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How to land your first job

A step-by-step guide to help you get your first gig and start earning money for the things you want.

What you will learn from this article:

  1. Start your search.
  2. Prepare to apply.
  3. Nail your interview.
  4. Get set to get paid.

1. Start your search

There are many great things that come with your first job – independence, new friends, and having money to spend doing the things you love – but it can be hard to know where to begin.
 

A simple way to start is by telling your friends and family that you’re on the hunt – a lot of first jobs happen via word of mouth.
 

Then, get busy online:
 

Remember, your first job may not be your dream job, but that’s OK – everyone starts somewhere.
 


2. Prepare to apply

A resumé, ‘CV’ or Curriculum Vitae (all the same thing), summarises your achievements on a page. You won’t always need one, and some jobs have their own online forms, but it’s handy to have one ready for when you do.
 

Here’s a few resumé tips from top employers:
 

  • Keep it brief and simple
  • Include your email, mobile, achievements, awards, extra-curricular interests (e.g. sports team captain), and any other work you’ve done (e.g. volunteering)
  • Describe your goals and approach to work
  • If you include social media links, check to make sure there’s nothing you wouldn’t want your future boss to see
  • Spell check, spell check, spell check
  • Include a cover letter personalised to each employer
     

Read more tips to help you write that killer resume.


Here’s an example to help get you started:

Resume template (DOC 21KB)


3. Nail your interview

Feeling a mixture of excitement and fear? Don’t stress, it’s normal.
 

Here’s how you can calm those nerves and crush your first interview:
 

  • Research the company, think about the role you are applying for, and prepare a few relevant questions
  • Dress in a way that’s appropriate for the job you’re going for
  • Be 10 minutes early by double-checking traffic and how you’ll get there
  • Be aware of your body language, employers are looking for engaged and confident employees
  • Listen attentively and ask your prepared questions at the right moment
  • Follow up with a ‘thank you’ email the next day and mention something specific you discussed in your interview

4. Get set to get paid

You don’t have to wait for your first job before you get your money stuff sorted, but you’ll definitely want your own account once you do. It’s so easy, you can set up an account to get paid into in minutes.
 

Once you’ve got that, you’ll need to learn a little about tax and super, which we cover here.
 

Finally, consider a savings account that will allow you to set, manage and track your personal savings goals using a phone app.
 


Hi, looking for your first job?

Let me help you out. I'm Wendy, Westpac's digital job coach.
 

Let's get started

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