15 Essential Tips for Finding (and Landing!) Your Dream Job

Get a head start on your job search with these helpful tips!

1. Make Yourself an Obvious Fit

Study the job description and any available info you might have on the position. Mirror the words and phrases you find and showcase your strengths that seem to be of paramount importance to the position.

2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Applications

By lining up with people on the inside of the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. Decision-makers interview people who come recommended or by the way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the blobs of résumés.

3. Remember, Your Résumé is Not a Tattoo

Don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your résumé is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).

4. Stand Out

Give yourself permission to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.

Joining clubs like Stiller Women in Business can be a great way to network and make connections! Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin, ’19 // Hall-Potvin Photography

5. If You’re Not On LinkedIn, You Basically Don’t Exist

More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool. This is not an understatement. If you’re a professional you need to not only be on LinkedIn, you need to use it to your full advantage.

6. Identify Your Strengths, Not Just Your Interests

You need a clear definition of yourself as a worker. Your interests are simply what you like to do, whereas your strength are what you can offer to an employer. A company only cares about your interests if it improves what you can offer them.

7. Keep a Positive Mindset. You Can Do It!

Your first job doesn’t make or break the path you want to take; it takes time, and with a positive mindset you can get there. There is no time for negative thoughts during the job hunt.

8. Keep Your Résumé Prioritized & Concise

Lead with the most important information and only make your résumé as long as it needs to be. A lot of employers skim-read, and chances are, if they’re hiring, they’re probably busier than usual. Don’t bury your experience and strengths because they’ll likely get overlooked.

Include big projects and presentations as part of your professional portfolio. Photo by Ryan Bent, ’08 // Ryan Bent Photography

9. Network, Network, Network

It’s true that the most talented person does not always get the job—the person with the right friends does. You can choose to write yourself off as an unlucky introvert and curse the unfairness of life, or you can decidedly get your name out.

10. Make a List & Apply to Places You Like

Making a list will always help: crawl before you walk. Also, don’t overlook a company just because they’re not hiring. If it’s a company you like and you’re able to track down a valuable contact there, see if they’ll set up an informational interview to talk about their company and the kind of employee they’re looking for.

Staying organized and timely is essential to the job search: make a list to keep track of your applications and deadlines. Photo by Ryan Bent, ’08 // Ryan Bent Photography

11. Never Overlook Any Chance at Experience

The more experience you have, the easier you make the job hunt. The best way to show you know how to do something is to do it. If you’re looking to break into a field, consider an internship. Or start freelancing for some of your friends’ small ventures or needs.

12. Take Any Opportunity to Show You Care

Every piece of extra effort is noticed and appreciated. If you’re applying, definitely write a custom email/cover letter for each company. Do your homework. Learn about their values, culture, news, or just anything you can find online about them. Make it really clear you want the job.

Attending events like the Career Fair and Conference can be a great way to make connections and make a memorable impression. Photo by Ryan Bent, ’08 // Ryan Bent Photography

13. Think of an Interview as a Conversation

If they like you as a person, that immediately pushes you to the top of the list. Ask a lot of questions about the job. As far as you’re concerned, they’re experts about the company. Make them feel like that, and be sure to show your interest in what they’re saying. If they enjoy the conversation, they’ll remember you.

14. Follow Up & Be Patient

You’re dealing with busy people. It’s very possible they didn’t get your email. Or if you’ve already interviewed, and it’s been a couple weeks, check in and see where they are in the decision-making process.

15. Thank You Matters

Consider crafting original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to the computer, following the interview. The speed which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.

Sending a personalized thank you note can make you stand out from the crowd! Photo by Jason Jones.

Need help polishing your résumé or practicing your interview skills? Stop by the Career Collaborative and meet with a Peer Coach today!

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