As twenty-somethings, there are times in our lives when we might be graduating and looking for that first big job, wanting to do the best at our current career, or deciding that the career path we first chose isn’t what we currently want. Odds are, you are going through one of these, or will at some point before you hit thirty. It’s all new and might be a little scary or confusing since there is no right answer. It’s whatever brings us happiness. Hopefully these guidelines will help lead you to the right decision for YOU!
Getting your foot in the door
You thought this day would never come, but it has! You have finally graduated and it’s time to search for your first big job. First of all, before you even start the search, it’s important to have a LinkedIn profile and a resume completely updated and ready to be looked at.
A LinkedIn profile will help the employers find out more about you. Make sure your profile picture is professional, this isn’t Facebook or Instagram. Wear something in the picture that you would wear to an interview, and be sure to have a simple background so you can stand out. Everything in your resume will be placed into your LinkedIn. You can also add awards, volunteer experience, etc. The more information you put, the better. As your LinkedIn grows, so will your endorsements and references. These are great, because endorsements and references show that others agree on your skills.
As far as your resume goes, find a template that matches the industry that you’re going into. For example, if you’re wanting a graphic design job or any creative job, your resume should not only show your skills and prior experience, but your creativity as well. It should look different from someone who is wanting a job in accounting. Don’t forget to have an online portfolio to show. If you’re not looking in the creative industry, just be sure to keep your resume clean and straight to the point. Employers only look at a resume for 45 seconds or less – so if it’s too wordy, they will just skip through.
(Tip: list your experience chronologically starting with your most recent position).
There have been different rules for a cover letter – have your cover letter in an attached document like your resume, or have your cover letter in the body of the email. My suggestion is to keep it in the body of the email. Employers don’t want to spend the time opening up attachments. Keep the cover letter short. In one paragraph (only one!) tell them why you would be a perfect fit and help their company grow. Your resume and LinkedIn will do the rest of the talking.
Now your resume looks great, your LinkedIn is updated, and you’re ready to apply! A good resource would be the career services department at your college. They usually have a list of companies that post jobs for new graduates. You can also search broad keywords that relate to your industry. For example, “Graphic Design Company Charlotte North Carolina.” This will list most of Charlotte’s companies that have graphic design departments. If the company doesn’t have a page listing their open positions and you really like them, apply anyway. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They actually might see something that you can bring to their company. Also, websites such as, Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, Careerbuilder.com, and Simplyhired.com are great tools to use when looking for a job. Don’t forget that there are a lot of recruiting firms whose sole purpose is to help people find their dream career.
Looking for a job can seem time-consuming, which many times it can be, but just remember to take it day by day and stay at it. It will all fall into place!
Succeeding at your current job
That moment when you find out you’ve just been hired – it’s a great feeling! You’re excited, feeling confident, and motivated. You’re ready to get in there and give it your all!
It’s important to get noticed, whether it’s for your work or your opinions. It can be intimidating to be in a room full of people in higher leadership positions, but if you have an idea, share it. It’s okay if they turn your ideas down the first few times, the important thing is that you’re being proactive in meetings and letting people hear you and notice you. Always try to have good time management. Be the first person there and the last one to leave. Believe me when I say that people notice. It shows that you care and are dedicated to your work.
Put yourself out there and meet other people in different departments. Get to know their positions and what they do. It’s important to understand the whole company and what goes into it. Being friendly and approachable will get you far in life!
How to switch from one job to the next:
You’ve come to the realization that your current job just isn’t for you anymore, and that’s okay! Now is the time to think about what you would rather do and how to get there. Think about the skills you’re good at and what you’re passionate about. Take the previous steps I gave with job searching and apply them to yourself again. This means you may need to update your resume or LinkedIn.
It’s okay to want something different. As we grow, so do our passions. Just be sure to stay professional throughout the transition. Always give a two weeks’ notice and be sure to let your new job know your situation. Stay connected with old employers because you never know how life will go – you will need recommendations and you may want to keep a friendship there.
Throughout life there are going to be life changing situations we go through, but with all situations, you can do it with grace and succeed.