Job Hunting for First-Timers

Written by: Johanna Lopez, CCPA Media Assistant

Edited by: Dalton Rogers, CCPA Student Assistant

Posted by: Serena Nguyen, CCPA Media Assistant

My first time job hunting was not a success. I was not prepared for the competitive task of job finding. I didn’t have valuable work experience, an attractive resume, a well-written cover letter, or professional references. This led me to applying to jobs that didn’t require any of those things. As you may have guessed, I didn’t land any jobs. This year, with help from a knowledgeable friend, I was able to apply for jobs that suited my skills and experiences. I crafted a resume and cover letter, and discovered that I did have important references. The job-hunting process may seem long and tedious, but if it is done correctly and with effort, success won’t be far out of reach.

Here are some tips to help you in your job hunt:

1. Build a resume that will stand out.

Resume writing can be tricky when you have either too few skills or experiences, or when you have a lot of them. What helped me build my resume was to first list every volunteer, work, and leadership experience I have ever had, along with all of my notable skills, such as second language fluency and computer skills. Once I had my list, I narrowed it down to those that would stand out the most to a potential employer.

Although I was worried at first that I did not have enough work experience, I realized that I had gained many skills through my volunteer and leadership experiences. If you don’t have much work experience, make sure to highlight the relevant skills you’ve acquired in extracurricular activities. These can be just as meaningful as professional experiences.

2. Take advantage of the cover letter.

Before applying to on campus jobs last semester, I had never heard of a cover letter. I didn’t know what it was or what it was for. This discouraged me to apply to jobs my first year in college. Don’t let this happen to you! Cover letters can help give you the boost you need to be hired. With my cover letter, I was able to tell the employer more about myself and why I was a great candidate for the position. In your cover letter, you should explain your interest in the position and what it is that you have to offer them. An organized, well-written cover letter can make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

3. Ace the interview.

Getting called for an interview is the next big step to being hired. The interview process can be nerve wracking. I recommend that you use the interview prep resource found on the Career Center website at hire.ucmerced.edu to perfect your interview skills. This resource will help you get an idea of what an interviewer will be asking you. Another prep idea is to have a friend or a career consultant give you a mock interview. Overall, the most important thing to remember for an interview is to be yourself and to let your professional persona show!

These were the steps that I followed during my job-hunting experience the second time around and I was able to secure a good job on campus. For extra help or for additional perspectives on the job-hunt, you can attend the many workshops hosted by the Career Center on campus, in addition to meeting with our career consultants. Come see us today to land that job!

Happy hunting!