Applying and getting your first job or internship can be a really nerve-racking time. You’re putting yourself out there and making yourself vulnerable to rejection. To make matters even scarier, these situations can feel life-or-death—and if you desperately need the money, they can be. But even if they’re not literally life-or-death, it can feel like if you don’t get this internship you won’t be able to follow the rest of your life’s trajectory. That’s especially how it can feel if you’re just out of college and feeling the pressures of the real world.
I’ve been in this position. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get that much less nerve wracking as you gain experience and move on to your second and third and nth jobs. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources out there to help you. This list is our collection of the resources we’ve created. And throughout the existence of TEEP, we’ll explore other ways people have gotten to their positions, and will expand on what job-seeking means. But for now, enough on the preface. Here’s our collected tips on how to get your first job or internship.
Clean Up Your Social Media
The first step to applying for a job or internship should be cleaning up your social media. Maybe this means deleting any inappropriate posts you’ve made, maybe it means putting yourself on private, maybe it means creating a finsta. Either way, your public social media should be something that you’re ok with your potential employers seeing.
Also, you should have a LinkedIn page, as another form of your resume (below). See this article we wrote on how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
Finding Somewhere to Apply
Trying to find a job usually means looking through dozens of sites and ending up frustrated, even for the most capable of job searchers. Here are a few of our favorite sites you can start your search on:
- Barefoot Student
- Handshake (If you’re in University and they have a database)
All of these allow you to search by keywords, location, time commitment, and pay scale, among other things. The company’s posting the job listings will also have profiles that give you some information on the business you’re applying for. Indeed and Handshake also let you link your LinkedIn profile as a way to apply.
Putting together a resume is one of the first things job postings will ask for, and it can be hard to do regardless of whether or not you already have some experience. But all you have to do is get creative with some of the experiences you have had, even if you wouldn’t have considered them as “job experience” originally. This includes volunteer work, school clubs, extracurriculars, or even class assignments.
For an inclusive look at writing a resume, read our article on writing a resume even when you don’t have any experience, and see an example of what a resume looks like.
The Cover Letter
Just like the rest of the application process, cover letters can be annoying. Normally they’re there for employers to see that you’re willing to put in the extra effort, which they take as being more interested in the job. Keep a formal tone and maintain the idea that your experience can apply to their position.
Fortunately, as long as you follow our simple format, it’s something you can—and will eventually have to—do.
The Phone Interview
Phone interviews usually feel less terrible than in-person interview, mostly because you don’t actually have to get dressed for them, go to the place, deal with clammy hands, or think about making eye-contact. However, they’re their own ball-park of interview stress and require their own preparation. The most important part is actually answering the call and treating it with as much importance as the eventual in-person one you’ll hopefully have.
Here’s our expansive article on how to handle them.
The In-Person Interview
All of the horrible things I listed in the last paragraph do, in fact, exist here. In-person interviews make most peoples’ lists of terrifying things to do, but they don’t have to feel panic-inducing. Remind yourself that you’re qualified for the position, or at the very least, you’re qualified to be in that room, even if they don’t go with you. You should also make sure to read up on the company you’re interviewing for, and come prepared with some questions to ask at the end of the interview.
If you prepare and follow our handy guide, you’ll be handling them like a pro in no time.
Accepting and Rejecting an Offer
Now, theoretically, the dream is to get the offer for the jobs you’ve been doing all this preparation for.
Theoretically, you also get more offers than you may need. Rejecting an offer isn’t just ghosting the employer (or it shouldn’t be), but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. At least you’re not dumping an ex! Here’s what to look out for in an offer and how to accept (or reject) it.
And You’ve Done It!
Getting your first job is exciting and terrifying all at the same time—getting any position is exciting and terrifying at the same time! It’s a time of transition, and that puts all of us in a place where we’re not quite comfortable and don’t feel stable. But most transitions are good things, and all transitions will end up okay. It’s just a matter of preparation, self-confidence, and an open mind. (And maybe TEEP in your bookmark bar).