4 Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job

The following is a guest post written by Caitlin Grove, an Associate Content Coordinator for Varsity Tutors.

When you start to see the light at the end of the college tunnel, one particular question may cross your mind: “How do I land my dream job?”

The idea of exiting the college journey and moving directly to your dream career is enticing. The harsh reality is that it isn’t a simple process. Before I landed my current position as Associate Content Coordinator with Varsity Tutors, I had to be honest with myself about what the term “dream job” meant for me and how I would ultimately get there.

In some ways, securing your dream job is like apartment hunting. You’ve likely lived in several places by now, and you know what your must-haves are. You also know your criteria for your dream job. If you’re confident in your vision for a fulfilling career, don’t settle—instead, take these four steps to land your dream job.

1. Attend recruitment events at your dream companies

Chances are you’ve wondered what it would be like to work at your dream company or companies, but short of securing an employment offer, how can you find out? In two words: recruitment events.

Companies often host recruitment events like open houses for potential employees, sometimes in their headquarters or in a local office. These events give you the opportunity to decide if a company’s mission, vision, and culture are right for you. The organization's culture, or the values and behaviors of the workplace environment, will be a significant factor in whether or not a particular job is right for you. Personally, I was looking to work for a company with a collaborative and supportive culture after I graduated college, which is exactly what I found in my current role. Realize that you might love a company based on its social presence or products, but the culture might be a negative environment to work in. Be honest with yourself about this aspect when attending recruitment events.

It’s important to consider these events mini-interviews. Dress professionally, research the company in advance, and prepare a short list of key qualities you possess that will make you a great fit for the organization. In short, come equipped with your elevator speech. Use this time to showcase why you mesh with the company's culture and brand.

2. Use social media as a networking tool

The same social media accounts that you use daily can play a part in landing your dream job. As you likely know, social media is a great platform for connecting with others, including those individuals who work for your dream company or companies. Maintain a professional, active presence on your social channels to illustrate what you bring to the table—aim to post relevant and engaging content several times per week. On LinkedIn, join groups in an effort to connect with like-minded individuals in your field. Start a conversation on Twitter by commenting on or retweeting posts that are relevant to your desired profession. You can also join arranged Twitter conversations (or Twitter chats).

When it comes to networking on social media, you can establish a rapport with individuals in your field with just a bit of effort. So long as you are contributing value to the conversations you enter or begin, networking through social media can help you land your dream job. Keep in mind, however, that while social media can be a great way to network, it can have a negative impact on your job search if used incorrectly.

[RELATED: What College Students Should Know About Social Media]

3. Review your current skill set

What skills and knowledge are central to your dream job? Do you confidently possess these attributes? Now is the time to ask yourself these questions, and, if necessary, find ways to improve your “dream job toolkit.” My current position, for example, requires copy editing skills and familiarity with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. While in college, I chose classes (like Writing for the Corporate and Institutional Market) and on-campus jobs that would help me build these skills before graduation.

I also surrounded myself with professors and classmates who could provide support. For instance, if you have a friend who’s a computer science major and you want to strengthen your coding skills, see what they can teach you. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be outstanding in every single skill required by your dream job. The important thing is to showcase that you have a base level of knowledge and the drive to continue learning new skills once you begin employment.

[RELATED: 4 Career Skills for Students to Develop]

4. Gain experience in your desired field prior to graduation

You’re probably attending college with the end goal of pursuing a specific career, so why not show your future employer just how serious you are about the field? You can gain experience in your desired field via internships, on-campus jobs, research opportunities, and volunteer positions.

[RELATED: How to Get Real-World Experience in Your College Major]

These types of experiences can help you immensely when attempting to secure your dream job. They can put you in contact with industry connections, help you develop new skills, and demonstrate that you have real-world experience in your dream job. If you are still committed to your dream companies after attending recruitment events and networking with individuals within the organizations, pursue internships at those businesses. This can be a great way to get your foot in the door and to further discover if this is the right position and company for you. Use this experience, along with the other efforts described above, to illustrate to potential employers why you deserve your dream career.

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.