8 Steps to Landing Your First Job


Whether you are straight out of college or just wrapping up your one year mandatory national service program, the foremost thing on your mind (obviously) is to land a great job.  

You’ve got big dreams and a bright future ahead of you. You’ve got bills to pay, a commitment to redeem and a family that looks up to you. Landing a job as quickly as possible is all you can think about. As always, we are with you in this and excited to help you successfully navigate this stage of your life.

For a start, we have put together eight steps that will up your chances of landing your first full-time job within the shortest possible time. While we cannot promise that it would be easy, we can assure you that it would be worth it. 

Below are the eight steps that would get you hired quicker than you’d think:

  1. Develop an Action Plan: Landing your first job is more smart work than hard work While it may sound nice to send out your resume and cover letter to every organization and for every role hoping that a benevolent recruiter or hiring manager would consider you for the job, it may not not yield the results you want and as quickly as you want. 

    You need a plan. What careers are you tailored for? What kind of work are you passionate about? What kind of organizations would you like to work with? Where do you see yourself in five years? What roles do you need to fill now to gain the skills you would require for the future? By answering these questions honestly, you would be able to determine your long term and short term goals as well as plans to achieve your goals.

    Wondering how to go about developing a career action plan? Check out this Career Action Plan Template for career starters.

  2. Take a Company-First Approach: Using the company-first approach is great for many reasons. First, different organizations are calling jobs different things these days. For instance, if you decide to search for a job as a human resource manager, you may miss out on opportunities requiring a people manager or talent expert. If you pursue the company rather than the role, you’d be more strategic and efficient in your job search and more likely to land a job you would love.

    Furthermore, going after a company instead of a role means you can land jobs that align with your goals and provide you with a holistic experience. This way, you would not be stuck with a job you hate. Check out this Guide to the Company-First Approach.

  3. Revamp your Job Search Tools: It is amazing how individuals have an all-rounder resume for every job. Your resume/ CV and cover letter are not a summary of your school and work life. They are supposed to be a marketing tool. They are that one thing that tells the hiring manager or recruiter who you are and why you’d be a great fit for a particular role.

    If landing a job is your goal, you would have to take another look at your job search tools (resume, cover letter, recommendations and even LinkedIn profile) and make them up to date, interesting and on-point. Learn the basics of writing resumes and cover letters that stand out.

  4. Apply (and track your applications): Finding a job is a job on its own! And tracking each application you send out is the sure way to streamlining your job search and knowing what to do and where to look per time.

    Searching for a job? Keep applying to roles that match your experience and qualifications. At each point, ensure you have at least four active applications. This Job Search Tracker would help you keep things organized.

    Also remember that you have got one chance to apply for a job. So, before you hit submit, go over your application again. Ensure you’ve followed all instructions outlined in the job posting and that all spelling and grammatical errors are corrected. You may want to run it by a friend or mentor to cross check or simply use Grammarly.

    Check out the Four Things to do Before Applying for Any Role

  5. Clean Up Your Social Media: These days, many recruiters are looking to social media to have an idea of what kind of individual they’d be employing. Take advantage of this. Remove posts that may be perceived as inappropriate by recruiters from your social media platforms. Make your Instagram private if you’d rather not delete your favourite party pictures. Get your LinkedIn to be active again. Update the information on it and do well to detail your responsibilities and accomplishments in previous roles. 

    Make your LinkedIn Recruiter-Ready with these tips.

  6. Network: Employers are leaning more heavily than ever on their own employees to help find and recruit exceptional talent. This makes having someone in the company you’d love to work with the game changer you will require to land that job. If you don’t know anyone in the company, LinkedIn can be a great way to get in. Check out these tips for Getting an “IN” in your dream company

  7. Be Prepared: It is great to have a plan. However if you are not prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that would come your way as you follow through with your plan of landing a job, you may never hit your target.

    The goal of all you have done from 1 to 6 is to get you an interview. Now that you are one leg in, you should be able to impress whoever is interviewing you. This however can only come from being prepared. Prepare for Interviews Like a Pro with these tips.

  8. Recast your net: It is possible that your dream organizations may not have an open vacancy or that you do not get picked for the jobs you applied for. However, it is not the time to lose hope. It is the time to recast your net, look deeper, keep searching for jobs and companies that have what you are looking for or something close to what you are looking for and apply. The goal is to keep applying until you land a job you’d love.

Jobsearch, StudentsJoy Lamptey