Of course you’re nervous when you are looking for your first job. You haven’t ever done this before and there seems to be all this pressure looming around you regarding a lack of experience. You fear you’ll make an idiot of yourself. You can’t imagine how you are “hirable.” The truth is that we place too much importance on the wrong things. We think we have to come off as some perfect professional person. All job seekers do well with two crucial ideas in mind- sincerity and a positive approach to challenge. Seasoned job hunters and first-time job hunters needs these things equally, so don’t let yourself feel singled out. Right now, we’ll flesh out some practical ideas to make your first job hunt a success.

#1. Aim for professionalism but don’t stress about it

Yes, being professional is a great and important thing, but if you stress out about it and/or try to act in some way that is completely abnormal for you, your attempts can backfire. Do be conscientious when talking to hiring managers. Make sure you are in a quiet place when on the phone. At the interview, pay attention to the hiring manager rather than nervously or uninterestedly staring at everything else available to look at in the room.

Tip- What treatment do you think most people would expect when they are talking about something important? The rules of human conduct aren’t much different for job interviews.

#2. Be an “I can” person.

Employers like people who take a positive approach to challenges. You can help build this skill by looking for the “I can” in situations, even if you can’t see the way to accomplish the task yet. Most of the time people discover the solutions to problems by simply being really dedicated to finding one. They didn’t just magically have the answer at the start.

Tip – If they ask you if you know how to do something, don’t say no, rather say that you’d like to learn.

#3. Follow the cues of the hiring manager.

If they seem to be reserved and business-like, then try to keep the more colorful sides of your personality in check. If they are friendly and seem to be talking like any other person with you, go for it. Well, try to show about the same amount of openness as they are. Don’t take one silly or off-topic comment and mistake it for an opportunity to lose all your restraint.

Tip- Another person’s attitude is a good gauge for what they like and respond well to. This will probably give you a clue as to the company’s “culture” and what it will be like to work at that job every day. If that person has an important job there, they probably fit in pretty well.

#4. Think about the type of job you’re applying for.

Consider the image of the company. If you’re applying to a sales job or a company with a lively image, somewhere that personality is a big selling point, then let loose. Your zaniness may be exactly what they are looking for. If the environment is more rigid and strict, try to act accordingly.

Tip- If either of these qualifications is too difficult of a task for you, don’t let it get you down. It may simply be that you need to look for a different kind of job. You are supposed to be able to a version of yourself at your job, maybe not the full spectrum of your personality, but you. Don’t waste it. Make good use of it.

#5. Highlight your skills

Okay, you don’t have previous job experience, but you do have some life experience. Things have happened to you. You have a personality. You have goals. Sell that. In job interviews, every applicant regardless of their previous experience, gets asked questions to find out what they are like and how they will perform in their job. These questions often have to do with how you handle criticism or obstacles, what your strengths are, and how you have handled conflict in the past. Anyone can answer these questions. Maybe you resolved a conflict with a sibling or friend or you have a story about how you weren’t doing so well in a class so you studied harder and improved your grade.

Tip- You can also add to this list before or during your job hunt through charity work and trying on new hobbies. If you are insecure about your strengths, start a project with goals and work for those goals. Stretch yourself. Do something new. The more it has to do with other people and public responsibilities, the more conventionally impressive it’ll be, but start from where you are at and what your strengths are and work from there.

Businesses really do care who you are, because it is your personal strengths you have to offer the company. Be authentic, while tweaking your ability to sell who you are from its most attractive and compatible angle. Believe that it is okay to be learning rather than to already know everything. No reasonable manager actually expects anyone to know everything or be perfect. Your attitude is much more important.


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