Times have changed quite a bit in the years since your parents attended college. Back then, if you worked hard for four years, your dream job courted you after graduation. Take a minute to imagine what that would be like. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Unfortunately, in today’s world, most students are lucky to get any job out of college. But just because students today have more difficulty landing a position post-graduation doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stop striving to obtain your dream job.
In fact, with every resume eagerly sent or new connection made on LinkedIn, you get one step closer.
Here are some quick tips that can help you get there faster:
Practice Makes Perfect
I hate to break it to you, but simply working super hard for four years is not going to help you land your dream job right out of the graduation gate. You need to find internships that not only grant you experience, but allow you to determine if that field is the best fit for you and your long-term career goals.
Sometimes your dream and reality don’t match up, and it’s best to find that out sooner rather than later. Internships can often be as hard to get as the job themselves, but don’t take no for an answer. Be scrappy, and be willing to work longer hours to prove you’re dedicated.
Evaluate Your Social Skills
This may seem like common sense, but it needs to be said: Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your mother (or, in this case, future employer) to see.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 59 percent of hiring managers use social media to research candidates. And of those managers, 48 percent said they have found information on those profiles that have stopped them from hiring someone.
Social media really can cost you a job. So, keep that in mind and keep a few things to yourself. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all on public forums such as Twitter or Facebook (if your page is viewable to the public and not just your friends’ list). Be sure any information that is visible to the public on your profiles is something that you won’t regret.
That goes for profile pictures, too! To a future employer, a picture of you on spring break doing something that may seem hilarious at the time or an underage you with a red Solo cup might mean the difference between you and the other candidate.
It’s Who You Know
The importance of networking is something that hasn’t changed in the years since your parents were in college. However, the way the current generation of students-turned-job-seekers approach and engage in networking has changed dramatically.
LinkedIn is our generation’s way of tackling networking in the 21st century. That being said, do not underestimate the power of shaking hands, collecting business cards, and sending handwritten thank-you notes after interviews. These personal touches that show a real human being behind that LinkedIn profile can often set you apart from other applicants. You never know what opportunities someone can offer you, or what opportunities someone they know can offer you.
When applying for a job, it can never hurt to have an “in.” The job always goes to the most qualified candidate—who also happened to know someone.
Patience is a Virtue
Either right before or directly after graduation, when all your friends are posting or tweeting about landing their “dream jobs,” keep in mind that their bragging about their new title or job description might be somewhat inflated. Just because you aren’t offered an ideal position within a week of being handed your diploma does not mean that you should turn down other opportunities.
Be open to many different possibilities, and think about each job as a stepping stone. That job, no matter how removed it may be from your hopes and dreams, is what you have to talk about with your next employer when you are interviewing. Don’t be “that person” who didn’t get what they wanted right out of the gate, and then went home to play video games.
When you are pulling those all-nighters, long shifts at work, and trying to make it through the next few semesters until graduation, just remember: Your dream job is out there waiting for you. You just have to be willing to work for it!