Estimated reading time: 8 mins
Graduation can be one of the most terrifying things in the world. Not only are you now free from the restraints of college, but you don’t really like it. Remember the days when everything was easy, and the world wasn’t as scary as it is now that you’re young and… well, unemployed? And how are you meant to get a job, when everybody is looking for ‘experienced’ people, and you’re only experienced at sitting tests?
However, there is no need to fear. In fact, you can secure your dream job after graduating, even if it seems like it’s never going to happen. Here’s how to do it.
Create a great resume
OK, so the first thing that your potential employer will see is your resume. Whilst most people have one of these already knocked up, it’s important that you pay attention to the details here, and that you’ve made every effort to perfect it. Using the same resume for every single job that you’re applying for simply won’t make your chances of securing that great role very high, so don’t do this.
Tailor your resume to the company that you’re applying to, and the ad for the job that you’ve used. Sure, it can seem like a long and tiring process, but it’s certainly worth it if you’re applying for a competitive role, and you want to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Put the most important details at the top, and go down from there. Catching an employer’s mind is the most vital thing.
Clean up your online image
In the modern day, you can pretty much guarantee that your boss is going to do a Google search of you before they even consider hiring you. Whilst this isn’t an issue for most, it certainly is to some, and you really don’t want your boss to be able to see how drunk you were last Saturday night. One image may seem harmless, but in the long run, it will definitely come back around to bite you.
Keep your social media profiles on private, and work on making your online image as squeaky clean as possible. Use good, professional photographs for your accounts, and make sure that you promote yourself as somebody with a real interest in the field that you’re in. Whilst it can seem like over-hyping yourself and it’s not the easiest thing in the world, it really will pay off to maintain your online image.
Think about who you know
College is great for many reasons, and one of them is that you’ll make up a whole wealth of contacts. You’ll meet people who become your friends, and their parents will own huge businesses. You’ll meet those at events, who are always on the lookout for fresh talent. Think about who you know, and do your best to make the most out of the links that you have if you can do so.
Send out a text or an email, explaining your situation. You have to be pretty careful here; you don’t want people to think that you’re just using them to get yourself a role, so be sure to remember that networking is as much about lasting friendships and (professional) relationships as it is about having those links in business. However, if you get this right, then you’ll be well on your way to your dream job.
Send out cold emails
OK, so it seems pretty eager. However, sending out cold emails to companies that you really want to work for, instead of just applying for jobs, could be a better idea. Attach your resume, and tell them why you’re interested in the company, and what roles you’d be interested in interviewing for. If you do this, you’ll soon see that you’re actually skipping the queue, and getting in before regular applicants.
In fact, there are many companies who will give the job to somebody who is already working for them (but holds a different position), and they are also likely to see whether any of their contacts are interested before they broadcast the fact that they have an opening. Getting your foot in the door could be what helps you to secure your dream job, so don’t be afraid to cold email a company.
Show your character
When you head out for those job interviews, you think about the way that the interviewer is going to want you to act. They’re going to want you to talk in a professional manner, to be confident about your skill set, and they’re going to want to hear first hand about all of your experience in the field that the job is in. As we all know, this is an important part of any interview process.
However, they’re also going to want to know whether you’re going to fit in with their team. They’re going to want to know that you can deal with a crisis with good humour and strength. And they’re also going to want to know that you have something about you that sets you apart from everybody else. It’s OK to show your character; in fact, it’s a good idea, so don’t hold back who you are.
Open up your options
OK, so we all have ideas about our dream jobs. We imagine that we’re going to step straight out of college, and straight into the perfect role for us. Whilst this does happen, it is an extremely rare occurrence. The chances are that you will have to start out a lot lower than you’d like, and also that you’ll have to dabble in things that you may not be interested in for a while. It’s annoying, but it’s life.
Opening up your options is good for many reasons, but it also allows you to be sure that you’ve actually made the right decision. If you studied languages at college, for example, you can do anything from going into digital marketing, to translating documents for the medical industry. Until you’ve actually taken on these roles, you can never tell whether you’re actually happy with the direction that you’re taking.
Take on an internship
Getting an internship, or some kind of work experience, is easier said than done in most cases. Most people can’t afford to work for free – especially if you’re living in the city – and many of the application processes for internships are extremely competitive. However, if you put yourself out there and get one of these, you can walk into your new role with some experience that other people may not have.
If you really don’t think that you can afford this, then look into being an intern for one day a week or so, perhaps on the weekends. Some companies can offer higher levels of flexibility, and in some (rare) cases, there are even those who put their interns onto a basic wage. Look into the options in your field, and see whether you can secure yourself some experience before you apply for jobs.
Think about how you’d add to a company
When interviewers ask us questions, we invariably answer with vague notions about how we can fit in well with a team, and how this role would benefit our understanding of the career field that we’re heading into. Sure, this may all be true, but employers have heard it all before. They don’t want to know that you’re going to bring your skills to the company; they want to know how you’ll use them.
Before you head to interview, look at the company in great depth. See where their potential issues could lie, and what you could do to fix them. And then, tell them in the interview. If you’re applying for a job in IT for example, tell them that you’ve looked at their website, and that they could improve it in X, Y and Z ways. This really helps to show that you’re eager to contribute to the business in question.
Take a risk
When you first head out into the world of employment, it can seem like a pretty scary place. In fact, you’re not quite sure where you stand, and whether you’re ever going to get yourself that dream job that you just know is right for you. However, instead of trying to think about why you might not get it, ensure that you open yourself up to a little bit of risk taking, and work on putting yourself out there.
If you’re not qualified for a job, apply anyway. If you don’t think that they’re hiring people, then enquire anyway. If you haven’t heard back from a company, chase it up. If you’re not feeling as experienced as you could for your dream job, then be honest about it in the interview, but show them why they should hire you. Showing the initiative – and the strength – to take a risk will be what sets you apart from others.
Good luck getting that dream job when you graduate, and don’t stress it. You’ll soon be on your way to securing the role that you’ve always wanted!