Applying for your first job can be tough. It’s tough because there’s a good chance you have no idea what you’re doing. Fortunately for you, it’s not rocket science and there are plenty of tips out there that will help you through the process. That said, here are four things you should know before applying for your first job.
Do your research.
This one sounds obvious. However, many individuals fail to do the necessary research on the companies they are applying for. Before you even consider filling out the application you need to do your research. Find out what the company does, what their vision is, what position(s) you’re interested in, and who works for them. If you start to lose interest in the company during your research, then it’s probably a sign that it’s not a good fit. If you just hurried to fill out the application, you’d end up wasting your time and theirs.
Before you head into the interview, always ask who you’re going to be speaking with. If you get names, research them on LinkedIn and try to learn as much as you can about them. When you come into the meeting, make some small talk about some of their accomplishments. It will help break the ice and show the interviewer you’ve spent the time to research the company.
Be honest on your resume.
When you’re creating your resume, it’s common to go a little overboard with the self-promotion. If you embellish or lie on your resume, there’s a good chance it’ll come back to haunt you. That said, it’s imperative that you build an honest resume.
There are ways to showcase your skills and accomplishments without having to exaggerate them. Companies are used to seeing flashy resumes all day. What truly stands out is who you are as a person. Your resume will get you the interview, the interview will get you the job.
Leverage your connections.
I can’t stress this one enough. There’s a reason why it feels like the best jobs go to those who have an inside connection. That’s because it’s true. A personal connection to an executive at the company you want to work for is as good as it gets.
Once you’ve gathered the list of companies you want to work for, build a list of personal connections to those companies. Start by asking around with family and friends. We all know how much your family likes to ask about your job. Let them know you’re on the hunt, and to keep an eye out for any potential connections.
Additionally, you can use LinkedIn to try and find mutual connections. With so many resources at your fingertips, you really shouldn’t have an excuse.
Don’t lose sight of your long-term goals.
This is really important for first-timers. You need to remember that this is your first job, not your last. Maybe it wasn’t your first choice, or maybe you wanted the sales position instead of marketing. Regardless what your reservation is, you need to remember this is just a stepping stone in your entire life’s journey.
That all said, you can’t lose sight of your long-term goals. View everything is an opportunity to add value. As you gain new skills and experience you’ll only become a more desirable candidate for other jobs in the future.
Before you apply for that next job, make sure you read the four tips listed above. They will help you throughout this hiring process, and every one to come.
This article originally appeared in Due.