Finding That Perfect First Gig May Be Easier Than You Think

Sep 4, 2014 9:25 AM ET
Positivity aids in finding the first gig in a career

Last week, Huffington Post blogger Suzanne McFarlin shared some tips for recent college graduates to find that first opportunity. As the mother of three twenty-somethings, two gainfully employed (one still in school), I see some great ideas that would have helped them keep things in perspective during those tense months following graduation.

Here are McFarlin’s tips to help your children get started down the right path to that first gig.

1. Make a list of the skills you have acquired and traits you have demonstrated through school, volunteering, work, sororities/fraternities, clubs and school projects. What did you enjoy most? What were the things that really energized you? Employers are looking for people who have a personality to complement their teams. If you’re able to demonstrate how you’ve used your skills successfully in team environments, that could go a long way in showing how you would work in their culture.

2. Share examples of when you used your skills. McFarlin suggests using the Star Method to tell the story of your achievements. In essence, tell a personal story to give them a glimpse of who you really are. Usually the people who tell the most compelling stories win the day.

3. Don’t get hung up on finding a job that fulfills your passion, but do find something that interests you in some way. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a paying first gig that fulfills your soul, but it’s likely you may need to compromise. There may be aspects of the job that will excite you enough to learn more.

That doesn’t mean you should take a job you hate. That’s not good for you, or the employers. I used to work with a company that hired many new graduates every year. One of the recent hires stopped me one day after he’d been there for six months and asked me if I was passionate about my job. For me, the answer was simple. I wasn’t necessarily passionate about the job, but it gave me great pleasure to do the work and help others. He didn’t find any part of the job that fulfilled him in any way, so I recommended he find something that made him happy. Today, he’s serving as a missionary in South America.

4. Visit the blog post for steps 4 through 6....

Written by Barb Hernandez. Barb is a Public Relations Guru (APR), with more than three decades of living and working in southern Wisconsin, working with clients around the globe. Her specialties include writing, crisis management and strategic communications for hundreds of diverse industries from agriculture, healthcare and the environment to science, veteran support and community giving.