5 ways to find your dream job after college

Transitioning directly from school to your dream job may seem like an impossible task, but with the right knowledge and support, you can reach your goals.

Transitioning directly from school to your dream job may seem like an impossible task, but with the right knowledge and support, you can reach your goals. Academic life has quite different expectations than professional life, so you'll need to understand which strategies are likely to yield the best results. With that in mind, here are five ways to find a job you'll love:

1. Evaluate your strengths

Finding a job is all about selling your skills and experiences, so you'll need to be able to articulate exactly what you bring to the table. An employer can read your resume and see what degree you've obtained, but that doesn't give him or her much information about what you can actually do.

Sit down and write out a list of your professional strengths. Consider technical and soft skills together to create a complete picture of your skill set. Critical thinking, communication and empathy are in high demand. However, also remember that soft skills are difficult to articulate on a resume – as such, writing down anecdotes and conducting mock interviews in order to demonstrate those traits will help you. Once you have a list, you can use it to develop actionable cover letters and interview responses.

2. Use your alumni network

One of the biggest advantages college graduates have is access to an extensive network of alumni. In fact, many colleges keep a centralized database of alumni just for this purpose. Often, alumni will submit their contact information so graduates can reach out to them with career questions. Even if your college doesn't offer this service, you can easily find alumni on LinkedIn.

When you find alumni who can give you advice or help you make an introduction at a company you want to work with, reach out to them via email. Let them know how you found their information and ask to chat over the phone for 15 minutes or so. Then you can pick their brains for advice on how to get hired.

"Even beyond your alumni network, make sure you talk with as many people as you can," says Ashley Schamburg, Corporate Recruiter for Beacon Hill's Corporate Recruiting Division. "They can be friends, family, teachers – any trusted source who can give you more information about your desired profession. Ask them about their day-to-day, what their company culture is like, what factors motivate them (money, community, supporting their family), etc. Use this information to set up shadowing interviews with different positions you are interested in. I found out about the staffing industry at the beginning of my senior year through speaking with a friend's older sister who had graduated three years before we did. She told me that she got to talk with clients in-person daily, worked in a fast-paced environment, and that she was already making six figures. These were all things that appealed to me, so I did some research and interviewed with a few staffing agencies before graduating."

Growing your professional network will help you find new job opportunities.

3. Consider an internship

Sometimes, your dream job will require more skills and experience than you can accumulate in an academic setting. An internship can get your foot in the door at a potential employer and provide you with several benefits, including opportunities to expand your professional network.

An internship can give you the time to develop your skills and gain valuable insights through hands-on work. If you decide to take this route, treat the internship as if it were already your full time job. Solicit feedback from managers and learn everything you can to improve your chances of qualifying for your dream job.

4. Read job descriptions thoroughly

Job descriptions are an invaluable tool in your job search kit. If you want to know what companies are looking for, it's all in the description. Consider keeping a document where you compile descriptions so you can identify common skills and requirements. By reading descriptions from multiple companies, you'll get a better understanding of what the market values.

"When reading descriptions, also be cognizant of the experience the position will offer you, not necessarily the pay rate," says Kellie Baker, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Associates Division in Cleveland. "Think about the doors that will be opened and the knowledge you will gain from taking the role."

Also take note of the vocabulary used. This is the language potential hiring managers understand. You can leverage this knowledge as you write cover letters, resumes and emails to signal that you understand the job and the industry.

5. Speak with a recruiter

Finding a job that not only satisfies your needs but also provides a great work-life balance is a challenging process. In addition to your network, consider seeking the aid of a professional recruiter. Many amazing job opportunities are never posted online, and hiring managers often work with staffing agencies to discover skilled professionals. A recruiter can help you identify exciting companies, prepare for interviews and provide support throughout your job search.

"Utilizing a recruiter can help close some gaps between you and the market," says Ms. Baker. "They are interested in what drives you and what your strengths are. They aren't trying to tailor your background to a certain jobs, so they can help place you in a position that will be mutually beneficial for both you and the client."

If you're ready to begin the journey toward the job of your dreams, reach out to an expert recruiter from Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

Related Resources