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How many interviews do you need to get a job? ANY paid job?


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How many interviews do you need or should expect to get a job? ANY paid job?


I have some undergrad research experience and a B.S. in Arts and Sciences, so I try to apply to research assistant jobs in anything related to biology (microbiology, pathology, general biology, neurology, etc.). I also try to apply to blue-collar jobs in the food service industry, and it's harder than I thought, as most completely ignore my application, and one said that they hired another worker when I called them as a follow-up on the interview. I try to apply to library jobs, but they are all rejected, probably because I have little experience in libraries. So, I try to apply to library volunteer jobs, but they are all full at my local library, and I'm not sure if it's worth it to drive additional miles to a different library on a regular basis for no compensation. It may provide good experience, though. Thus far, I have made significant administrative contributions to the local food pantry by doing data entry work on Excel; it's completely volunteer work, and the executive director is very pleased with my performance that I have gained a new reference. 


It seems to me that volunteer work is easier to get, because there are no recommendation letters or applications. Paid jobs seem to be harder to get, because they all require experience. In the interview for a paid position at a fast food restaurant, all the questions that the interviewer asked me implied that I already had work. Being naive, I answered truthfully that I was unemployed and never really had a paid job. So, she tailored her questions to what I did at school in extracurricular activites, which was laboratory work. 


What was your first PAID job? How did you get it? How did your paycheck arrive? 

Edited by TheUnGraduate
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My first paid job was working at a car parts warehouse during the summer. It involved unpacking boxes of car parts that came from manufacturers, shelving them away in the warehouse, getting orders from car parts dealers, picking out the parts, packing them in boxes and sending them off to the people that ordered them. It was like a giant library but instead of books, you have spark plugs, screws, oil filters, tires, brake pads, etc.


I got it from a special program that the company has over the summer. Since many of their regular employees take summer vacation during these months and since many students don't have classes over the summer, the company hire students as extra help. I did this work for the first two summers in college, before I was able to get research positions. The interview consisted of questions about my previous volunteer experiences and a short math test (e.g. if 12 spark plugs fit in a box, and 6 boxes fit in a crate, how many spark plugs are in a crate?). 


Not sure what you mean by "how did the paycheck arrive?". Like most companies, this one paid me via direct deposit?

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Depends how much your resume/qualifications match the job you're applying for!


For lab assistant type jobs, you should be targetting your resume and cover letters to the specific job.  If you have lab experience relevant to what you're applying in, you should be able to get something.


I'm not familiar with library or food service jobs.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My first paid job was in undergrad. Worked with autistic children. I went to an internship fair, talked up the company, and made the email/set info immediately. I then checked up two weeks later, and once a week consecutively after...

My first full-time paid job, I searched online, foun a direct care facility near by as walked in to ask about jobs. They had no openings, but had a book of all locale providers. I contacted every provider in that book (in travel distance). Kept notes on when/what type/dated to follow up.

I had an I interview at one of these locations a month later (group interview), followed up a week later, and got the job.

In short, assertiveness & persistence with a few lucky breaks in between.

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One of my general guidelines is start actively sending out applications and conduction interviews 3-4 months before I'll need a job, and that's if you are a textbook 'ideal' candidate with good interview skills.  

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