10 Steps to Land a Dream Job Right Out of College

From the time you say your first words, take your first wobbly steps, and every day after that, the people around you are wondering what you’ll do with your life. They begin to observe what natural talents and inherent skills you possess, and eventually it becomes a hot question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do you want to be a doctor or a lawyer? How about an actor or graphic designer? No matter what your dreams and aspirations are, you can achieve them. The work begins before you walk across the stage for graduation. Start preparing now with these ten steps to land your dream job after college

1.Start Getting Experience Now 

Don’t wait until you’re “qualified” to start doing the work associated or even within your dream career field. Yes, you’re taking classes and going to college to get you closer to your goal, but there’s always more that you can do. You don’t have to wait until you have a degree in your hand to gain experience in your desired field.

2. Land an Interview Relevant to Your Field

Not quite sure how to get experience in your field? Internships are an amazing place to start. They’re great resume builders, but also an environment designed for you to learn. Devote a summer to a full-time internship or do one during the semester in addition to your classes. There are so many opportunities out there, whether it’s in person, online, and even remote.

3. Get a Side Project

Another way to gain experience and stand out from the crowd is to start your own side project. Teaching yourself skills and managing your own projects and time shows employers that you’re a self-starter, ambitious, responsible, and able to manage your own time, as well as stick to and meet deadlines. It’ll also help you build an impressive portfolio of skills other job-seeking college grads are unlikely to have, making you more memorable.

4. Visit the Career Center

Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done before you graduate, but the thing is, you’re not alone. When you’re in college there are a plethora of free resources available to you. One of those is your campus’s career center.

Did you know that many students never set foot in the career center over their four years in college? It’s such a shame because it’s a resource that can provide help to you no matter what year you are in university. 

Still trying to decide on your major? Check. Re-thinking your future career path? Got it covered. Not sure how to write a resume? No problem. Terrible at interviews? Again, they can help you. Make sure you’re taking advantage of this resource. 

6. Don’t Settle

Ever heard the phrase, keep your eye on the prize? The same applies to job-searching. Although it can be a stressful, slow, and even degrading process at times, only apply for the jobs you actually want. Don’t take the first job offer you get or start applying to anything. 

While it may boost your confidence to get a job offer, it could be a waste of time and energy that could’ve been used to improve your skills, polish your resume, or write an even better cover letter for your dream job. 

7. Informational Interviews

If you’re stuck in your job search, or even preparing for your job search, then informational interviews are a fantastic way to get the latest industry insight and learn more about your dream job. They’re also a great way to learn more about your field. And if you can land an informational interview with someone from one of the companies you want to work for that’s even better. 

Just remember that when you’re conducting an informational interview, you shouldn’t expect to get a job, nor is it appropriate to ask for a job or for any help getting a job. 

So then what actually happens during an informational interview? Treat it like a conversation and prepare for it like it’s an interview. Come having researched the person you’ll be interviewing and have questions ready for them. Try to be personable and not just fire off questions so you get the information you need. At the end of the day, it’s a networking opportunity. 

8. Be Proactive 

It’s become common knowledge in the job-seeking world that a majority of jobs aren’t listed online. That means you can scroll online job boards for hours at a time and not find the jobs you want. You’ll also be missing out on a lot of opportunities. 

That’s why, if you have a list of companies you’ve dreamed of working for and don’t see anything open on their job listings, don’t let that stop you from getting your dream job. If you can find information to do so, apply for the job anyway. 

Be proactive and put yourself out there. They may put you in their system for future openings that they think you’d be a great match for. Or they may have job openings ready to fill that weren’t publicly listed. As long as you’re being professional and respectful, you have nothing to fear about putting yourself out there. 

9. Clean Up Your Resume

When it’s finally time to start applying for jobs, that means it’s time to clean up your resume. Ideally, your resume should only be one page long. That means you need to go through and highlight the most important, relevant, and recent experiences on your resume. That being said, each and every resume should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. 

10. Follow Up After the Interview

Always, always, always follow up after an interview. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re a shoo-in and already have the job, or if you feel like it wasn’t your best interview, send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time. A majority of people don’t take the time to do this and it’s a simple step that puts you above the rest.  

Your Dream Job Is Within Your Grasp 

Landing your dream job will be more effort than just showing up to your classes and completing assignments during your four years in university or college. It’ll take a lot of work and effort. Getting your dream job will also require a lot of planning, but in the end, it will be worth it to go to a job you love and have been dreaming about for years. 

But if you’re here reading this article, you’re already off to a great start. Following these ten steps, you can land your dream job right out of college. All you have to do is follow through. Your future is in your hands. 

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of AnnikaBansal.com. Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.