Yesterday we talked about finding your career path, and the simple question that you should be asking yourself when choosing a career. But how do you land a job in the career you want?
The simple answer is this: It takes a plan, and if you’re focused on it after graduation, chances are you’re too late. But don’t fear, read are our favorite job-hunting tips to land your dream job when you graduate college.
Steps to Take Before Graduation
Before you even graduate, you should be taking steps to land your dream job or start a path towards your dream career.
First, you need to identify what you want to do. The best way to do this is to work or take on internships during school.
According to a recent survey, the best way for college students to use their summers is to work — because working will give them real-world job experiences that will help them get ahead after graduation.
Second, you need to network and build connections. Depending on what career you want to get into, this could involve joining clubs, being a part of meet-and-greets at career services on your campus, or just making friends and staying connected with them when they get jobs after graduation.
It is surprising how many jobs and careers are launched from “knowing someone.” So make sure you know people.
Tactics to Take When Job Hunting
When you’re in the job hunt, or gearing up for it, it’s important to remember these key tactics.
First, always prepare a custom resume and cover letter for every company you’re applying to. Make sure that you tailor each resume and letter to the position you’re applying for — look for key words in the job description and line it up with your resume.
Also, make sure you’re doing your research of who you’re applying with, the manager for the position you want, and any other information on the company that you can find. This will help you craft a great cover letter and allow you to build more rapport if you do get an interview.
Don’t forget to leverage social media. First, you need to clean up your profile of any unscrupulous pics from your college days.
Then, you need to turn your profiles into industry information centers. You want to highlight articles and have conversations with people in the industry you want to work in.
For example, if the CEO of a company that you want to work at is on Twitter, retweet his posts and add some useful comments. The same applies to Facebook. That way, if a recruiter was to look at your social media profiles (which most do these days), they will see that you are active in the industry.
Don’t Make These Silly Job-Hunting Mistakes
Finally, it’s important that you don’t make these silly mistakes when job hunting. Too many graduates drop the ball on these things, and it can cost them their potential jobs. If you don’t want to end up flipping burgers after graduation, make sure you avoid these:
- Having typos on your resume or cover letter
- Using a generic resume or cover letter for all jobs you’re applying to
- Not being on professional social media sites like LinkedIn
- Focusing 100% online and not building real-world connections
- Failing to follow up after interviews or sending thank you notes to interviewers
- Not wearing your best suit to interviews
- Not asking questions and creating a dialogue with potential employers
If you avoid these mistakes, and focus on the tactics we mentioned above, you’ll have a good shot at getting into the career you want.
What job-hunting tips do you have for college graduates? Any other mistakes to avoid?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.