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How to Land Your First Full-Time Job: Part 2

Last week, I talked about some tips I’ve found useful in my job hunting process. This week, I’m continuing that theme with part two of How to Land Your First Full-Time Job.

Without further ado, here are the rest of my tips for landing that dream job!

Learn How to Craft a Good Cover Letter

You may have heard that cover letters are never read, so you shouldn’t bother even writing one. That’s not true. According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, 10 Myths About Job Searching, cover letters are alive and well, and a well-written one can make you stand out from a crowd of applicants. Just the act of writing a cover letter shows employers you’ve put thought and effort into your job application, and aren’t just applying randomly to a bunch of jobs.

But how do you write one well? The main thing I do is find a formula and stick to it. I usually begin by stating the title of the job I’m applying for and where I found the job listing. Then I move to a new paragraph where I talk about one or two things I admire about the company. In the next paragraph, I talk about my relevant skills or experience that would make me a good candidate for this job. You don’t have to follow this format, of course. Just find what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment a little with different formats.


Use a Mix of Application Methods

There are a lot of different ways to apply for a job; sometimes there are multiple ways to apply for the same job. It can be confusing. How do you know which application method to use? There’s really no way to tell for sure.

I would say the best way to go about it is to use a mix of the different available methods. What I mean by that is apply for one job through the company website, another one through a third party site such as Indeed or LinkedIn, yet another by email. Pay close attention to the job posting instructions. If they tell you to email a particular person, don’t apply through Indeed, even if they have that option available. Companies will be looking for you to follow basic instructions first. Sort of like a preliminary screening.


Keep a Spreadsheet of Job Applications

This is a critical move because without a method of organization, you’ll lose track of which jobs and companies you’ve applied to. You won’t have any idea of when you applied, so you won’t know when it’s time to touch base and check the status of your application. You might even embarrass yourself by applying for two jobs at the same company, or submitting an application for the exact same position you applied to last month.

Just start a simple Excel spreadsheet and write down the basic information of each position you apply to: the company, job title, date you applied, and the response you received. You can even include information beyond that. I always note the location of the company, as well as the method of application I used (company website, email, third party site, etc.).


Consider Creating an Online Portfolio

Have you ever heard about a new business and Googled it only to find that it doesn’t have a website? Or Facebook. Or anything. Frustrating, right?

These days, if you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist. Employers want to be able to look you up on Google, or better yet, click a link on your resume to view your online portfolio.

With website design services like WordPress and Weebly that are easy-to-use and free, literally anyone can set up a website. You can even do it in day! Upload a JPEG if you have a graphic design project to display. Start a blog to showcase your writing. Get online and show employers you’re tech-savvy. As more of the world moves online, employers will expect you to know how to utilize technology. Show them you have those skills.


Hopefully these tips help you wherever you are in the job or internship search process. Even if this is just your first year in college, it’s never too early to start building up your resume with relevant skills. And if all of this information is overwhelming you, you can always just head over to Career Services and let them guide you through the job search process. That’s what they’re here for!


Corinne McCarthy

Elizabethtown '18

I'm a professional writing major and communications minor at Elizabethtown College.
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