Five reasons you may fail to secure your first job

Future of Work



Five reasons you may fail to secure your first job

March 21, 2023


September 18, 2023

For many of us, landing our first job is a rite of passage. It's a significant milestone that comes with a lot of responsibility, not to mention a steady paycheck. But for some, securing that first job can be much more complicated than it seems. 

Many job seekers don’t know where to start, what pitfalls to avoid and how to make the best impression on the interviewer. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the most common reasons you may fail to secure your first job and provide tips on how you can prevent them.

You Do Not Have The Necessary Skills To Qualify

Securing your first job can seem like an uphill battle, especially regarding ensuring you have the right skills and experience for the role. 

If you do not have the right technical and soft skills to qualify for an interview, you won’t secure a job, its that simple. First thing to do as a fresh graduate will be to hone your skills. It is much better if you start this journey before you enter the job market. Search for advertised jobs in your field of interest and compare your skills with the skills listed as required and preferred skills on the job description. Start honing those skills either via joining an internship program, gain experience by volunteering your skill for a local organization, learn a course or even make a mock portfolio showcasing your abilities.

Don't be afraid to reach out to a mentor or professional in your field or industry who can guide and advise you in polishing off your job applications, it could be just what you need to ensure success at last.

Furthermore, being prepared with thoughtful answers will show hiring managers that you have put effort into preparing for this interview and potentially increase your chances of securing a job offer after the completion of said interview. 

Lack of Preparation 

If you fail to plan, it means you are planning to fail. A lot of job seekers make the mistake of thinking they can go to an interview  without preparing for it, that’s you setting yourself up for failure to secure the job. 

It is crucial to prepare for an interview by researching the company and role for which you’re applying. You demonstrate your interest in joining their team by learning key information about the company and position. Any hiring manager or interviewer can easily spot a lack of preparation, so showing that you have done your homework will give them a good impression of you. 

Learning about the company’s mission statement, history, culture, and current projects or initiatives can help you better understand what is expected of you as an employee. It will also help you effectively communicate why you are ideal for the role during the interview. Moreover, research can help you get acquainted with any questions that might come up from your interviewer so that you are not caught off guard during the meeting. 

You need to understand your responsibilities if hired for a particular job position. With a clear understanding of what is expected of you regarding duties and tasks related to the position you are applying for, you can more effectively demonstrate why you have the skills necessary for success in such a role. Also, fully understanding all aspects of a potential role before applying or interviewing ensures there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to offer or accept an employment opportunity. 

Unclear Communication Skills 

Hiring managers want potential employees who can communicate their ideas, opinions, and goals verbally and in writing. If they get the impression during an interview that communication isn’t one of your strong suits, they may not feel confident hiring you because no hiring manager wants to hire someone who won’t effectively express themselves at work or represent their interests during meetings with clients or other stakeholders. 

Therefore, it is important to practice communicating concisely, and confidently beforehand so this doesn’t become an issue during an interview.  

Failure To Follow Up After the Interview 

Do not make the mistake of not following up after an interview, a lot of job seekers fall short of this category, hence the reason why most fail to secure their first jobs. 

It is always a good idea to follow up after an interview, either via email or telephone call – whichever method was used initially when arranging the meeting – simply thanking them again for giving up their time and expressing interest in hearing more about any progress made regarding filling out the position soon (if applicable). 

This shows that not only did you take their time seriously enough, but you are also giving employers another chance to reconsider you in case they are on the verge of choosing someone else for the position or if they are weighing in their options between you and a few other candidates. 

Negativity Toward Previous Employers/Workplaces 

No matter how bad previous experiences were at jobs or internships before, remember not to badmouth them when talking about those experiences during an interview, especially if they weren’t completely negative.

Interviewers will see this as unprofessional or even immature - traits no employer wants in their staff. 

Even though it might seem tempting at times, try instead to focus on positive experiences from those roles, demonstrating how well-equipped you would be for this new opportunity instead.


Securing your first job may seem daunting at first, but remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Above are the five reasons you may fail to secure your first job. However, if you turn them around and do researching thoroughly about both the company and role you’re applying for and  understand what’s expected from you, then getting a job will be a walk in the park. Doing these things will set your foot in the door of your career and help you land your dream job.

In our future of work program, you will be taught how to avoid the pitfalls that will make you not secure your first job and instead, and how you can prepare for interviews too.

We have free training available to unemployed and underemployed youths below 35 from families in the B40 income tier. With our program, you'll gain the skills you need to secure your first or even sixth job, and kickstart your full-time career and succeed—all online.

Apply for free training today and get started on your exciting new career!

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