From College to Career: How to Land Your Dream Job

Published August 10, 2015

By Dennis Mulato

Once you earn a college degree, getting a job will be easier. But landing your dream job? That takes a little something extra. A resume with impressive calligraphy is great, but what will set you apart from those other higher ed grads?

When transitioning from college to career, consider these tactics to land your dream job:

Re-evaluate your dreams.

If your dream job is "intergalactic detective" or "Iron Man's sidekick," you probably haven't re-evaluated your goals since childhood. You're due for some reflection!

Be honest with yourself about factors like workplace culture, pay range and work-life balance. Some people grow wary of changing their dream after investing time and money into their education. Luckily, most degrees can be applied a number of ways in the real world—many of which you've probably never considered.

It's better to be honest about your dream now than to get stuck in a profession you hate later.

Use social media, but don't abuse it.

Get used to the fact that your tweets, updates, selfies and memes can and will be held against you in a court of hiring committee members—even several years after you post them.

Before posting to social media, think about the type of companies you'd like to join and the positions to which you aspire. Are a few chuckles from friends worth alienating your dream employer?

Be different in all the right ways.

Strive to stand out with excellence and ingenuity. As you continue to discover your most impressive skills, think about the first sentence of your future cover letter. Use creative wording to highlight what makes you special.

Develop ideas for applying the latest technologies to traditionally effective job search practices. For instance, think about how to personalize and spruce up the thank-you notes you'll send after being interviewed. Make them "pop."

Anything that intelligently differentiates you from other job candidates is a good thing.

Begin networking sooner, not later.

Whether informally off campus or via on-campus events, start meeting and befriending both current students and alumni. Focus on the quality of those relationships rather than simply building a gigantic email contact list.

A small, well-cultivated group of professional friends who genuinely respect and like you will prove more fruitful than 500 people who kinda-sorta met you one time.

Don't rely on job search websites.

You might be surprised to learn that about half of available jobs are never advertised. Yeah, we know—it's frustrating; all the more reason to keep networking and building relationships.

Keep learning.

Tips for the job hunt are valuable, but if what you're selling isn't valuable, who cares? Connections in high places might get you an initial phone interview, but it takes substance to land your dream job.

Keep learning. Remember that your studies will prove useful. Use education technology like SmartBook® to your advantage. Continually expand your skills and draw out untapped talents.

Above all, keep your eyes forward. If you truly yearn to be an intergalactic detective, you'll get there. You just have to put in the work. And, get a pair of space cowboy boots.