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How to Land Your First Job

Getting your first job takes a little work; learn how to get it done.

Getting your first job is a huge deal. Not only are you entering the job market for the first time, but you’re also starting to develop your independence from your parents or other guardian adults in your life.

But getting your first job can feel intimidating. You’ve never applied before, and you’ll be going through your first interview and all the paperwork. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help streamline the process and make getting your first paycheck a breeze!

Where to start?student job apllications

Before you start looking for a job, ask yourself a few questions. How will you get to and from work? How many hours a week do you plan to work? What is the minimum you’re willing to work for? Would you rather do a manual job or work more with people?

If you don’t have reliable access to a vehicle, you’ll need to find someplace you can get to on foot, bike, or public transit.

Some businesses are better at offering flexible hours than others. A mega store might not have as much flexibility as a local grocery store.

Many places are hiring well above minimum wage right now, but they might expect more hours than you can provide. Look at your budget and goals and see how much you might need.

If you’re not comfortable around people, a retail or serving job isn’t a good fit. Stocking at a grocery store would probably be more in your wheelhouse. And vise-versa for the extroverts. Think about your personality and your skills.

Use your experience

If you’re applying for your first job, you don’t have any job experience. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have experience that will help you land a job. Tout your grades or school sports. If you’ve volunteered, you should also put that down.

Are you applying to a pizza place to make pizza? Mention that you enjoy cooking and give relevant experience—maybe you’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen, tell them.

Are you good at math? That’s a good skill to have if you’re applying to be a cashier.

Do you spend time down at the retirement home reading to the elderly? Then you’ll be great at helping them at the grocery store!

Whatever jobs you’re looking at, be sure to highlight the experience that is relevant to the position on your resume.

And speaking of resumes, make sure you have someone proofread it and that you’re not missing any pertinent information.

Ask around

If you’re having trouble finding a job, ask anyone you know. Maybe you can do odd jobs around the neighborhood. It doesn’t take much to become a dog walker or clean out gutters.

But you’ll also learn networking, and that is important going forward in life when it comes to your career.

Networking will also help you find jobs that you might not see. There are tons of small businesses in industrial parks that need someone for a few hours here and there. Ask friends, ask neighbors; someone will know of something.


When you go into an interview, do some research before you walk through the doors. Have a few questions ready to go. It might not seem important, but employers are mostly looking for effort out of first-time workers. Showing a small amount of effort will often put you miles ahead of other candidates.

The paperwork

Starting a new job means a lot of paperwork. Most of the paperwork is going to be tax stuff. Be careful.

We’re going to say that again: be very careful when filling out paperwork when starting a new job. It’s not that you can’t fix mistakes, but it just becomes a challenge.

Save yourself the time and make sure you get it right from the start. It’s not a race.

Other than that, good luck looking for your first job!

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