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How to get ready for your first job?

Written by: Charlotte Reed
Published on: 25 Jan 2023

Ready or not? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

How to get your first job?

Taking the first step in your career will always be the most challenging one. But the more experience you get, the more confident you will feel throughout your career. However, the best way to ease this anxiety is through preparation.

Whether you are ready to take the next step or not, it is important to prepare for what you will inevitably need when searching for roles in any industry. Our speciality is business and finance, but these top tips will support you through any first interview, application, or early career questions.


Creating a network

Yes, I know what you are thinking; Networking is out of my comfort zone! I can assure you; we have all been there, and we all start at the beginning.

Why don’t you ease yourself in gently with a careers fair? Speak to the employers and experts on the stands and soak in their knowledge. They are there to give you the advice you are looking for.

Creating a network of people is the best way to learn about different industries and seek new opportunities. As you build up relationships with like-minded individuals, it will build up your interpersonal skill set and confidence in communication.

It’s time to give it a go.


Developing soft skills and confidence

What are soft skills? They are your non-technical skills; they support you in interacting with others effectively and managing your tasks efficiently. Some examples of soft skills are:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem-solving

Figuring out your soft skills is a great place to start your preparation, and you will find that some of these come more naturally to you than others. If you highlight where your strengths and weaknesses are, it will give you the opportunity to develop them!


Researching what you want to do

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? You might not know it yet, and that’s ok! But think about what sort of jobs you can envision yourself in. We know that there are plenty of quizzes that tell you what roles you should be considering. But where does your passion lie?

Your focus should be learning about the variety of job roles available. The opportunities are endless.

Above all, take opportunities as a form of research. You never know until you try; we are always learning. If you don’t like something, you can always change it. There is no such thing as a bad experience; we only can learn more from them. Say yes to that work experience, and do that training course, attend that event!


The all-important CV and cover letter

Keep your CV up to date with relevant experience, and make sure you add those newly discovered soft skills. It’s hard to grab the employer’s attention when it’s your first job, and you haven’t got the experience yet. However, employers are looking for hard-working and passionate individuals to fill their trainee roles. It is time to shout about your skills.

Submitting a good quality CV and cover letter demonstrates someone who is organised and thinks ahead. Research the company before writing the cover letter and understand its values and goals and how they align with your own. It demonstrates your proactive nature, which will most definitely impress. The same applies to your CV. Make sure it aligns with the job description and that you use your attention to detail to proofread for spelling errors.


Preparing yourself for the first steps into your career will pay off. ICAEW, are here to help with resources that will provide you with knowledge and understanding about the business and finance industry. Head to our website to see our brochures, events, and real-experience case studies.