5 Tips to Land Your Dream Job After College
Go to class, do your homework and have fun… but not too much fun. This is what my parents told me when I went off to college. I’m now finishing my last year of school and realize that those three things are not enough. Here are five vital tips you need to know that will help you land a great job after graduation.
1. You Will Change Majors or At Least Half of You Will
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do after college. 80 percent of students entering college don’t either and 50 percent will change majors at least once. Use your favorite classes to help guide you into a major that is right for you.
2. You Really Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
No, I’m not talking about alcohol, but if you do choose to drink, be safe. What I’m talking about is the countless opportunities that exist on campus. When I was a freshman, I wanted to stand out, so I joined 11 student organizations and soon was an officer in five of them.
This was great for my resume, but killed my GPA, landing me on academic probation and causing me to almost lose my scholarships. My advice is to join two or three student organizations that relate to your field and devote your time there.
3. Would You Like Fries with That? No! No! No!
There are so many part-time jobs available to college students, but don’t take just any job. College is all about building a set of skills that you can take with you into the workforce.
How do you benefit in the long-term from working a job not related to your field? There are on-campus jobs that relate to your major that will act as a stepping-stone for you to get an internship with a good company. I worked as the Student Outreach Coordinator for the Dole Institute of Politics, which is a congressional library on my campus.
Through a strong referral from the director of the institute, I was accepted as 1 of 12 interns for a top 10 nationally ranked summer internship program. After that, I never had trouble finding an internship.
4. You Need Experience to Get Experience
This makes complete sense, right? Most positions require you to have experience, but as a student, you have little to no real-world experience. The beginning of my senior year, I discovered one of the best ways to gain experience as a student; work for a startup.
The startup world is fast and constantly changing. Every startup is looking for skilled student interns and usually will treat those interns like full employees. My first internship with a startup was working as a digital strategist for a company called 1CapApp. I walked in the first day and was told, “Ok, you’re in charge of the entire marketing department.”
The company had only five employees, so I was able to make an immediate impact and gain experience far beyond any normal internship would offer.
5. The Job Search Sucks, But Jobs Are Out There
I went through my senior capstone class last semester. Before our final presentations, the dean of my school gave a speech. At the end, she asked, “How many of you are graduating at the end of the semester?” Nearly everyone except me raised their hand. I’m taking a victory lap.She then asked, “Here’s a better question. How many of you have jobs after you graduate?” My class had around 100 students.
I was the only one with my hand raised. Ironically, I’m working for a startup called Briefcase that is building a job search platform to solve just that problem. There are jobs out there; millions actually. They’re just hard to find, but there are solutions on campus that make the job search easier.
I’ve found that most career centers at universities have a bad reputation with students, even though they provide many valuable services. Most universities provide a job search platform for their students that you pay for each semester in student fees. Take advantage of these job boards.
Go schedule a mock interview with career services. Attend every career fair you can, even as a freshman. Do something different than your peers. I picked up video production, which landed me my job. Think about what you have a passion for and start learning about it on the side.
Follow these tips and come senior year, you will be that one student with your hand raised.