4 Important Things You Should Do to Land Your First Job (Guest Post)

4 Tips for New Grads
Photo: pexels.com

Graduation is a time to celebrate, but also a time of uncertainty for new graduates  anticipating their future and looking for their first job. For your average employee, landing a job is already no walk in the park. Consider how much more challenging it is for fresh-out graduates who have little to no experience on their resumes? In their case, it’s easy to be left behind, dwarfed by the competition from experienced job seekers.

Fortunately, there are still ways for new grads to increase the chances of landing a first job they’d prefer. Follow the tips below, and ready yourself to enter the workplace.

 Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or Resume

Here’s how you can write an effective CV:

  • Make sure to include the basics – Personal and contact information, education and qualifications, work history and experience (if you already have some), relevant interests and hobbies, and references.
  • Be clear and concise – As much as you can, always keep your CV short yet relevant. Research shows that “a short and concise CV that is no longer than one page is the preferred format for the majority of employers (42.5%).”
  • Customize your CV for a specific job – Generalized CVs typically won’t get you the interview. Upon identifying a great job that you feel confident and qualified to apply for, construct a CV specifically for that position playing up how you can meet the requirements.
  • Ensure that your CV is free of errors – A survey shows that 59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error. Furthermore, before sending it, check your CV over a few times to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.


Being a new graduate, the research skills you developed in college will be vital to your job search. Researching the industry you want to go into is something that will greatly benefit you. Reflect on your motivation for seeking a specific career path and your long-term view of the industry and your goals. Modify your cover letter to incorporate relevant research you’ve done to show that you’re the ideal candidate. Never arrive at an interview without looking first into the company’s history, what it is they actually do, and the image they are trying to project.


Often it’s about who you know and leveraging your connections to an advantage. Make use of Twitter and LinkedIn to demonstrate your interests and begin discussions about them. An ever-increasing number of recruiters and/or hiring managers are turning in to social media to find prospective employees. You never know who you may meet and what you may get into. Also, you might meet someone via social media in your industry that may offer some priceless tips on how to land a first job in that field.

Use social media to stay up on the latest industry news, and don’t post anything that may be off-putting to a future employer since they may well look you up online before offering an interview for a job. Keep your abilities and experiences up to date on your LinkedIn profile.


Many of us have been there, working our hearts out at an unpaid internship, long days and small jobs that no one else wants to do (all in the hopes the company will offer us something more secure at the end of it). But take advantage of your university’s link to valuable internships in your city relevant to your industry of choice. Even if the company at which you intern cannot offer you a full time position upon completion of the internship, you can make some valuable connections during this time—especially if you show initiative and do outstanding work during your time at the company.

As long as you keep your head in the game, you will be fine in your first job search. Know that a lot of the best roles may mean moving from where you to a different city or state, but keep in mind that the first job you’ll have doesn’t mean it’s for life. Many things can still happen and can lead you somewhere else, so don’t be afraid to face change. Like your post-graduation transition, use change as an opportunity to accomplish further achievements.

Once you land your first job, stick with the experience. Go into your new role willing to listen and learn, even if you find yourself doing tasks that don’t seem to utilize your degree. You never know the positive outcomes that any one role will lead to. Learning continues even after schooling.

About the Author: Michelle Dutcher is a social media manager with four years of related experience based in Quebec City, Canada. She furnishes quality content for her clients’ social media platforms to better engage their consumers. Michelle loves challenges and setbacks, using them to further fuel her drive. During her down time, she serves as an essayist for paperchoice.org.

What is your opinion of internships? Share about one that was valuable to jump starting your career. Comment in the “Start the Discussion” blank below.


Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow (kurtkirton.com/hthtbook), and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

5 Gutsy Things You Should Flesh Out When Interviewing (Guest Post)

5 Gutsy things to check when interviewing
Photo: Petri Damstén

Everyone has jitters when they go for a job interview, whether it’s the first interview or several into the process. It’s really hard to tell much about the culture of a company in the first interview, especially since their #1 job is to sell the company to you as a great place to work.

