Looking for your first job? 5 steps to take

Careers, Jobseeker / 17 November 2021

Whether you’re a school leaver or a graduate, looking for your first job can be a challenge. You don’t have any work experience to offer. There’s no list of professional references for you to call on. You might not even know what you want to do for a living.

If the thought of finding your first job is overwhelming, why not break the process down into five easy-to-follow steps?

Looking for your first job


What do you want and what do you need?

Of course, what you want is your dream career but along with the actual job, you might also want:

  • to work full-time, part-time, or on a shift pattern
  • a specific salary and benefits package
  • to choose where you work, be that on-site, at home, or a mixture of the two

Some of these details may not be attainable in your first job but knowing what you want is a great place to start.

Now, what do you need? What pay must you earn each month as a minimum? What hours are you available to work? Can you only work from the office or is remote working essential?


Do your research

There are three areas of research that will help you find a job at any stage in your career. These are:



You may already know what you want to do for a living but there is no harm in researching that job. You may be surprised to find out what is involved, or it may simply confirm that this is the right role for you.

If you don’t know what you want to do, start with your skills and qualifications. What jobs are they a good match for? For instance, a degree in maths could equally lead to a career in teaching or working as a statistician.

Visit the National Careers Service to assess your skills and research a wide range of career profiles.



Your job search shouldn’t simply focus on the job. What employers would you like to work for? Your choice might be down to the career opportunities they provide, the salary they pay, or the culture of the company. Visit their website and have a look around.


What’s happening where you live?

If you want to find employment in the area where you live, this area of research can be invaluable in your job search. Scour the local news to find out whether any new companies are opening in the area and which companies are expanding their workforce. Your research will also flag up which local companies are in trouble, closing down, or just not a suitable match for you.


Create a Career Plan

It might seem too early to create a career plan when you haven’t landed your first job yet, but this is the ideal time to get started.

A career plan will help you keep track of what you have achieved and maintain your focus on where you want to go. Here’s what to include:

  • the date it began
  • current status, e.g. graduate looking for first job
  • a personal statement that lays out what you want to achieve next; just one paragraph will do, for instance, a computer science graduate seeking an entry-level developer role in an innovative organisation that matches my values.
  • your goals – short-term (next three to six months), medium-term (six to 12 months), long-term (over 1 year)
  • the steps you can take to accomplish your goals with a deadline for each step

Remember, this is your plan. Nobody else has to see it.


Create your CV

Even with little to no work experience, your CV can still prove a useful tool when searching for your first job. It’s also a requirement for most job applications.

Your CV should include:

  • your personal details
  • your personal statement (a version of the one you wrote for your career plan)
  • work experience, for instance, a part-time student job, summer job, or internship
  • achievements such as voluntary work, fundraising, or anything else that you think an employer might want to know
  • education
  • hobbies and interests

The key to creating a CV when you don’t have a vast history of work experience is to focus on the skills you can bring from your education, achievements, and experiences to date. The skills you might flag up include customer service, communication, writing, IT, or leadership. All of these are transferable to a workplace scenario.

Create an overall CV to post on online job boards but each time you send off a job application, remember to alter your CV to suit the requirements of that specific vacancy.


Apply for that job

Now that you know what you want and need, have researched the job market, created your career plan, and written a CV, the next step is to start applying.

Where will you find jobs?

  • your local Job Centre
  • adverts in local and national press
  • online job boards like JobLookup
  • recruitment agencies
  • LinkedIn

The more jobs you apply for, the more familiar you will become with the process and learn how best to present yourself to an employer. So what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than now.

If you’re ready to look for your first job, we can help. Visit JobLookup today to begin your search.

People Also Read

Popular Jobs
There are no jobs.