How to Get Your Dream Job Right After College? Is There Even Such a Thing?

If you’re a recent graduate, you’re probably feeling the pressure from the urgency to get a job after college.

Whether you took some time off to celebrate finishing school or dove into trying to get a job after graduation, we can relate to the existential crisis of wondering how to get a job after college with no experience. These feelings make you question if you didn’t make the cut and you’ll have to settle for a job you won’t like out of desperation.

1. Get hands-on experience with real-life projects

There are a lot of ways to find side projects that you can use to hone your skills and have something to talk about during interviews. You can do freelance work, reach out to a local store owner who could use your help, complete online design challenges, or look for apprenticeship opportunities.

2. Find a mentor who will guide you to get a job

Another benefit of taking on side projects is that you will connect with people who could potentially become your mentors. Having someone there to give you direction as you navigate the first steps in your early career can help you overcome the confusion and stress of finding that first job.

A mentor will also give you valuable feedback on your work. This feedback is gold because it elevates your learning. Getting the guidance of someone who’s in the trenches can’t be matched by classroom learning. Some things can be learned only through experience, and mentors allow you to learn from them.

3. Learn how others like you got a job after college

It helps to learn from those who have been in similar positions to where you are now. Learning about the process that others followed, the projects they worked on, and the critical connections they made can be instructive for you as well as inspirational. You’re not alone in how you feel and it’s important to remind yourself that.

4. Tell your story — show your drive through your experiences

Chances are, if you’ve already done all the things outlined, you have a pretty interesting story to tell, as well. These things take work and effort. Showing recruiters that you had the enthusiasm and drive to work on yourself and your network while looking for that job will always be more interesting than a list of skills on a resume. People will have questions to find out if you’re the right person and these experiences will give you a wealth of examples to draw from.

5. Expand your network

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters,” the saying goes. Sad but true. Put yourself out there and meet people in different positions and levels in the industry you’re interested in. This is important because some open positions aren’t publicized at all.