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How to Get a First Job at 20

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No matter how old you are, getting your first job can be a challenging experience. While some get their first jobs in their teens, many others wait until they have graduated from high school or even until they've obtained a two- or four-year degree. You may find yourself entering your 20s with no job experience. Worry not: You should still be able to easily obtain employment at age 20, even if you don't have a resume.

Prepare a resume. While this may seem difficult since you don't have job experience, it is still important to have a resume detailing what you have done, especially what you have accomplished since leaving school. You should begin by listing any educational experience you have had, either at the high school level and at the college level. If you haven't graduated from college but have taken some classes, include those too if they are relevant. Include anything else that may demonstrate your skills and abilities, from internships you may have had to volunteer work you may have done.

Decide where to apply. You can find job listings online or in local classified sections that give you opportunities. Since you are young and have no job experience, be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. The appropriate places to apply can vary widely depending on your skills and educational background. If you have obtained only a high school diploma, you may want to consider applying for positions that don't require a great deal of education: retail establishments, restaurant establishments, customer service jobs or jobs as support staff. If you have some college or a college diploma, apply in fields pertaining to your discipline.

Send your resumes and cover letters to the companies in which you have an interest. With the advent of Internet job postings, it is easy to send your resume and cover letter to hundreds of companies via email. Make sure you tailor your cover letter to each specific job, however, and follow the specific application requirements of the job. Nothing will get your application rejected faster than not providing the information the employer is looking for or not following the directions for how to apply.

Interview for the job. Dress professionally and make a good impression. Since you are relatively young at 20, you want to ensure that the employer knows you are serious, dedicated and hard-working. Since you don't have work experience, you also will need to demonstrate your ability to succeed at the job through your performance at the interview. Answer questions thoroughly and provide examples when asked of past achievements--academic or otherwise--that translate into the skills being sought by the employer.

Send a thank-you note after the interview. This is a good way to make yourself stand out from other applicants and to look professional and responsible. You can also follow up a week or so after your interview to see if they have made a decision yet or if there is anything else you can do to aid in your application.


Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.

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