How to Land Your First Job

Looking for a job can be a long slog to say the least and it can be hard to know where to start, how to persevere and what to do when you receive a job rejection. Here is some career advice for students or people wanting to start over in their career. I would love to know if you have any tips for finding jobs or what to do during an interview.

The Before

Make use of your summers

A big regret of mine is not making the most of my summers while at university. University is a unique opportunity to have large periods off at a time. Use them wisely to gain some experience and to give you something to talk about to employers once you leave university. I finally got my ass in gear in my final year and gained an internship in Australia through the Saltire Foundation. I know people have done other amazing things with their summers - cycled across Africa, inter-railed across Europe, volunteered at camps in Canada – there’s so much to choose from, utilising your summers will give you the experiences that employers will be looking for. My adventurous boyfriend spent his summers cycling across continents....

Meanwhile on the road

Skyscanner internships

Psst - by the way, Skyscanner are usually looking for interns, give me a shout if you are interested and I can refer you (these get fast tracked!)

Find a mentor

Finding a mentor can really help you on your job search, you can learn from their mistakes and tap into their previous experiences of looking for jobs and preparing for interviews. You can find out more on finding the right mentor in this great blog post by Evodie Fleury.

People hire people

If you are looking for a job, tell people. There is no shame in making this known. People hire people, Jim’s neighbour’s cousin knows someone who has a job opening. It’s a surprisingly small world out there where you can find the right paths and connections – don’t just rely on Google!


If you havn’t already created a LinkedIn account, go make one right now. (Go on, I’ll wait here). LinkedIn is a god send for recent graduates and you will be missing on a lot of opportunities if you are not a part of this community. There are so many features you can utilise from following LinkedIn Influencers for valuable tips and knowledge to receiving references, job openings, Linked pulse – it is so much more than a digital CV. Upload examples of projects you have been working on, the more visual the better. (And of course, avoid selfies in you profile picture!)

The Interview

Check the dress code

Dressing in a 3 piece suit isn’t always the best strategy to get brownie points at a job interview. For example many small agencies have a casual dress code. If you turn up (smart) casual, you will be demonstrating you know the organisation’s culture, you’ve done your research and shows you will be able to fit in with your potential new colleagues.

“Tell me about yourself”

That seems like a simple question right? When I was first asked that, I replied with a mixed up ramble of buzzwords, trying to be funny, showing my leadership skills, my hobbies, my passions, my dog’s name, my hometown all in one jumbled up mess. Really think about this question because you are more than likely to be asked it and be judged on the first impression you make. Keep it simple, nothing too in depth – where and what you studied, where you are from and some hobbies. Simple.

Sophie Harpur Skyscanner office

The After

Perseverance and accepting rejection

On my laptop I have a folder with 33 cover letters, 33. All personalised and sent and in return rejected before I landed my job at Skyscanner. Sending all these emails can be demoralising to say the least. But with such a competitive graduate landscape, numbers is a major part of the game. Being able to accept rejection is something you are going to have to get used to. But use it to your advantage, ask for feedback, ask if they would be willing to provide you with any improvements you could make as well as thanking them for their time and asking if you can be kept on file. I had gone through lots of interviews for Skyscanner and I was gutted when I got rejected first time around. But I did the above and was offered a job when a space was made available. On that point, there is no harm in re-applying for the same company more than once.

For more tips on how to start a career check out one of my favourite blogs Lost Gen Y Girl by Kayla Buell, a career blogger from Miami. She has some amazing tips and tricks as well as an awesome Facebook community you can join for like minded people starting their career.

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Advice for graduates

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Hi, I'm Sophie! I hope you enjoy my blog where I share my tips on traveling, starting a career, eating healthy, dating and all those other tricky things of being in your 20s.


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