Luckily, you—the applicant—are in control and have chosen the company that you’re interviewing with; so do a little extra research. If there are major glaring issues present immediately, run for the hills! Here are 5 great ways or places to take the pulse of day to day life at the company:

  • Visit the bathroom the employees (and you) would use if you took the job. This will tell you about the environment around you and the type people who you’ll work with. If the bathroom is disgusting, out of paper products, or non-functional, this is a bad sign.
  • Check out the place where everyone eats lunch or takes a break. Notice I didn’t specifically say visit the break room because some people might not ever make it in there for lunch because they only have time to eat a snack at their desk as they keep plugging away. If you are looking for a hard grinding investment firm where the only time people stop working the phones is to swill coffee, then that might not a problem. However, if you’re looking for something more relaxed, you might move on.
  • Learn about why the position is open. Did the previous person quit, and if so, why? Or better yet, is it a new role that was recently created?
  • If the person who interviewed you is not who you would directly report to, ask to speak with them as well. Many people state that they do not leave a job, they leave a boss. If the person that you’d work directly for is the reason the position is open, then consider that as well!
  • Speak with as many people who are in your prospective role—or have been in that role—that you can. Ask about the upward mobility of the position. This will be a good indicator of what your future at the company would be like.

There are always going to be bad days, but not all days will be bad. Learning about how the culture of the company really is and more about the role you’re considering can help you make the decision between 2 similar job offers. And the people that you’d work with can make the job miserable or truly exceptional. These are some gutsy moves, but make the effort, and you’ll most likely end up making better decisions and land a role at a company where you’ll be satisfied enough to stay for a while.

More info along these lines: Ten Unmistakable Signs of a Bad Workplace

About the Author: Michael McCoy is the Community Engagement Specialist for Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN).  He has served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for 6 years; currently holding the rank of First Lieutenant and Executive Officer of Bravo Troop 1/278th ACR. At OSDTN Michael works with community groups, companies and individuals to provide opportunities to serve Veterans. Michael’s other leadership experience includes time working in small businesses and professional development, and serving on the board for the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce.

What other gutsy things should someone research when interviewing? Comment in the “Start the Discussion” blank below.


Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow (kurtkirton.com/hthtbook), and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

7 Priorities You Should Address Immediately After a Layoff

7 Priorities You Should Address Immediately After a Layoff
photo by Ellen November

Chair throwing, keying someone’s car, blowing something up. If you’re laid off, these and many other emotions may run through your head in the first few days. And as satisfying as these may be, it’s always more practical to process through your feelings and get your priorities identified and covered. This can give you peace of mind and a place to start the journey into your next opportunity. Let’s look into some of the top things you can do to start cutting through the cloud of thoughts swirling through your head and begin taking your first steps.

  1. Unemployment Benefits – Finances should be a hot priority. Severance pay or not, if you were separated for a qualifying reason (no misconduct, you didn’t quit, etc.) file immediately for your unemployment benefits.
  2. Budget – Make a temporary budget based off your new income, factoring in income from any investments, rental properties, or side business in addition to your unemployment pay.
  3. Insurance – There’s no “off-the-hook since you’re in transition” with an emergency room visit or expensive diagnosis. So I never recommend just winging it without insurance until your next job. You can try to get on your spouse’s policy, choose a policy on your own (a local broker like Dudley Carter 615-415-4328 or perusing a site like Health Insure can help you with this at no extra cost), or if you’re not married, check healthcare.gov for many options (with the government paying part of your monthly premium in most cases based on your estimated income for the next 12 months). Another option is companies like Cowan Benefits that you can find through the COBRA coverage from your current employer. They can help you find a similar plan usually at a lower cost.
  4. Mental Health – Right out of the gate, you probably feel shocked, unappreciated, angry, etc. It’s a good idea to talk to someone besides your spouse, partner, or best friend about these emotions and work through them in order to “get the chip off your shoulder.” Ask for time with your pastor or a Stephen Minister (Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches who can get you in touch with one.), and feel free to meet as regularly as you need. Further, you can Google for job search support groups in your area.
  5. Physical Health – Staying fit is not only good for your body but your mind, mood, and attitude as well. Take this opportunity to start exercising regularly (even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes daily). And keep up the good work if you already have a fitness routine.
  6. Career Coach – Establish a relationship with a Career Coach at your local Department of Labor or a recommended life coach. This person can give you valuable advice on your Action Plan, Résumé’, and current insight into all things job search as you begin to have questions.
  7. Elevator Speech – Very soon at a party, family function, mixer, etc., you’ll have to answer the question, “What do you do?” Craft this 30 second schpiel that will cover your background, key things at which you’re successful, and a few top job titles to represent what you’re seeking and help people begin to keep you in mind as they hear of job openings.

Also, check out these 2 helpful videos:

3 Important Things to do to Get Your Unemployment Benefits Started After a Layoff

Job Loss & Staying Obamacare Compliant

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.