Getting Started Job Search Tips

Land That Entry Level Job in 3 Easy Steps

Written by Miranda Pennington

Sandy Donovan over at the Career One Stop blog has 3 great suggestions for job hunters feeling shut out at the gates. How do you make up for a lack of experience, a job gap, or a stagnant hiring climate in your dream field?


1. Don’t Send Your Resume to Everyone

I know it’s tempting when you’re not getting so much as a nibble, but trying to apply for every job you might be remotely qualified for or could conceivably enjoy is a losing proposition. Your resume should be tailored to every job you apply for, and if you’re sending it out 50 times a day, you’re not taking the time to ensure you’re a great match making a great impression. This doesn’t mean never send it out, it means be smart about sending it out.


2. Network With People in Your Field

Even if your resume doesn’t represent what a great employee you could be—maybe your previous experience isn’t a good match or you had time away from the workforce—you probably know someone who appreciates your potential. And they probably know others in their field who would benefit from a terrific recommended candidate like you.

Talk to literally everyone: use social media, use LinkedIn, and pick up the phone to schedule informational interviews or even quick chats over coffee. Find people who have the kind of job you want, and ask them to tell you what helped them get where they are. Get your name and your best resume in front of as many people in your field as possible.


3. Research Your Industry

Don’t expect your personal connections to do all the work for you—it’s your responsibility to explore all your options. Look into professional associations and certifications for your field, know what to expect with your salary potential, and identify local business and prospective clients. Know your industry and know yourself, so that when you finally get the call, you can interview as a well-informed, astute candidate.


About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.