The Post-Graduation To-Do List That Will Land You In Your Dream Job

Summer means rest and relaxation. Well, for most people. Recent grads cannot afford to fully unwind. There’s little time to stop for long vacations as you update your resume and ramp-up for interviews.

The good news is, your job search prospects are looking great. In fact, a 2019 survey from NACE found more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job received at least one job offer.

If you’re among those who have not yet landed in your post-graduation dream job and are stressing about your future, hold that thought. By following a few simple to-dos, you could still get there by summer’s end.

Here are a few items you can check off your post-grad to-do list to help reach your career goals:

Focus your efforts on companies with career growth opportunities

As a recent graduate, you’re ready to live out your career dreams when it comes to putting your hard-earned degree to good use. However, you’ll likely need to start out in an entry-level position. For this reason, it’s important to seek out and invest your time in companies with clear career growth opportunities.

Look closely at employee reviews and LinkedIn profiles to see how long employees tend to stay in their jobs at their companies. Have they been at one company for a number of years and moved up the ranks? Great! However, if they’ve been at the same level for longer than you can see yourself in that position — and it’s a pattern at that company — you may want to look elsewhere.

Aside from internal mobility, there are a number of factors you can look for that indicate growth and development opportunities:

  • Does the company pay for continued education or additional training for employees?
  • Are there official mentoring programs?
  • Can employees participate in rotation programs or stretch assignments?

All of these offerings are signs the employer prioritizes employee growth.

Use your network to get the most out of informational interviews

This is when relationships you formed during college start to show their professional value. It’s important to identify people in your network who are appropriate for helping make the right connections. Don’t just throw a line out to everyone. Be deliberate about who you can gain the best insight from and benefit in return.

Research your network and identify people who have likely taken the same logical steps you’ll need to take on your dream career path. Then, either request time for an informational interview or ask them to connect you with the right people in companies you wish to work.

An informational interview is not about landing a job. It’s a way of understanding how that person has gotten to where they are. Informational interviews are more likely to lead to a job referral if you maintain contact.

Always nurture the relationships you’ve formed to keep them mutually beneficial. Offer something in return like a LinkedIn recommendation or connecting them with someone in your network.

Identify new skills to learn and close gaps on your resume

A great way to set yourself up for success is to pay careful attention to the different job descriptions at the various companies you research. Once you’ve identified the specific role you want, read through the requirements of numerous openings for that title and highlight all of the skills and experiences you don’t yet have.

Now, don’t panic. You’re as likely to get a job interview meeting 50 percent of job requirements as meeting 90 percent of them, according to a 2018 report from TalentWorks.

Rather than trying to acquire all of the required skills, compare where skills overlap from job description to job description and focus your efforts there. Whether it’s through volunteer work, completing an online certification, or job shadowing for a few weeks, you can show recruiters and hiring pros that you mean business by demonstrating your willingness to continue learning and acquiring the right skills to succeed.

What’s the best tip you were given to land your dream job this summer? Share it with us on LinkedIn!

Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers.
You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.
This article was originally posted on the CareerShift Blog.
By Troy Hopkins
Troy Hopkins Director, Undergraduate Career Counseling Troy Hopkins