“What’s your advice for someone who has never worked before? How do I get job training?” – Marco from Claremont, CA
First, know that even if you haven’t “officially” worked, you still have valuable skills and experience! Think about:
- School and internships
- Household responsibilities
- Volunteering and community involvement
- Informal self-employment (yard work, child care, etc.)
- Work done while incarcerated
The process for getting a job isn’t that different, whether your skills and experience are from paid work or not, though it can be a little harder to get that first job.
- First, figure out what kind of career you want. Assess your skills and interests online or with help from your local Goodwill or OneStop center to find careers that might be a good fit for you.
- Next, figure out if you have the qualifications for entry-level jobs in the field you are interested in. Compare the skills and experience you have with what is required for entry-level jobs in the career area you are interested in using a tool like MyNextMove or by looking at job ads. Also check out this list of common entry-level jobs that require little or no prior training or work experience.
- Get training if you need it. If you need more training to get the kind of job you want, check with your local Goodwill, OneStop, or community college – and see this post for more info on getting into job training programs at community colleges. Remember –almost everyone needs to start in an entry-level job, but you don’t have to stay there; look at jobs along the career path (PDF) you’re interested in and make plans to get there in the future.
- If you’re ready for an entry level job – or you need a “survival” job while you train for the career you really want – get your job search materials together and start applying for jobs. You should have a résumé with your skills and experience, a list of references and a cover letter. You should also be sure you have an email address and a phone number with voicemail or an answering machine where employers can contact you. You should also know how to:
5. And get “plugged in” while you search.
- It’s easier to get a job if you already have a job – whether it’s a paid one or not. Find volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch – you’ll get experience, references and maybe even a job offer.
- Sign up with a staffing company – temporary work is experience you can put on your resume, it can turn into a permanent job, and it brings in income.
Treat searching for a job like a job – put in time every day. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. And then get prepared to succeed in your first job!