Category Archives: Applying For Jobs

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

4 Tips for New Grads

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

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 (, and subscribe to my blog ( for free advice on your job search.

Is Civil Engineering The Field For You? (Guest Post)

Civil Engineering/Grad AustraliaFrom designing and constructing to supervising and maintaining buildings, there is plenty that a civil engineer can do.

Are you interested in becoming a civil engineer? Before venturing into any field it’s important for you to consider the pros and cons of it. Most people assume that if a job has a lot of scope and has a good salary package to go with it— that it’s a good choice. Not necessarily!

Several students frequently complain of how they have chosen subjects that do not really match their interests despite those subjects being very lucrative professionally. This means that in addition to the scope of whatever you are studying, it’s equally important for you to know whether or not you have the aptitude for it as well.

Civil Engineering: The Aptitude

Before thinking about starting your civil engineering studies (and eventually your civil engineering career) it will do you a lot of good to determine if you have what it takes to be a competent civil engineer.

If you have clear mathematical concepts, a sound base of science and technology, a creative streak, and a passion designing various structural buildings then civil engineering the right career choice for you!

General skills like problem-solving, strong communication skills, the ability to think and analyze things critically, conducting research and handling the data, interpreting, etc., are obviously a huge plus.

Civil Engineering Jobs

Once you obtain a degree in civil engineering, there are plenty of fields in which you could be of service. You could work as a building control surveyor, consulting civil engineer,  water engineer, nuclear engineer, site engineer, structural engineer, or contracting civil engineer.

Then there are certain jobs for you to explore which may not be directly related to the field of civil engineering, but in which your degree could be useful. For example several civil engineers are working as environmental consultants, suitability consultants, building services engineers, etc.

So as you can see, the scope of civil engineering careers is actually quite vast. However, to  land a good position, you need to be a little patient. As a fresh civil engineering graduate your first priority should be to gain as much as practical experience in civil engineering as you can.

So don’t worry if you don’t get that lucky break and immediately snag an amazing civil engineering job just after graduating. You can always start small and work your way up to bigger better civil engineering positions.

As a general rule of thumb, keep checking the websites of various construction firms and companies to see if they announce any job openings so that you may apply immediately. Sign up for various job employment websites online as well. Employers regularly update their job posts with the criteria and skills required for a particular job, deadlines til you can apply for that job, and the salary package being offered for that job.

–by Grad Australia (GAU)

Why You Should “Backdoor” Your Résumé After Applying For A Job

Why and How You Should Backdoor Your Resume After a Job Application
Photo by Irwin Reynolds

Applying online for positions, be it at the employer’s Web site or via a site like Careerbuilder, should be a part of any job seeker’s strategy. True, most folks get their job by networking, but like my first job for a record label in Nashville, you never know when that online application you did last week will land you the job you want.

With just a little time and detective work, you can give yourself an advantage over nearly everyone else who applied. Here’s how.

Avoid calling. Use LinkedIn to find someone at the company who is probably the hiring manager for this position, and e-mail a brief note with your résumé and cover letter attached.

Sometimes this a great bypass of the HR screening process. Sometimes it’s a good double-hit, showing initiative, interest, and thoroughness if, for instance, it’s a small company or division with no in-house HR department.

As you peruse LinkedIn, if you see you have a close colleague who works at the company, you could backdoor through that person. If you don’t know anyone, look to see if the person you choose has worked anywhere you have before. That makes a great introduction in the beginning of your e-mail. If you can’t find anyone who might be at a hiring manager level, send it to someone in the same department as the job opening.

Naturally, most people want to help. But make it easy for them to do so…think about when you are working and someone who’s in transition asks for your help. Be polite but specific with your request. For example, I asked a former coworker, Matt, to 1) put in a good word for me at his current company (with the hiring manager if he knew who that was) and 2) forward my résumé and cover letter after I applied online. This is the standard backdoor message I work from:

Dear ____,
After having seen the posting for the ____ position you are seeking to fill, I just applied via ____ ((method.)) In addition, I wanted to make sure my résumé and cover letter are seen by someone in the ____ department. If you are not the hiring manager for this position, I would appreciate it if you would forward this e-mail to him or her. Thank you very much for your time and help.

((your name here))

Then, make the e-mail subject line something like, “Hi (recipient’s name); could you help?” Most people like to help – especially when it doesn’t take too much time or is not that difficult. Including the recipient’s first name will help avoid any suspicions your e-mail is simple spam.

When you completely can’t find anyone to e-mail, there’s no general e-mail address listed at the web site, and you don’t want to call, here’s another idea. If the company has a Contact Us page with fields to fill in to e-mail them, do this: With most browsers, right-click, and choose “View Page Source” to reveal the html code. Then, press Ctrl-F to search for “@”. This may show you the general e-mail address. is a good example where this technique works. Then you can e-mail your backdoor message with attachments.

Sometimes, like with Craigslist job postings, you won’t know the company at all. In this case, don’t fret about not being able to backdoor. Just use your spreadsheet to keep up with the TO e-mail address you used when you applied, and e-mail your follow up to the same address.

If you’re concerned about the legality of backdooring, know this: After checking with several HR professionals, I found that most companies do have a reporting stipulation that requires them to have accurate demographics of those who apply for positions, and HR usually expects applicants to come through them.

Although some companies have more stringent policies regarding what should happen when a manager or employee receives your résumé (as far as turning it over to HR), you should absolutely backdoor it after you apply the traditional way. Applying through the “front door” should assuage any concern about fairness or regulations.

If you are fortunate enough to get your résumé in front of the hiring manager for a position you want—and if you’re qualified, the job is actually open and you made a good impression—it could only be to your benefit to backdoor. If the hiring manager is impressed and wants to hire you, HR is unlikely to hinder the process. If you’re on the receiving end of a résumé regarding a position at your company, check to see what your HR department’s policy is in this situation.


Don’t miss a thing. Subscribe to receive updates by email.
Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.