#adulting | The 5 steps to landing your first real job.

The hardest job of your career to land is the first one. The competition is fierce, and it’s so hard to get that foot in the door. Never fear, we here at FathomBlog have the 5 key steps to land your first ‘real’ job.


Now, keep in mind that each of these steps has many sub-steps. We’ll give each step its own post to do it justice, so look at this as an introduction to landing a great job. We’ve spent years and countless hours helping twenty-somethings launch their careers. Here’s what we know to be the essential list of steps to take.

  1. Build your resume right. You won’t even get a look without having a decent resume. Most H.R. departments and hiring supervisors spend 30-60 seconds looking at your resume before deciding whether to cut you or keep you till the next round. Your content and formatting make all the difference. More on this in a later post, but in general:
    • Keep it to one page
    • Make it fit industry standards
    • Tailor the content to the job description
    • Quantify your experience (be specific with the results of your work).
    • Have a more seasoned veteran in your field give you feedback.
    • Proofread it. Proofread it again. Have someone else proofread it. Seriously, proofread it.
  2. Conduct a social media audit on yourself. . . NOW. The majority of employers research candidates’ social media presence. More than half that do say they’ve found things on social media profiles that have caused them not to hire applicants. Look at everything you post online (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and look at it through the lens of a potential employer. Change your privacy settings accordingly. Oh, and get a LinkedIN account (we’ll have an entire post devoted to this). It’s not just boring Facebook for the middle-aged.
  3. Network, network, network. It’s cute that you made the honor roll. But you need to know that 80% of all jobs (yes, 80%) are found through networking. You have to network, face to face and on the phone. And networking takes time. Serious time. Plan accordingly and embrace the grind. All it takes is the one, right lead to land you that job.
  4. Professionalize your wardrobe. Now, I’m sure that 70s style Goodwill suit killed at the last themed party…but it’s not suitable (see what I did there) for interviewing. You need to invest in a professional suit (blue or grey for men, pantsuit for women) if working in a professional environment. You likely won’t need to wear it everyday…but your interview dress needs to be above your work dress. Spend a little bit of money and get a suit that fits you well.
  5. Practice your interviews. Think about it. If you were an athlete, how much practice went into a game? If you were in theatre or musical performance, how important were the rehearsals? The same principle applies to the interview. Practice first. Simulate the environment as much as possible. When it’s time for the real deal, you’ll perform much better.

Commit to doing these 5 steps well, and you’ll put yourself in excellent position to launch your career.

If you’re struggling to find that first job, honestly ask yourself: Have I tended well to these steps? 

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