Raise the bar in your job search - Tips for Entry Level and Trades Job Seekers


  • Research using word of mouth, company websites, your school career center, volunteer activities, sports teams, and other interest groups.
  • Know your skill set.


  • Submit an application taking care to be complete and accurate. Follow directions and instructions carefully. Describe your education, experience, volunteer work, etc. 
  • Dress appropriately for the interview.
  • Honor your commitments. Arrive 15 minutes early for appointments.
  • Be prepared to provide references. Make a reference list on a Word document, include contact information, print it, and take it to the interview. Store your list electronically where you can access it on your mobile device.
  • Be truthful and be positive.
  • Never badmouth a previous boss, co-worker, or company.
  • Turn off your phone during appointments.
  • Show interest in the company and the job.
  • Express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview.
  • Follow-up!


  • Ensure your social media profiles are professional.
  • Be careful with jobs found on large job boards and social media. Also, exercise caution with multi-level marketing companies and remote/work from home jobs. Investigate!
  • Don’t provide personal information, e.g., SSN, bank information, etc.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it may well be.
  • Don’t pursue jobs that don’t interest you - target your efforts for a better result.
  • Research companies with the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, Glassdoor, your own contacts, etc.
  • Always meet in a public space and practice personal safety. Be careful attending job fairs at hotels or interviewing in hotel rooms. Never enter a vehicle with a stranger.
  • Maintain a good driving record. Be able to pass a background check and drug test. Marijuana use may be legal, but employers can exclude you from career opportunities for using it.
  • Be easy to reach and accurate with contact information. Now is not the time to move or switch phone/internet plans. Return calls within 24 hours.

Raise the Bar

  • Copy and organize your application materials in a folder, planner, or app.
  • Send a thank you note within 48 hours of your interview.   
  • Prepare a simple one-page resume highlighting your skills and achievements. It may not always be required but it helps organize your thoughts and makes an impression on prospective employers. It also keeps track of employment details and is good practice for when you apply to future opportunities as you build your career.
  • Follow and interact with employers on social media.
  • Notify your references that you are looking for new opportunities. They may want an update in order to provide a solid recommendation.
  • Accept new challenges; pursue licenses/certifications, etc.
  • Join trade associations and/or labor unions to build your network and learn of opportunities.
  • Meet with recruiters, coaches, and employers; follow target employers and connect on social media. Attend job network meetings to build your network and learn what is working for other job seekers.