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Preparing for a first job can be fun and challenging

The job market will soon be flooded with new college graduates looking for a job. All the years of preparation, hopes and dreams for the future on the brink of being fulfilled. You are about to start out on your first real job. 

Tempering the excitement with the reality of what lies ahead begins the process. You want to do well. It’s a scary world you are about to enter. Many changes are ahead as you embark on your adulthood.

Many things are involved in finding a job. Searching, resume writing, interviewing, etc. are all necessary parts of the process ahead. Many  more sources are available than in the past, thanks to technology. Different types of jobs can be found by perusing traditional venues, such as classified ads in newspapers and checking with the State Employment Service. Many online services like Indeed, Monster and LinkedIn have become very popular places used by employers for recruitment and for potential employees conducting searches as to what is available. Glassdoor is also a popular website. It offers information on average pay scales and other information. Be cognizant of experience that is required for pay comparisons. 

Some colleges and universities provide information on available positions in your field of work. Utilize their assistance for referrals in your job search. Don’t overlook personal and professional contacts. 

It can be tough work to sort through all the sources but perseverance is important as you go through unfamiliar territory.  Some ideas that will help follow.


Tailor your resume for the job you are seeking.

Use key words. Many companies utilize applicant tracking systems to screen applicants.

Have someone review your resume. Ensure it is                                       grammatically correct.

It should be no longer than two pages, preferably only one.


Manage your job search.

Job boards, job listings by area, plus Facebook can often render prospective positions. LinkedIn is a valuable resource and is strictly a professional site, not like Facebook which has a myriad of topics, including personal postings.


Use your network to seek out the right types of opportunities.


Learn all you can about the company.


Complete applications completely even though you may            have listed everything on your resume.


Practice interviewing skills with an experienced recruiter.

Dress appropriately for interview. There is only one opportunity to make a good first impression.


Once you have landed a job, then focus on retention. Always put your best foot forward even though you may not have landed your dream job. Your performance and actions will follow you for your entire career. 

Treat everyone with dignity and respect. There are no insignificant jobs. Mind your manners. Conduct yourself with the utmost integrity and ethical standards.

Be willing to assist in duties not specifically in your job description. Offer to help others. Be on time to work. Be flexible. Don’t complain or whine. Volunteer for projects.

Be willing to work beyond your regular hours when needed. Be open and willing to be trained.  Learning is a lifelong process. 

Maintain an open mind.  If you have discovered the job you landed is not right for you, still give it your best until you find another job. It is always easier to find another job while you are employed. Leave on good terms and don’t burn any bridges.

Don’t make a hasty decision to leave. There may be other positions within the same company that would be a better fit for you. Speak well of your employer or don’t speak at all. Disparaging comments won’t help in finding another job and often will come back to haunt you.    

Maintain a positive attitude and recognize that you may have areas that need improvement. Beginning your career can be fun and exciting but also has its challenges. Make the best of your situation and you will benefit from the experience.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.