out the government’s apprenticeships guide for more information.


Volunteer roles are usually unpaid, but they can be a great way to meet people and expand your skills. You could volunteer somewhere linked to your career plan but, wherever you work, volunteering boosts your confidence – and your CV. 

If you’re keen on volunteering, check out the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). You can also ask local charities if they’d let you volunteer for them.

Job for Life?

It’s one thing to get your foot in the door, but how do you plant the rest of yourself firmly in your new role? Well, the clichés are true – you may need to make tea, fetch the post and say yes to every errand. It’s also essential to learn everyone’s names (write them down if you’re prone to forgetfulness), learn how to use the office tech, and hit-up your co-workers with your creativity, commitment and enthusiasm.

Overall, if you really want your job to last, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Be the best version of yourself from the moment you clock-in.


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