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Job Hunting Advice for the First Time Student

If you’re new to the working world with no experience, no references, and are driven by the sole purpose of getting any job that comes your way, job hunting is gonna be tough. I haven’t updated my blog for the past few weeks because I’ve been busily working on my resume, writing cover letters, and applying for jobs. The whole process took a lot longer and was more difficult than I had anticipated (and is ongoing, since I still haven’t been hired). So, here are some things I’ve learned from the past few weeks that I thought I’d share for any first-student-job-hunters. Here are three things you’ll need to have to get a job:

1. Resume. Write a good resume. It will take time, and it will take a lot of mental effort to conger up with the right magic words that will sell you to an employer. Don’t fret. There are many valuable resources online to aid you. One great resources for general resume, cover letter, and job interview tips is ResumeBear.com. This blog has all sorts of advice and words of wisdom that will be very helpful to anyone looking for employment, be they experienced or not. Don’t forget to get your resume critiqued. Ask a family member or someone you know who holds a managerial position to review your resume. You can also ask a teacher or counselor. If you’re in a post-secondary institution that offers co-op, ask a few friends you know that are in a co-op program to take a look at your resume. Every post-secondary institution has some sort of student career centre, where the staff specializes in helping students build job-hunting skills. Look up your school’s career centre and sign up for a workshop on how to build resumes. A good resume will bring you that much closer to getting a job.

2. Cover Letter (optional, depending on circumstance). A cover letter is a summary you give employers of why you of all people should get the job. Cover letters are where you will stand out, and are often the first thing an employer at when they’re sifting through piles of resumes. How to write a cover letter depends on your job. All in all, a cover letter should give reasons why you feel you’re best suited for the job, with some reasons/examples to back you up. Don’t go repeating your resume. Depending on the nature of your application, say if you’re applying for a job your aunt is hooking up with, or if you apply to a job at a career fair, you may not have the opportunity or need to write a cover letter. The key is to say what your resume cannot.

While your resume is a summary of your credentials, your cover letter can be an effective marketing tool. Your aim is to demonstrate why your education, work experience, skills, and background uniquely qualify you for the position
you’re applying for.

A cover letter should contain three main sections:

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