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Career Counselor
Landing Your First Job

April/May 2008 Looking for and landing your first professional position is an exciting but sometimes unnerving experience. There are so many directions to consider, it can be difficult knowing how to take the right first steps.

Here are some tips that can help:

No such thing as perfect. Everyone wants to find the ideal position right off the bat – one with a good salary, generous time off and benefits. While you can significantly increase your chances of getting what you want by preparing adequately and creating an effective search strategy, recognize that there is no such thing as the perfect job. When evaluating employment offers, don't overlook those that fall a little outside your idea of perfection. Placing too much focus on a single component of an offer could make you fail to grasp the big picture, and a promising opportunity might just pass you by.

Go back to school. Recently graduated? Tap your alma mater for valuable resources. Visit your school's career center, which may offer resume-writing tips, interview preparation and other services. Additionally, alumni associations often host career fairs and networking nights that involve past graduates, giving you an inside edge with potential employers.

Stay connected. One of the best ways to find a job is to talk to everyone in your network about where they work and potential employment opportunities. Also consider arranging an internship or joining a professional association to gain insight and experience and further build your network base. By participating in industry events you will get to know other important people in your trade who can help you get your foot in the door at their company.

Take into consideration that your job search might require some time and flexibility. During the process, try to gain as much feedback as possible so you'll be better able to evaluate your progress. Your diligent engagement in all aspects of the search will also help you when it comes to deciding on an offer.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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